The first round of the Joker Region Denver Stiffs #NuggetsGreats bracket finished up earlier this week, with the top four seeds advancing to the second round. The top seeded Nikola Jokic is the namesake for this group, and joining him are Nuggets legends David Thompson, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, and LaPhonso Ellis. Jokic and Thompson bookend the Nuggets franchise as the two most talented players at the beginning of franchise history and in present day. Abdul-Rauf and Ellis played together on the early to mid 1990’s squad, known for several iconic victories alongside Dikembe Mutumbo.

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Let’s take a closer look at the matchups:

Nikola Jokic (1) vs LaPhonso Ellis (4)

Jokic’s standing in franchise history needs little explanation, but his individual dominance combined with an ability to elevate the team around him made him the top seed in the entire bracket. He is one of just six players to average 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists per game, doing so during 2018-19 and 2019-20. His 40 triple-doubles rank second in franchise history behind Fat Lever.

LaPhonso Ellis spent six seasons in a Nuggets uniform, contributing to Denver’s signature upset victory over the 1st seed Seattle Supersonics in the 1993-94 season. He was a dominant scorer, rebounder, and athlete before injuries derailed his career, and he would without a doubt be one of the most renowned Nuggets in franchise history had those injuries not occurred. Still, he was absolutely dominant in his time with the team and instilled fear into opposing players and coaches.

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David Thompson (2) vs Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (3)

The Skywalker, David Thompson, was one of the most athletic guards in NBA history and an inspiration for Michael Jordan. Thompson spent seven seasons with the Nuggets, one during their time in the ABA, and dominated as a scorer and slasher to the basket. He once scored 73 points in one game and was possibly the best player in the NBA during the 1977-78 season. Thompson averaged 24.1 points per game during his Nuggets career and set a new standard for guard scoring in the 1970’s.

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was the Stephen Curry of the 1990’s. His shooting ability and jittery style was extremely unique for his era, and when he was open, he made teams pay. He led the NBA in free throw percentage on two separate occasions, and his six seasons with the Nuggets were excellent. 16.0 points and 4.0 assists per game in his Nuggets tenure while shooting 35.4% from three-point range and 91.6% from the free throw line. Very solid numbers that included several stretches with him coming off the bench.

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You have until 9pm tonight to vote!