Round 2 of the Melo Region of the Denver Stiffs #NuggetsGreats bracket takes place today. This region is named for Carmelo Anthony, one of the best 1-on-1 scorers in NBA history and the biggest reason the Nuggets made the playoffs in every season of his Nuggets tenure.

Now, onto today’s bracket:

Melo Region Round 1

Carmelo Anthony (1) vs Kenyon Martin (5)

The player that brought the Nuggets back to the playoffs following a 17 win season, Carmelo Anthony was an elite 1-on-1 scorer from the moment he joined the team. In nearly eight seasons with the team, Anthony and the Nuggets never missed the playoffs, and Melo had many signature moments along the way. His battles with LeBron James and Kobe Bryant were mostly incredible, and he nearly willed the Nuggets to their first NBA Finals appearance in 2008-09. His 24.8 points per game during his Nuggets tenure is second in franchise history (minimum of 10,000 minutes played) to only Alex English, and it helps encapsulate just how impressive his scoring was. He made difficult shots and may have been the best 1-on-1 player in the NBA for a time.

More than anything, Melo put the Nuggets back on the map as a franchise. They were searching for someone to take the reins, and Melo pointed them back in the right direction.

While Melo was the scorer and offensive playmaker, Kenyon Martin was the enforcer and defensive anchor. Even though he had injury issues in Denver, Martin was still a great athlete, accumulating 661 regular season dunks in his seven seasons with the Nuggets. Martin spent the same amount of time in Denver as Melo and helped deliver the swagger and attitude every team needed to advance in the playoffs. Without Martin, those 2000’s Nuggets squads are likely much different.

This content is no longer available.

Jamal Murray (2) vs Dan Issel (3)

So far in Jamal Murray’s four years as a Nugget, he has slowly but surely established himself as the second best player on the team behind Nikola Jokic. Murray shows occasional flashes of top level scoring and playmaking but mostly remains very consistent as a significant threat to the opposing team. His two-man game with Jokic as become the staple of Denver’s offense today, and it was Murray’s shot against the San Antonio Spurs that helped the Nuggets advance to the second round for the first time singe the 2008-09 season.

Murray clearly has more development still to come and more great years to give to the Nuggets. He begins his five-year max contract next season and will be looking to take another leap as a star in today’s NBA.

Dan Issel, nicknamed The Horse, spent 10 of his 15 seasons with the Nuggets, including one year when the Nuggets were an ABA franchise. He averaged over 20 points and 8 rebounds per game in a Nuggets uniform, serving as the second option offensively behind two Nuggets greats in separate eras: David Thompson and Alex English. The Nuggets made the playoffs in all but two of Issel’s 10 seasons with the team, and his production was some of the most important in Nuggets franchise history. He was never truly “the guy” but was always a key cog in whatever the Nuggets did. For being such a big guy on the court, Issel always moved pretty well, and he played with an edge as a scorer the Nuggets always needed.

This content is no longer available.