|Founded||1967 (Joined NBA in 1976)|
|History|| Denver Rockets |
|Team Colors||Powder Blue, Blue, and Yellow|
|Head Coach||George Karl|
|Owner||E. Stanley Kroenke|
|Conference Titles|| ABA: 1 (1976) |
|Division Titles|| ABA: 3 (1970, 1975, 1976) |
NBA: 5 (1977, 1978, 1985, 1988, 2006)
Franchise history 編輯
A charter franchise in the American Basketball Association, the team was originally slated to play in Kansas City, Missouri before moving to Denver. They were named the Denver Larks before they changed their name and became known as the Rockets for their first seven years of existence, winning division titles in 1970 and 1975.
However, they tended to struggle in the postseason and failed to make a championship game during this span. They had a solid lineup led by Byron Beck and Larry Jones, then later by Beck and Ralph Simpson. During the 1969-1970 season, the team also had a controversial rookie named Spencer Haywood. Haywood was one of the first players to turn pro before graduating from college, and the NBA initially refused to let him play in the league. Haywood averaged 30 points in his only ABA season, then was allowed to sign with the Seattle SuperSonics to start a productive NBA career.
In 1974, a contest was held to find a new nickname for the Rockets. There was already a Rockets team in the NBA (Houston). The name Nuggets won, having been the nickname first used by the Denver 1949-50 NBA franchise. Their new logo was a miner apparently discovering an ABA ball.
With Larry Brown coaching, they had their best seasons in team history in their first two seasons as the Nuggets, with the team making the ABA finals in 1975-76. They would get no second chance to win a league championship, as the ABA folded after the 1975-76 season. The Nuggets were one of four ABA teams taken into the NBA, along with the New York Nets, San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers. The Nuggets and Nets had actually applied to join the NBA in 1975, but were forced to stay in the ABA by court order.
Led by Dan Issel, Bobby Jones, and David Thompson, Denver (and their memorable rainbow-striped jerseys) were quite strong early on in the NBA, as they won division titles in their first two seasons in the league, and missed a third by a single game. However, neither of these teams were ultimately successful in the postseason.
Brown left the team in 1979, helping usher in a brief decline in their team's performance. It ended in 1981, when they hired Doug Moe as a head coach. Moe brought with him a "run and gun" philosophy, a style of play focusing on attempting to score rapidly with little interest in defense, and it helped the team become highly competitive. During the 1980s, the Nuggets would often score in excess of 115 points a game, and during the 1981-82 season, they scored at least 100 points in every game. It was a novel strategy, but it rarely led to playoff success. (On December 13 1983, the Nuggets and the visiting Detroit Pistons combined for an NBA record 370 points, with Detroit winning in triple overtime, 186-184.) Only once, in 1984-85, did they even make it to the Western Conference finals, and that year they lost in five games to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Moe left the team in 1990, and his departure ended their run as a competitive franchise. The team had a brief resurgence in 1993-94 (a year they ditched their rainbow colors for a dark blue and gold scheme) finishing 42-40 and stunning the top-seeded Supersonics in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, falling to the Utah Jazz in game Seven of the second round, but it was a rare highlight following Moe's departure. The Nuggets were swept in the following year by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. Denver was an also-ran for nearly a decade, and flirted with having the worst record NBA history in 1997-98, winning only 11 games in an 82 game season. They tied for the worst record in the NBA in 2002-03 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Ironically, Cleveland (LeBron James) and Denver (Carmelo Anthony) would eventually have a twin pair of rookie dynamos enter their ranks the very next year.
The team has shown signs of another renaissance for the 2003-04, with the drafting of Carmelo Anthony and yet another uniform change (powder blue and yellow). In just two months of the season, they recorded more wins than they had in 5½ months of play in 2002-03. Much of the reason for this incredible turnaround were the front-office moves of General Manager Kiki Vandeweghe a former Nuggets player who assumed General Manager duties August 9, 2001, adding crucial personnel including: point guard Andre Miller, power forward Nenê, point guard Earl Boykins, center Marcus Camby and shooting guard Jon Barry. In April, the turnaround was complete as they became the first franchise in NBA history to qualify for the postseason following a sub-20-win campaign the previous year. They were eliminated in the first round four games to one by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
On December 28, 2004, head coach Jeff Bzdelik was fired from the organization and replaced by interim coach, former Los Angeles Laker player and Los Angeles Sparks head coach Michael Cooper, before finally hiring veteran coach George Karl as a permanent replacement. Karl lived up to his reputation by leading the team to an astounding record of 32-8 in the second half of the regular season which vaulted the team into the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
In the playoffs, however, the Nuggets could not survive the powerhouse defense of Manu Ginobili and the San Antonio Spurs. After winning an incredible game one in San Antonio, the Nuggets proceeded to lose the next four games and lost the series 4-1. The Nuggets picked 20th in the 2005 NBA Draft; it was acquired from Washington via Orlando.
In the 2005-2006 season the club won the Northwest division title and owned the third seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. They would have to play against the Los Angeles Clippers who have had a great season and also have NBA Most Valuable Player Award candidate Elton Brand. Although the Denver Nuggets had a better seat in the playoffs, they didn't had the homecourt advantage. That is based on the regular season record. The Denver Nuggets were 44-38 and the Clippers 47-35. The first game in the best-of-7 series was won by the Clippers in 89-87. The next game was won by the Denver Nuggets in 98-87. But eventually the Clippers would go on to win in 5 games and advance to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. It was the first time for them since the franchise moved to L.A. for the 1975-76 season.
Players of note 編輯
- 2 Alex English, F, 1980-90
- 33 David Thompson, F, 1975-82
- 40 Byron Beck, C, 1967-77
- 44 Dan Issel, C, 1975-85
- 432 Doug Moe, Head Coach, 1981-90 (432 victories coaching the Nuggets)
Beck was the only player to play all nine seasons of the ABA with one team. These men, and team trainer Chopper Travaglini (1975-99), have also been elected to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
Not to be forgotten編輯
- Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (formerly known as Chris Jackson)
- Michael Adams
- Lafayette "Fat" Lever
- Dikembe Mutombo
- Nick Van Exel
- Tim Hardaway
- Avery Johnson
- Official Website
- Denver Nuggets Unofficial Fansite
- Denver Nuggets Blog fan site
- Nuggets detailed history
- Denver Nuggets News
- Denver Nuggets Talk
- Sports E-Cyclopedia