With a history spanning more than 50 years, the Denver Nuggets are among the NBA's most legendary teams. They have seen their fair share of ups and downs, but they have also given birth to some of the league's best players. Based on effect, longevity, and accomplishments with the organization, we will rate the top five Nuggets draft selections of all time in this article.
We only took into account players who were selected by the Nuggets in the draft or who were acquired on draft night when compiling this list. Additionally, players who spent fewer than three seasons with the organization or who were dealt before their debut have been left out. Having stated that, let's begin our countdown.
In the 2003 NBA Draft, which was one of the most competitive selections in history, Carmelo Anthony was selected third overall. He was a sensational rookie when he joined the Nuggets, averaging 21 points and six rebounds each game. In each of his seven seasons with the franchise, he guided them to the playoffs, including a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2009. With the Nuggets, he was a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA selection. He stands second in team history in terms of points and third in terms of games played. He requested a transfer, and the Knicks acquired him in 2011. He is recognized as one of the greatest players to ever don a Nuggets uniform and one of the top scorers of his generation.
The Nuggets, who selected Nikola Jokic with the 41st overall pick in 2014 out of Serbia, got a great deal on him. After guiding the Nuggets to the third seed in the Western Conference in 2021, the adaptable big man established himself as one of the league's greatest players and won the MVP award. Jokic, who can score, rebound, pass, and shoot with ease, is a triple-double machine. With Denver, he has been selected to three All-Star teams, two NBA First Teams, and one NBA Second Team. In 2020, he also guided the Nuggets to their first participation in the Western Conference Finals since 2009. In seven seasons with the Nuggets, Jokic has averaged 18 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 6 assists a game.
When the Nuggets were still a member of the ABA in 1975, David Thompson was selected first. The effervescent guard, known as "Skywalker" for his acrobatic prowess, was one of the most entertaining players of his time. In 1976, he was named the ABA Rookie of the Year and contributed to the Nuggets' trip to the ABA Finals. His career-high point total of 73 points in one game in 1978, which was at the time the second-highest single-game total in NBA history, earned him a spot on four All-Star teams while playing for Denver. In seven seasons with the Nuggets, Thompson averaged 24.1 points, 4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game.
The Nuggets selected Dikembe Mutombo, a dominating defensive force, fourth overall in the 1991 NBA Draft out of Georgetown. The 7-foot-2 center twice led the league in blocks, was selected to four All-Star teams, and helped Denver win two honours for defensive player of the year. When the Denver Nuggets defeated the Seattle SuperSonics in a best-of-seven series in 1994, they became the first eighth seed to overcome a first seed, pulling off one of the greatest upsets in NBA history. In his five seasons with the Nuggets, Mutombo averaged 12.9 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per game.
Even though Jamal Murray has only recently joined the Nuggets, he has already cemented his position as the team's future star. He was selected by the Nuggets in the seventh round of the 2016 NBA Draft out of Kentucky, where he had averaged 20 points per contest as a freshman. Every season, the 6-foot-4 combo guard has progressed in terms of scoring, shooting, and playmaking. He also teamed up with Nikola Jokic to create a potent pair. The first round of the 2020 playoffs was when Murray had his most famous run, scoring 50 points twice against the Utah Jazz in a thrilling seven-game series. In the contest, he scored 31.6 points on average while inspiring the Nuggets to an incredible comeback from a 3-1 hole.
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