Denver, CO – It’s been a little over a week since our Denver Nuggets were ousted from the playoffs in the first round yet again. Although it is disappointing that they are no longer playing, I do have some pretty high hopes for this team in the next few years. The teams that remain in the playoffs as of now are primarily big market squads….L.A., Miami, Boston, and Philadelphia to name a few. The smaller markets teams like Oklahoma City, Indiana, and San Antonio are still playing because they have drafted well and will have to do so going forward to have any shot at championship gold. The likelihood of any big name free agents in the future signing to play in a small market is not very good. Here in Denver, we fall into that category of a small to mid market team. The Nuggets have drafted quite well in recent years, landing Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried via the draft. It got me thinking as to who the Nuggets have whiffed on terribly over the years, and who Denver could have drafted instead. So, let us take a look at the “Top 7″ biggest Denver Nuggets draft mistakes in franchise history…..(from oldest to most recent)…..
7 – Blair Rasmussen (1985, #15 overall) - Rasmussen was a 7’0″ Center from Oregon who could shoot from the outside as well. He ended up being unathletic and slow, and very soft on the defensive end of the court. He was in Denver until 1991, then traded to Atlanta. His best year was 1990-1991 when he averaged 12.5 pts/game. 3 picks later in that same draft, Detroit chose Joe Dumars, who won two titles with the Pistons and was voted in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
6 – Maurice Martin (1986, #16 overall) - Martin was a 6’6″ guard from Saint Joseph’s who was a complete bust. He played two years in the NBA, averaging 3.0 pts/game in 69 career games. Later in this draft, Detroit chose Dennis Rodman at pick #27. Rodman went on to win 5 championships with the Pistons and Bulls, and was inducted in the Hall of Fame just last year.
5 – Antonio McDyess (1995, #2 overall) - McDyess had a nice career actually, spanning 16 years where he averaged 12.0 pts/game in Denver, Phoenix, Detroit, New York, and San Antonio. 3 picks later at #5 is where Minnesota selected Kevin Garnett. Garnett has had a Hall of Fame career, and is still playing at a high level. Garnett a Nugget all these years? Would have been interesting.
4 – Raef LaFrentz (1998, #3 overall) - LaFrentz was a F/C from Kansas who had a fantastic college career as a Jayhawk. His game never really translated to the NBA, and didn’t end up doing a whole lot. Two guys were chosen in the draft just a little later….Dirk Nowitzki at #9 and Paul Pierce at #10. Both of these guys have won championships and are heading to the Hall of Fame down the road.
3 – James Posey (1999, #18 overall) - Posey was decent, but had better success after his Denver days when he played for a few other teams. Later in this draft, the Spurs selected Manu Ginobili, who has won a few championships and is still playing quite well.
2 – Nikoloz Tskitishvili (2002, #5 overall) - From Italy, this is an iconic bust in Nuggets franchise history. In his 4 years as a Nugget, he averaged 2.9 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. Later in this draft, at #9 overall, Phoenix took Amare Stoudemire. Stoudemire has career averages of 21.6 points and 8.8 rebounds.
1 – Carmelo Anthony (2003, #3 overall) - Ok, why is Carmelo on this list you ask? Pretty simple, he scored a ton of points here in Denver, but never got the Nuggets close to a championship really ever. He is also on this list because of how he held the team hostage when he forced his way out of town. At pick #5, Miami selected Dwyane Wade. Wade has won a title and been a far superior overall player throughout his career. Think about Wade in Denver, and how things could have been so much different during the past decade.
Would love to hear your comments below, and your memories of the various players I mentioned!
Denver Sports by J Simp