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Denver Nuggets

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Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets are a National Basketball Association team based in Denver, Colorado.

Founded: 1967, a member of the American Basketball Association
Formerly known as: Denver Rockets 1967-1974
Home Arena: Pepsi Center
Uniform colors: Columbine Blue and Gold
Logo design: The words "Denver NUGGETS" superimposed over a snowy mountain peak
NBA Championships: None
2004-05 Record: 49-33
Contents

Franchise history

One of 4 ABA teams that joined the NBA through a league merger in 1976, they were known as the Rockets for their first 7 years of existence, and were very strong in their early years. 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 (http://www.nba.com/nuggets/history/byron_beck_retire.html) and Larry Jones, then later by Beck and Ralph Simpson (http://www.basketballreference.com/players/playerpage.htm?ilkid=SAMPSRA01). 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 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, the team was renamed the Nuggets, a nickname first used by a 1949-50 NBA franchise. 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 merger occurred during the off-season.

Led by Dan Issel (http://www.nba.com/history/players/issel_summary.html), Bobby Jones (http://www.remembertheaba.com/TributeMaterial/BobbyJones.html), and David Thompson (http://www.nba.com/history/thompson_bio.html), 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. 1980s Denver Nuggets basketball teams would often score in excess of 115 points a game, and during one full season, 1981-82, they did not fail to score 100 points in any game. It was a novel strategy, but it rarely led to playoff success. Only once, in 1984-85, did they even make it to the conference finals, and that year they lost in 5 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 six of the second round, but it was a rare highlight following Moe's departure. Denver was an also-ran for nearly a decade, and flirted with having the worst record in a season 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 (light blue and yellow). In just two months of the season, they recorded more wins than they had in 5 1/2 months of play in 2002-03. Much of 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 Nènè, point guard Earl Boykins, Center Marcus Camby and shooting gaurd 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 Nuggets coach, former Los Angeles Laker player and Los Angeles Sparks head coach Michael Cooper, before finally hiring veteran coach George Karl. Karl lived up to his reputation by leading the team to an astounding record of 32-8 in the 2nd half of the regular season which vaulted the team into the playoffs for the 2nd consecutive year.

In the playoffs, however, the Nuggets could not survive the powerhouse defense of Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs. After winning an incredible game one at San Antonio, the Nuggets proceeded to lose the next four games and lost the series 4-1. The Nuggets will pick 20th in the 2005 NBA Draft; the pick was acquired from Washington via Orlando.

Players of note

Basketball Hall of Famers

Not to be forgotten

Retired numbers

Current Roster

External links

de:Denver Nuggets fr:Nuggets de Denver he:דנבר נאגטס it:Denver Nuggets ja:デンバー・ナゲッツ pt:Denver Nuggets

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