The Denver Nuggets are not considered one of the top franchises in the NBA, as most of the awards and trophies have eluded them. However, things could be looking up for the franchise as they have improved tremendously over the years.
Nikola Jokic's receipt of the 2021 NBA MVP award makes him the first player in Denver Nuggets history to be bestowed with such honor. They have also achieved relative success in the NBA playoffs, losing to the 2021 finalists - the Phoenix Suns - in the second round and the 2020 conference title to the eventual champions, the LA Lakers.
The Denver Nuggets have moved up the ranks in the Western Conference, reaching the playoffs for three consecutive seasons. Although some of the big shots are likely to regain their top positions with the impressive offseason they have had so far, the Nuggets still look formidable enough to finish in the top eight.
While the Denver Nuggets have failed to win a championship in their history, a few remarkable players have plied their trade with the franchise. If Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, at the very least, reach the NBA Finals, they will guarantee their positions as one of the best players in a Nuggets jersey.
That said, here are the top five Denver Nuggets players in the history of the franchise.
#5 David Thompson
David Thompson won the 1976 ABA Rookie of the Year award and continued his impressive form following the name change from ABA to NBA. Although he was one of the most explosive guards to ever play the game, his career was cut short due to personal problems.
Thompson is one of six players in NBA history to score 70+ points in a single game. His nickname, Skywalker, was the result of athleticism when attacking the rim.
In seven seasons with the Denver Nuggets, he played in 415 games and averaged 23.7 points. He is the fourth-highest scorer in the Denver Nuggets' history with 11,992 points. His No. 33 jersey hangs in the rafters at the Pepsi Center.
#4 Dikembe Mutombo
Dikembe Mutombo was a one-of-a-kind big man. His exploits were phenomenal, resulting in his jersey number being retired by two different franchises. In the five years he spent with the Denver Nuggets, he averaged 12.9 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.8 blocks.
The Congolese big man is the Denver Nuggets' leader in blocks and rebounds per game. Although he was a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, he won the award once with the Nuggets.
Mutombo's effectiveness for the Denver Nuggets cannot be overstated. Known for wagging his finger after a block, he set an NBA record for most blocks in a five-game playoff series with 31. He led the 8th-seeded Nuggets past the No. 1 seed Seattle Supersonics in the 1994 NBA playoffs first round.