NBA Championships: 0
Last NBA Championship: N/A
Claim to Fame: The Nuggets are one of four ABA franchises that joined the NBA in 1976. The other three are the Spurs, the Pacers, and the Nets.
Claim to Shame: The Nuggets bottomed out with 11 wins in the 1997-98 season.
The Denver Nuggets entered the NBA in 1976 and were a powerhouse from the very beginning. The former ABA stalwarts won 50 games in their inaugural season and advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals, where they lost to the eventual champion Portland Trail Blazers.
Their early success spilled over into the next decade thanks to a stable of All-Star talent headlined by Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe, a pair of gunners who never met a shot they didn’t like. Together they kept defenses on their heels and helped guide the Nuggets to nine straight playoff appearances from 1982 to 1990.
The Nuggets experienced something of a Rocky Mountain low in the 1990s with a string of sub .500 seasons, but bounced back again in 2003 after drafting Carmelo Anthony. The Syracuse product averaged 21 points and 6.8 rebounds as a rookie and led the team to a 26-game turnaround. Denver returned to the postseason in each of the next 10 years but only advanced past the first round once.
Denver had a dream season last year, as Nikola Jokic played at an All-NBA level and Jamal Murray took his game to an All-Star level as the Nuggets came a quarter away from reaching the Western Conference Finals after a hard fought series with the Portland Trail Blazers.
They opted to bring back everyone from last year’s 54 win outfit, including key vet Paul Millsap, and should be a top contender for the #1 seed in the West this season.