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.
The Nuggets came tantalizingly close to making the playoffs again in 2018 and appear to be a team on the rise after winning 46 games and finishing in the top 10 in points, rebounds, and assists per game.
Keep an eye on Jamal Murray, who increased his scoring average by 6.8 points, and Nikolai Jokic, who averaged 18.5 points and 10.7 rebounds per game and finished the season with a career-high 10 triple doubles. Their growth will be key to the Nuggets striking gold in 2019.