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Of the many things that the state of Colorado can be proud of, one is definitely their very own Denver Nuggets. Known as the Denver Rockets from way back in 1967 as a charter franchise of the ABA (American Basketball Association), the now NBA franchise plays their games in Pepsi Center and has been one of the top contenders in the Western Conference of the said league.
It all started when a young Denver Rockets team made it to the 1975-1976 ABA finals, making them eligible to be one of the four ABA teams that were taken into the NBA. Along with the New York Nets, San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers, the Denver team played in the 1976-1977 NBA season and changed their name to Denver Nuggets because one of Texas' home teams, the Houston Rockets, already had first dibs on the name. In their first few years in the NBA, Denver had a good run, making it to the Western Conference finals but were beaten by the Los Angeles Lakers. A solid duo of scoring machines named Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe brought the Nuggets to several Western Conference games, but didn't make it to the finals.
A "run and gun" style of play was adopted by the Nuggets during the 90s, but they were poor in defense, which is why they lost many games and almost tied a league-worst 23 losing streak: the worst was the Cleveland Cavaliers' 24. The Denver Nuggets, by then, wasn't much but a team that made the playoffs and never really finished up to the next rounds. As time went on to the year 2000, it seemed that whatever top player they got, it was never enough even if they got in players like Dikembe Mutombo and Jalen Rose.
Luckily for Nuggets fans, a young man named Carmelo Anthony changed the perception of most people. He went on to become Denver's main man, accompanied with a high-flying J.R. Smith and a reliable power forward in Nene. With the hype that Anthony brought in and the All-Star performances that he brought in every game, the Denver Nuggets' hopes of advancing to the playoffs were high once again. It eventually got better, because a few years after, two-time MVP and scoring leader Allen Iverson joined forces with Carmelo Anthony, making the Nuggets even more dangerous as the two superstars were scoring an average of 30 points a game. However, chemistry seemed to be an issue because despite the stats that AI and Melo brought to the table, they couldn't get it together against the Spurs in the first round of the Playoffs, losing the next four after winning the first two games.
Iverson was then traded (due to attitude problems) and in came Chauncey Billups, a former finals MVP that seemed to be the Nuggets' missing spark plug. With a reliable point guard on the lineup, Anthony got more chances at taking over the game than with a shooting guard in Iverson. The Nuggets then went on to achieve a lot of milestones, achieving the best win-loss record that the franchise have had, not to mention achieving their first back to back 50-50 win seasons! These stats had the team lead the Northwest division for many seasons and finished with a Western Conference finals match up with the Lakers. They lost 4-2, but it was their longest playoff run in NBA history.
To date, the Nuggets are in the process of rebuilding themselves due to losing Billups and Anthony in a blockbuster trade to New York. They had reliable players like Aaron Afflalo, J.R. Smith, Danilo Gallinari, and others. People started to claim that Denver will soon be like Cleveland because there is no more Melo and Chauncey to lead the team, but statistics show that the Nuggets have better teamwork than before (24.1 assists) as well as a better defense, allowing only 97.1 points per game instead of the usual 107, when Carmelo and Chauncey were the leaders of the team.
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