I’ve only been to Denver once. Actually, I’ve only been to the Denver airport on my way to Estes Park, Colo. But strangely I’m a Denver Nuggets fan. I have been since 1994. My friends are baffled seeing as I was born in Chicago, lived eight years in Atlanta and another eight in South Florida.
As a youngster, I was a Bulls fan, as was anyone else with a pulse in the early 90s. By the time John Paxson drilled that clinching 3-pointer in Game Six against the Suns in the 1993 NBA Finals, it seemed everyone and their mother rooted for His Airness and Co.
See most people jump on bandwagons. Not me. I jump off. So I needed a new a squad. For Hannukah, my mom got me a Dikembe Mutombo jersey, and my love affair with the Nuggets took off. And it wasn’t such a bad year to join up the Nuggs’ cause as they became the first No. 8 seed to win a playoff series as they upset Seattle when they were still the SuperSonics. Watch it here.
But after that it was slim pickings. Sure there were some highlights with Robert Pack, Bryant Stith, the artist formerly known as Chris Jackson and Antonio McDyess, but the late 90s was brutal for Nuggets fans.
In 1997, the Nuggets fielded perhaps one of the worst teams in NBA history. They won just 11 games all year and tied the NBA single-season record for most consecutive losses with 23. The next season didn’t offer much of a reprieve for Denver fans with a 14-win campaign. Things got marginally better, but still no winning seasons. Then there was 2003 when the Nuggets tied the Cavaliers with the worst record in the league at 17-65.
That team featured players named Vincent Yarbrough, Junior Harrington, Ryan Bowen, Rodney White, Donnell Harvey, Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Chris Andersen, Chris Whitney, Shammond Williams, Kenny Satterfield, John Crotty, Pedrag Savovic, Jeff Trepagnier and Adam Harrington.
Of that group only Ryan Bowen remains in the league (He plays for New Orleans and actually scored eight points against the Nuggets on Jan. 28). That tells you everything you need to know. But I hung tough. And my reward was the No. 3 pick in the 2003 Draft and thanks to the Pistons folly and Darko Milicic, Carmelo Anthony helped turn things around.
In Melo’s first four years in the league, the Nuggets have recorded winning seasons in each campaign. Prior to Melo’s rookie year, the last Nuggets team to have a winning record was that 1993-94 team I’ve already spoke of. That’s right. I jumped from the dynasty that was the Chicago Bulls for one winning season in a decade. Pretty smart huh?
So why have I gone on with this lengthy diatribe of the travails of my beloved Nuggets? Because with one more acquisition, the Nuggets – my Nuggets – could be odds on favorites to win the NBA title.
Jason Kidd wants out of New Jersey. Who doesn’t? And among the suitors for his services are the Nuggets, who already boast the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby and Kenyon Martin. Add Kidd into the mix and the quartet of rich and creamies blows the Boston Three Party (thanks Scott Van Pelt) out of the water.
Kidd is a player who can win a game without making a shot. And with players like Iverson and Anthony happy to take every shot, Kidd would be just what the doctor ordered in the Rockies. At 34, Kidd’s window to win a title is shrinking and the Nets are not anywhere near a championship contender.
Denver is currently 26-18 and tied for second in the Northwest Division with Portland, though the Nuggets are just 1/2 a game back of division-leading Utah. It’s said a deal with Denver would cost the Nuggets Nene, Linas Kleiza and J.R. Smith. That’s a bigger fleecing than the Mets just pulled over on the Twins. Nene has the tools and at times looks like he can be a force the likes of a poor man’s Karl Malone. However, the Brazilian has struggled with injuries his entire career and the latest, a cancer scare, might throw this deal into doubt. But if Nene scares the Nets, offer a first round pick and some cash. Get the deal done!
Cleveland and Dallas would undoubtedly be interested in Kidd, and LeBron has already gushed openly about the idea of pairing up with the second best point guard in the game (behind only Chris Paul, though Deron Williams shouldn’t be overlooked).
But Denver’s VP of Basketball Operations Mark Warkentien needs to get this move done. Owner Stan Kroenke has already shown he’s not afraid to make a big splash and spend the cash with last year’s deal bringing Iverson into the fold. Us Nuggets fans, and yes we’re out there, deserve this.
I deserve it. I gave up three titles (Chicago’s second three-peat) to cheer for your Nuggets. Show me some love.