The Denver Nuggets are an American professional basketball team based in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Western Conference Northwest Division. The team was founded as the Denver Larks in 1967 as a charter franchise of the American Basketball Association (ABA), but changed its name to Rockets before the first season. It changed its name again to the Nuggets in 1974. After the name change, the Nuggets played for the final ABA Championship title in 1976, losing to the New York Nets.
The team has had some periods of success, qualifying for the ABA Playoffs for all seasons from 1967 to the 1976 ABA playoffs where it lost in the ABA Finals. The team joined the NBA in 1976 after the ABA and had early success making the playoffs in nine of its first ten seasons in the NBA, but failed to make a significant playoff run until 1994 when it was led by head coach Dan Issel and All-Star player Dikembe Mutombo. The team again advanced to the Finals in 2009 under the leadership of head coach George Karl and shooting guard Carmelo Anthony, but was defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.
The Nuggets have had 21 head coaches and won nine division titles. Their most recent appearance and victory in the NBA Finals was in 2020 when they defeated the Lakers 4-2.
The Nuggets have had a rivalry with the Utah Jazz since both teams joined the NBA in 1976. The two teams met in the playoffs for the first time in 1985, with the Jazz winning 3-2. The rivalry intensified in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the two teams meeting four times in the playoffs (1988, 1989, 1992, 1994). The Jazz won three of those series, but the Nuggets won the most recent matchup in 2009.
The Nuggets also have a rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers. The two teams have met in the playoffs eight times, with the Lakers winning six of those series. The most recent matchup was in 2020 when the Nuggets defeated the Lakers 4-2 to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
The Nuggets have had a number of players who have been named to All-NBA and All-Star teams. Carmelo Anthony was named to the All-NBA First Team in 2013 and the All-NBA Second Team in 2012 and 2014. He was also named an All-Star in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014. Dikembe Mutombo was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1995 and the All-NBA Second Team in 1997. He was also named an All-Star in 1992, 1995, 1996, and 1997. Alex English was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1982 and the All-NBA Second Team in 1983, 1984, and 1985. He was also named an All-Star in 1981, 1982, 1983, and 1984.
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