Denver Nuggets: 5 Best and Worst Draft Picks In Team History

Ty Lawson

The Denver Nuggets struck gold when they traded for Ty Lawson on draft night. (Photo by Keith Allison/

The Denver Nuggets have been very boom or bust in the draft during their NBA history.

They have drafted some amazing players that become superstars and others that have never seen the floor or been a part of the team.

The NBA draft is a guessing game and the Denver Nuggets have been no different.

Best Denver Nuggets picks

5. Kenneth Faried

The power forward from Morehead State has been a steal. Kenneth Faried dominated the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and the game happened to be in Denver at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets fell in love with what Faried brought to the court and they were excited to have the chance to draft.

Faried brings ton of energy to the Nuggets and is a great rebounder on the offensive and defensive end. He is the starting power forward currently and could be in that spot for the next 10 years.

4. Ty Lawson

Ty Lawson was actually drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves, he was sent to the Nuggets in a trade right away on draft night. This season Lawson has become the best player on the Nuggets. He leads the team in scoring and assists. He is slowly becoming a superstar in the league.

Lawson will only get better as his career goes along. He has All-Star talent and one day with be on the team in February.

3. LaPhonso Ellis

Although injuries derailed his career, when LaPhonso Ellis was healthy he was great for the Nuggets. He averaged double figures in all but one of his seasons in Denver and averaged more than seven rebounds in all but one season.

Ellis struggled with injuries at times and never really became the player the Nuggets thought he would be. If he would have stayed healthy he may have been even better than he was in limited time.

2. Dikembe Mutombo

The big man from Congo was drafted fourth overall in the 1991 draft. Dikembe Mutombo was a force in the middle and was part of the iconic playoff run in 1994 when the Nuggets upset the top-seeded Seattle SuperSonics. That team also took the Utah Jazz to seven games in the next series before bowing out.

He won the Defensive Player of the Year award four times, although only one of those was with the Denver Nuggets. Mutombo headed to the Atlanta Hawks in free agency in 1995.

1. Carmelo Anthony

Even though Carmelo Anthony has moved on to the New York Knicks, he is still considered one of the best players in franchise history. He turned the Denver Nuggets completely around and helped make them the team they are this season. Although Anthony only had one successful playoff run with the Denver Nuggets, he made the playoffs every season he was here.

Anthony forced his way out of Denver in 2011 after another first round playoff loss. Despite a lot of bad feelings about Anthony’s departure, he made the Nuggets matter in the NBA.

Worst Denver Nuggets draft picks

5. Efthimi Rentzias

The Nuggets picked a guy in the first round in 1996 that never played for them. Efthimi Rentzias played 35 games in the NBA and never amounted to any kind of player. A complete waste of a pick.

4. Tony Battie

This was another swing and miss on a top-five pick for the Nuggets. Battie played one season in Denver and averaged 8.9 points a game. The 1997 draft was weak after Tim Duncan and Chauncey Billups went in the first three picks.

The best player in the draft was Tracy McGrady, who went ninth. Battie has played for 14 years and played in the NBA as recently as 2012. He was a top-five pick that never averaged more than eight points a game.

3. Raef LaFrentz

Raif LaFrentz was  a star at Kansas. He played with fellow first-round pick Paul Pierce. The Nuggets, who had the third pick in the draft, could have had either of them. The Nuggets went the wrong way.

The forward actually played 10 seasons in the NBA and had a decent career. He averaged 14.1 points a game over his career. But with the third pick the team should get a game changer and he was not that.

Pierce, Antwan Jamison, Vince Carter and Dirk Nowitzki were selected after LaFrentz. Every single of those players are still playing in the NBA.

3. Julius Hodge

The Nuggets were playing better in 2005 so they had the 20th pick in the draft. The knock on Denver, and it still is currently, was they need a shooter to stretch the floor. Instead they took Julius Hodge.

Hodge was a great player at North Carolina State, but he did nothing in the pros. He also got involved in off-the-court problems that led to his departure from the Nuggets. Denver actually drafted Jarrett Jack in the same draft before trading him away to the Portland Trail Blazers. Jack is burning the 2013 Nuggets in the playoffs.

1. Nikoloz Tskitishvili

It is hard to believe that this guy was a top-five pick in the NBA draft.  He played six seasons in the NBA and averaged 2.9 points a game.  The Nuggets saw something in him when he was playing overseas … no one really knows what it was they saw.

Caron Butler and Amar’e Stoudemire were picked after Tskitishvili. This was a complete miss and bust for the Denver Nuggets.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony Denver Nuggets Nba Draft Ty Lawson

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