[Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets

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[Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#1 » by Odinn21 » Sun May 30, 2021 3:00 pm

Hello.

Link to the project thread.

Pick the top 5 individual single seasons in the Nuggets franchise history.

As Denver Nuggets from 1976-77 to today
As Denver Nuggets from 1974-75 to 1975-76 in the ABA
As Denver Rockets from 1967-68 to 1973-74 in the ABA


Things to follow;
- This project is franchise bound, not city bound. Quick example; Philadelphia Warriors from 1949-50 to 1961-62 is part of the Golden State Warriors franchise history and 1952 Arizin is eligible for the GS Warriors history.
- We'll follow continuity of the franchise. I.e. Seattle SuperSonics and Oklahoma City Thunder are the same franchise. We'll use BBRef as reference for this.
https://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/OKC/
- ABA seasons are included.
- 2020-21 season is yet to be completed, so, it's not eligible for this project.
- One season per player, no duplicates within the franchise history. Quick example; Shaquille O'Neal can be voted for only once for the LA Lakers franchise history, and he can be voted for the Orlando Magic franchise history. They are separate occasions.


- Reg. season and postseason play, both are included in evaluations.
- Votes will be counted per player, not per version of player.
- An easy going point system of 10/7/5/3/1, the same as Retro PoY project, will be used. Number of higher placement votes will be the tiebreaker (if two players are tied at 27 points for the 1st place, the player with more 1st place votes will get it).
- Explanation is needed, even in short forms.
- We'll be going alphabetically with franchise nicknames. Linked to the voting threads as well.
Spoiler:
Philadelphia 76ers
Milwaukee Bucks
Chicago Bulls
Cleveland Cavaliers
Boston Celtics
Los Angeles Clippers
Memphis Grizzlies
Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat
Charlotte Hornets
Utah Jazz
Sacramento Kings
New York Knicks
Los Angeles Lakers
Orlando Magic
Dallas Mavericks
Brooklyn Nets
Denver Nuggets
Indiana Pacers
New Orleans Pelicans
Detroit Pistons
Toronto Raptors
Houston Rockets
San Antonio Spurs
Phoenix Suns
Oklahoma City Thunder
Minnesota Timberwolves
Portland Trail Blazers
Golden State Warriors
Washington Wizards


Results on Google Sheet

- The time frame for each franchise is 2 days (10:00 EST).

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The issue with per75 numbers;
36pts on 27 fga/9 fta in 36 mins, does this mean he'd keep up the efficiency to get 48pts on 36fga/12fta in 48 mins?
The answer; NO. He's human, not a linearly working machine.
Per75 is efficiency rate, not actual production.
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#2 » by Dutchball97 » Sun May 30, 2021 3:21 pm

Does Billups 2008/09 season count here? He started the season as a Piston but only played 2 games for them before going on to play 77 games in the regular season and 16 in the play-offs for the Nuggets. He was good in the 2010 regular season as well but his 2010 post-season wasn't good enough for me to put him in the top 5, while his 2009 season would probably be 4th or 5th on my list.
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#3 » by HeartBreakKid » Sun May 30, 2021 3:23 pm

1) 2020 Nikola Jokic - It seems like during the top 100 I found out that some people don't think that Jokic has been a superstar for a while and that this is his first year. I've had Jokic as the 2nd best player in the league since 2019, and this year he might even be THE best (though it doesn't count obviously). I mean the reasons are pretty obvious, and there is no other superstar in Nuggets history that can even really challenge him.

2) 1994 Dikembe Mutumbo - Monster defensive impact, like top 5, top ten at a minimum level. He averaged 6 blocks per game in the playoffs, and upset the 8th seed as the 1st with no other major players on his team. Jokic is pretty much the only championship centerpiece in the Nuggets history, so you're looking at who can be the best #2 - and an all time great defender is pretty hard to overlook here.

3) 2009 Chauncey Billups - I actually think Chauncey was underrated in the late 2000s. I suppose a mix of him not really being a true star and being old makes it easy to overlook him. I thought Billups around this time played like a real pass first PG but because he has other well rounded attributes (like Frazier) he never got this distinction as a great passer. Anyway, he does everything at a high level. Good defense, shooting, passing, floor generalship, leadership, decent scorer. He is an 18 PPG on 60 TS% guy in a time when the average was like 54 %, and in the playoffs he averaged 66 TS% on higher volume on route to the WCF. His utility as well as his overall playoff effectiveness make him a more valuable player than a lot of the guys who are too slanted toward huge volume scoring like English, Thompson, Issel, Iverson and Anthony.

4) 1978 Bobby Jones - Might be a top 5 defender at his position. His vertical movement and motor would be a wonder to see int today's game. He played very good team basketball, never held the ball too long, wasn't shy to put the ball in the hoop when he was expected to, he kept moving for cuts and so forth. Kind of an ultimate glue guy. Again, he seems more useful than the big volume scoring Nuggets.

5) 1985 Alex English - His scoring seems no less effective than the other scorers. Guys like Thompson, Anthony and Iverson don't have the best playoff resumes scoring wise. Not only is English arguably a better scorer than everyone left, but he is also a bit more versatile. He can play off ball better than most of half of the other big time scorers left, and he is a better defender than all of them pretty much. His passing is decent enough.


In addition to the scorers I mentioned I think I'd give a major honorable mention to Fat Lever who I see as a mini Jason Kidd. I actually think I might give Fat Lever my 6th place vote.
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#4 » by HeartBreakKid » Sun May 30, 2021 3:23 pm

Dutchball97 wrote:Does Billups 2008/09 season count here? He started the season as a Piston but only played 2 games for them before going on to play 77 games in the regular season and 16 in the play-offs for the Nuggets. He was good in the 2010 regular season as well but his 2010 post-season wasn't good enough for me to put him in the top 5, while his 2009 season would probably be 4th or 5th on my list.


I would assume you simply just wouldn't count the games he played for the Pistons. Otherwise, what other franchise would he have played for that season?
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#5 » by Dutchball97 » Sun May 30, 2021 3:45 pm

1. Nikola Jokic, 2018/19 - I wasn't sure if Jokic would have had the best season for the Nuggets already, seeing how he has once again upped his game in the current season. The thing is that there really aren't many questions around Jokic performance here. In the regular season he had 26.3 PER, .226 WS/48 and 9.1 BPM. Then in the play-offs those numbers jumped up even higher to 29.6 PER, .263 WS/48 and 11.6 BPM over 14 games. His per minute value trumps everyone and his 11.8 WS/7 VORP in the regular season and 3 WS/1.9 VORP in the play-offs are better than pretty much anyone else by a good margin as well.

2. Spencer Haywood, 1969/70 - He of course played in a weaker league but Haywood is the only other player besides Jokic who had league best numbers. He had a crazy 17.1 WS because he played so much but his league leading 28 PER and .216 WS/48 show that it wasn't just him playing big minutes that led to that. In the play-offs he played at a very similar level over 12 games. Level of competition is enough to not really make him competitive with Jokic for the #1 spot but it isn't enough for me to put him below guys that weren't all that close to reaching his level.

3. Bobby Jones, 1976/77 - Monster 2-way regular season. While his offense dropped off somewhat in the play-offs, it was still above average and combined with his elite defense I can't really knock him for this post-season when his regular season is significantly more impressive than anyone else left available imo.

4. Chauncey Billups, 2008/09 - Strong regular season but what puts him on the list is his post-season. I think the gap to Bobby Jones in the regular season is too significant to bump him below Billups because of his post-season but this was an incredible season nontheless.

5. Alex English, 1984/85 - Similar season to Billups but slightly worse in both the regular season and post-season imo. His 83 regular season with his 84 or 85 post-season would see him rise a spot or maybe even two but that's just the way it goes.

If Billups turns out to be ineligible after all I'd bump up English to #4 and move 87/88 Fat Lever onto my list. Issel and Melo were close but they didn't peak all that high. David Thompson would've gone in if it was regular season only but his play-offs weren't great. Dikembe is of course an option as well but I'm not too high on his play-offs as a Nugget either.
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#6 » by sansterre » Sun May 30, 2021 3:47 pm

I’ve started integrating RAPM and PIPM into the analysis. One new stat I’ve made is WAA, which is PIPM’s Wins Added, but Averaged to an 82 game season (because Wins Added counts all games, which inflates players that make it far into the playoffs).

The following players were considered but were generally cut

2009 Carmelo was quite good in the playoffs and valuable when he played but his regular season (with missing time and all) was too low on value to count (only 5 WS, 1.5 VORP and 8.2 WAA).

1985 Calvin Natt has solid enough Win Shares and VORP (10.2 and 3.4) but he was graded with the 2nd lowest PIPM of the group (+1.94) which is enough to take him out.

1984 Kiki Vandeweghe is pretty much identical, with good general metrics but only a +2.02 PIPM.

1977 Dan Issel is again the same, with only a +2.24 PIPM.

Which leaves us with nine: ’77 Jones, ’78 Thompson, ’83 English, ’88 Lever, ’94 Mutombo, ’08 Iverson, '09 Billups, ’11 Nene and ’19 Jokic.

Win Shares: Thompson 12.7, Jokic 11.8, Iverson 11.6, Jones 11.0, Lever 10.4, English 10.3, Billups 9.9, Nene 9.6, Mutombo 9.4

VORP: Jokic 7.0, Jones & Lever 5.5, Thompson, 5.2, English 5.0, Iverson 4.0, Mutombo & Billups 3.7, Nene 3.2

AuPM: Nene +5.5, Iverson +4.1, Billups +3.9, Jokic & Mutombo +3.6

RAPM: Billups +5.4, Nene +4.7, Iverson +2.8, Jokic +2.1

WAA: Jones 13.3, Iverson 12.9, Lever 12.8, Jokic 11.9, Mutombo 11.2, English & Billups 10.4, Thompson 10.3, Nene 9.1

Playoff OBPM: Jokic +8.3, Billups +5.8, Lever +4.4, Iverson +4.0, English +2.7, Thompson +2.3, Jones +2.0, Nene +1.4, Mutombo -0.1

A really interesting mix here. And I don’t think it’s obvious where to make cuts. Every player has a case. But since I’ve got to . . .

First cut: 1978 David Thompson. His regular season box score metrics are actually great (#1 Win Shares, #3 VORP) but his PIPM is weirdly low (+2.69, #8), suggesting that the limited impact metrics we have for him aren’t super enthusiastic. Add on to that the fact that he really slowed in the playoffs (+2.3 OBPM, down from +5.5 OBPM in the regular season) and I feel like he’s a safe cut.

Second cut: 1994 Dikembe Mutombo. His box score metrics underrate him (not unusual for a defensive player) but his impact metrics aren’t great (+3.6 AuPM, tied for last and +3.25 PIPM, 5th). I’m happy to push a defensive specialist without box score metric support, but I want higher impact numbers in this group.

The last two cuts: ’11 Nene and ’83 English. They could not be more different. English smokes Nene in regular season box score metrics, and while Nene’s impact metrics are outstanding (+5.5 AuPM and +4.7 RAPM, both #1) his PIPM is only slightly above English and English played enough more that his WAA is higher. The WAA coming out for English makes me favor him for the regular season, but English’s OBPM dropped in the playoffs (+2.7 in only 7 games, down from +5.4 in the regular season) which suggests that Nene should be favored for the playoffs. But both fall a little short of '09 Chauncey Billups. Billups has comparable Impact metrics to Nene (but better box score metrics), and better WAA. And Billups looks comparable to English in the regular season, but instead of tailing off in the postseason Billups shined with a +5.8 OBPM over 16 games.

#5. 2009 Chauncey Billups - Billups' playoffs are excellent and his RAPM is nuts, but he's still considerably behind Iverson in both WAA and Win Shares (and in actual PIPM). Billups' playoffs were better . . . but not by a ton (5.8 OBPM vs 4.0 OBPM) and Iverson's regular season was almost certainly more valuable. I could see this going either way, but Iverson's huge edge in WAA did it for me.

For me, the next two spots are between two players: ’08 Iverson and ’88 Lever. Iverson has the higher Win Shares, Lever the higher VORP. Iverson’s the only one with Impact metrics, and both are solid but not great (+4.1 AuPM and +2.8 RAPM). Lever is graded superior in PIPM (+4.02 vs +3.17) but Iverson played so many minutes that their WAA are almost identical (12.9 for Iverson and 12.8 for Lever). Their playoffs were really similar, with Lever posting a +4.4 OBPM and Iverson a +4.0. This one is really close but I slightly favor Lever here. His far higher VORP and slightly superior playoffs break the tie for me.

#4. 2008 Allen Iverson

#3. 1988 Fat Lever

Which leaves us with our last two, ’77 Jones and ’19 Jokic. The box score metrics favor Jokic by a fair bit (11.8 WS to 11.0, 7.0 VORP to 5.5) but Jokic’s impact metrics are weirdly low (+3.6 AuPM and +2.1 RAPM). And we don’t know Bobby Jones’ but his PIPM is bonkers, +5.57 (vs +4.5) and Jones has the WAA advantage at 13.3 vs 11.9. Truthfully, I favor Bobby Jones’ regular season; Jokic’s low impact metrics sour me on him some. But in the playoffs Jokic averaged a +8.3 OBPM over a big sample size (14 games), which is something Jones doesn’t come close to. I put such a premium on superstar-level offensive efforts in the playoffs that I’m giving this to Jokic, but I think Jones has a strong case.

#2. 1977 Bobby Jones

#1. 2019 Nikola Jokic
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#7 » by Dutchball97 » Sun May 30, 2021 3:50 pm

Aren't you guys aware of Haywood's eligibility or do you think the 69/70 ABA was just too weak of a league? I'd understand it if some people were lower on it but considering Barry's 71/72 season was pretty universally praised in the Nets thread, I'm a bit surprised he hasn't even got a mention yet.
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#8 » by sansterre » Sun May 30, 2021 3:54 pm

Dutchball97 wrote:Aren't you guys aware of Haywood's eligibility or do you think the 69/70 ABA was just too weak of a league? I'd understand it if some people were lower on it but considering Barry's 71/72 season was pretty universally praised in the Nets thread, I'm a bit surprised he hasn't even got a mention yet.

I'm looking at it.

I use StatHead's sorter to give me an idea of who to look for and I follow up with top PIPM seasons to make sure I didn't miss any.

But StatHead doesn't include the ABA unless you make it (which I've just realized that I didn't) so Haywood was simply missed.

And I have to say, it's a really strong looking season. 17.1 Win Shares, usage and shooting that improved in the postseason (over a decent sample size) . . . I hate using any seasons from the early 70s, (between the diluted league and lack of other stats to corroborate box score stats) but it clearly merits some serious consideration.

I'll have to think it over - thanks for catching it and bringing him up.
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#9 » by HeartBreakKid » Sun May 30, 2021 4:04 pm

I'm considering Haywood but I don't think it's likely. I wouldn't really compare him to Rick Barry either. We've seen Rick Barry do good in the NBA in two different runs, and in his ABA run he had a deep playoffs appearance where he played well. The ABA also had two more years to mature. It'd be nice if Haywood had more playoff appearances (in either the ABA or NBA) to get a feel for his game.

Seems like there is more evidence Haywood got a boost from weak competition than Barry.
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#10 » by Dr Positivity » Sun May 30, 2021 4:26 pm

This one is hard

1. 2019 Nikola Jokic - MVP level season

2. 1985 Alex English - Superstar offensive player even if he did it in high pace environment. My first instinct was to rate Thompson over him if not other players, but it looks like he had a killer playoff run to WCF.

3. 1978 David Thompson - led the league in Win Shares, 3rd in MVP. The league was not super efficient so his .578 TS% was actually 11th overall in the NBA.

4. 1977 Bobby Jones - Huge advanced stats (.219 WS/48, 7.0 BPM), we know Jones is likely to be a non-boxscore friendly guy. Good enough on offense in addition to elite D. Would be 2nd if played more minutes.

5. 1994 Dikembe Mutombo - high impact player, good playoff performance leading to iconic upset

HM: Billups, Haywood, Issel, Melo
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#11 » by sansterre » Sun May 30, 2021 4:35 pm

Huh. Here are the Top 10 in Win Shares for the 1970 ABA:

Spencer Haywood
Roger Brown
Lavern Tart
Red Robbins
Larry Jones
Jimmy Jones
Goose Ligon
Donnie Freeman
Donald Sidle
Glen Combs

I'll be the first to admit that there's plenty I don't know, but who the hell are those guys? I expected at least one player that I'd recognize but that didn't happen.

Out of curiosity let's look at the Top 10s for 1971 and 1972:

Zelmo Beaty
Mel Daniels
Roger Brown
Dan Issel
Jimmy Jones
Larry Jones
Glen Combs
Mack Calvin
John Brisker
Steve Jones

and

Artis Gilmore
Dan Issel
Julius Erving
Willie Wise
Rick Barry (who had been in the prior two seasons but only played <60 games a year)
Mel Daniels
Roger Brown
Donnie Freeman
Mack Calvin

Simply at a glance the league seems to have gotten better quite notably between '70 and '72. And it seems notable that in three straight years a rookie big man showed up and immediately impacted the league (Haywood, then Issel, then Gilmore).

Here are the Win Shares of the next five years for that 1970 Win Shares list (and their age in parenthesis):

Haywood (20): dropped to 10ish Win Shares in the NBA
Brown (27): 13.3 -> 10.9 -> 9.3 -> 6.1 -> 6.5
Tart (27): 10.9 -> 1.2 -> left basketball
Robbins (25): 10.7 -> 6.9 -> 6.7 -> 2.3 -> 3.7
Larry Jones (27): 10.6 -> 8.8 -> 8.1 -> 3.7
Jimmy Jones (25): 10.5 -> 10.3 -> 8.3 -> 9.3 -> 8.8
Goose Ligon (25): 9.9 -> 6.3 -> 2.4 -> 1.0
Donnie Freeman (25): 9.7 -> 7.6 -> 8.9 -> 3.7 -> 3.4
Donald Sidle (23): 9.7 -> 5.9 -> 1.9
Glen Combs (23): 8.6 -> 8.7 -> 6.7 -> 2.7 -> 2.5

Okay so. You'd expect some regression to the mean. The group is inherently going to be made of some people who had fluky good seasons; so some getting worse is to be expected. And this list does include some players who retained value decently (Brown declining from 27 isn't crazy, Larry Jones doing the same, Jimmy Jones holding value as a solid player into his late 20s . . .) but by 1972 and 1973 a disturbing number of these players were washed up or out of the league.

This is hardly scientific. But I think there is serious reason to be skeptical about the level of quality in the 1970 ABA. Spencer Haywood was unquestionably completely dominant over that league. The question is . . . exactly how do we compare epic dominance over a super-weak league to more mortal seasons in far more competitive years (like '19 Jokic and '77 Bobby Jones)?

A seriously worthy question.
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#12 » by Dutchball97 » Sun May 30, 2021 5:04 pm

sansterre wrote:Huh. Here are the Top 10 in Win Shares for the 1970 ABA:

Spencer Haywood
Roger Brown
Lavern Tart
Red Robbins
Larry Jones
Jimmy Jones
Goose Ligon
Donnie Freeman
Donald Sidle
Glen Combs

I'll be the first to admit that there's plenty I don't know, but who the hell are those guys? I expected at least one player that I'd recognize but that didn't happen.

Out of curiosity let's look at the Top 10s for 1971 and 1972:

Zelmo Beaty
Mel Daniels
Roger Brown
Dan Issel
Jimmy Jones
Larry Jones
Glen Combs
Mack Calvin
John Brisker
Steve Jones

and

Artis Gilmore
Dan Issel
Julius Erving
Willie Wise
Rick Barry (who had been in the prior two seasons but only played <60 games a year)
Mel Daniels
Roger Brown
Donnie Freeman
Mack Calvin

Simply at a glance the league seems to have gotten better quite notably between '70 and '72. And it seems notable that in three straight years a rookie big man showed up and immediately impacted the league (Haywood, then Issel, then Gilmore).

Here are the Win Shares of the next five years for that 1970 Win Shares list (and their age in parenthesis):

Haywood (20): dropped to 10ish Win Shares in the NBA
Brown (27): 13.3 -> 10.9 -> 9.3 -> 6.1 -> 6.5
Tart (27): 10.9 -> 1.2 -> left basketball
Robbins (25): 10.7 -> 6.9 -> 6.7 -> 2.3 -> 3.7
Larry Jones (27): 10.6 -> 8.8 -> 8.1 -> 3.7
Jimmy Jones (25): 10.5 -> 10.3 -> 8.3 -> 9.3 -> 8.8
Goose Ligon (25): 9.9 -> 6.3 -> 2.4 -> 1.0
Donnie Freeman (25): 9.7 -> 7.6 -> 8.9 -> 3.7 -> 3.4
Donald Sidle (23): 9.7 -> 5.9 -> 1.9
Glen Combs (23): 8.6 -> 8.7 -> 6.7 -> 2.7 -> 2.5

Okay so. You'd expect some regression to the mean. The group is inherently going to be made of some people who had fluky good seasons; so some getting worse is to be expected. And this list does include some players who retained value decently (Brown declining from 27 isn't crazy, Larry Jones doing the same, Jimmy Jones holding value as a solid player into his late 20s . . .) but by 1972 and 1973 a disturbing number of these players were washed up or out of the league.

This is hardly scientific. But I think there is serious reason to be skeptical about the level of quality in the 1970 ABA. Spencer Haywood was unquestionably completely dominant over that league. The question is . . . exactly how do we compare epic dominance over a super-weak league to more mortal seasons in far more competitive years (like '19 Jokic and '77 Bobby Jones)?

A seriously worthy question.


Absolutely fair observation. I compare the early ABA to the first half of the 50s in the NBA. I generally don't rate either era highly but whenever a player posts dominating stats like Schayes or Mikan I do tend to rate them ahead of players who were borderline top 10 or worse in more competitive eras.

With the Lakers we had a bunch of GOAT peaks to choose from so Mikan missed the cut based on his weaker era but with the Nuggets this isn't the case.
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#13 » by HeartBreakKid » Sun May 30, 2021 5:06 pm

Dutchball97 wrote:
sansterre wrote:Huh. Here are the Top 10 in Win Shares for the 1970 ABA:

Spencer Haywood
Roger Brown
Lavern Tart
Red Robbins
Larry Jones
Jimmy Jones
Goose Ligon
Donnie Freeman
Donald Sidle
Glen Combs

I'll be the first to admit that there's plenty I don't know, but who the hell are those guys? I expected at least one player that I'd recognize but that didn't happen.

Out of curiosity let's look at the Top 10s for 1971 and 1972:

Zelmo Beaty
Mel Daniels
Roger Brown
Dan Issel
Jimmy Jones
Larry Jones
Glen Combs
Mack Calvin
John Brisker
Steve Jones

and

Artis Gilmore
Dan Issel
Julius Erving
Willie Wise
Rick Barry (who had been in the prior two seasons but only played <60 games a year)
Mel Daniels
Roger Brown
Donnie Freeman
Mack Calvin

Simply at a glance the league seems to have gotten better quite notably between '70 and '72. And it seems notable that in three straight years a rookie big man showed up and immediately impacted the league (Haywood, then Issel, then Gilmore).

Here are the Win Shares of the next five years for that 1970 Win Shares list (and their age in parenthesis):

Haywood (20): dropped to 10ish Win Shares in the NBA
Brown (27): 13.3 -> 10.9 -> 9.3 -> 6.1 -> 6.5
Tart (27): 10.9 -> 1.2 -> left basketball
Robbins (25): 10.7 -> 6.9 -> 6.7 -> 2.3 -> 3.7
Larry Jones (27): 10.6 -> 8.8 -> 8.1 -> 3.7
Jimmy Jones (25): 10.5 -> 10.3 -> 8.3 -> 9.3 -> 8.8
Goose Ligon (25): 9.9 -> 6.3 -> 2.4 -> 1.0
Donnie Freeman (25): 9.7 -> 7.6 -> 8.9 -> 3.7 -> 3.4
Donald Sidle (23): 9.7 -> 5.9 -> 1.9
Glen Combs (23): 8.6 -> 8.7 -> 6.7 -> 2.7 -> 2.5

Okay so. You'd expect some regression to the mean. The group is inherently going to be made of some people who had fluky good seasons; so some getting worse is to be expected. And this list does include some players who retained value decently (Brown declining from 27 isn't crazy, Larry Jones doing the same, Jimmy Jones holding value as a solid player into his late 20s . . .) but by 1972 and 1973 a disturbing number of these players were washed up or out of the league.

This is hardly scientific. But I think there is serious reason to be skeptical about the level of quality in the 1970 ABA. Spencer Haywood was unquestionably completely dominant over that league. The question is . . . exactly how do we compare epic dominance over a super-weak league to more mortal seasons in far more competitive years (like '19 Jokic and '77 Bobby Jones)?

A seriously worthy question.


Absolutely fair observation. I compare the early ABA to the first half of the 50s in the NBA. I generally don't rate either era highly but whenever a player posts dominating stats like Schayes or Mikan I do tend to rate them ahead of players who were borderline top 10 or worse in more competitive eras.

With the Lakers we had a bunch of GOAT peaks to choose from so Mikan missed the cut based on his weaker era but with the Nuggets this isn't the case.

What would you compare later ABA to?
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#14 » by Dutchball97 » Sun May 30, 2021 5:20 pm

HeartBreakKid wrote:
Dutchball97 wrote:
sansterre wrote:Huh. Here are the Top 10 in Win Shares for the 1970 ABA:

Spencer Haywood
Roger Brown
Lavern Tart
Red Robbins
Larry Jones
Jimmy Jones
Goose Ligon
Donnie Freeman
Donald Sidle
Glen Combs

I'll be the first to admit that there's plenty I don't know, but who the hell are those guys? I expected at least one player that I'd recognize but that didn't happen.

Out of curiosity let's look at the Top 10s for 1971 and 1972:

Zelmo Beaty
Mel Daniels
Roger Brown
Dan Issel
Jimmy Jones
Larry Jones
Glen Combs
Mack Calvin
John Brisker
Steve Jones

and

Artis Gilmore
Dan Issel
Julius Erving
Willie Wise
Rick Barry (who had been in the prior two seasons but only played <60 games a year)
Mel Daniels
Roger Brown
Donnie Freeman
Mack Calvin

Simply at a glance the league seems to have gotten better quite notably between '70 and '72. And it seems notable that in three straight years a rookie big man showed up and immediately impacted the league (Haywood, then Issel, then Gilmore).

Here are the Win Shares of the next five years for that 1970 Win Shares list (and their age in parenthesis):

Haywood (20): dropped to 10ish Win Shares in the NBA
Brown (27): 13.3 -> 10.9 -> 9.3 -> 6.1 -> 6.5
Tart (27): 10.9 -> 1.2 -> left basketball
Robbins (25): 10.7 -> 6.9 -> 6.7 -> 2.3 -> 3.7
Larry Jones (27): 10.6 -> 8.8 -> 8.1 -> 3.7
Jimmy Jones (25): 10.5 -> 10.3 -> 8.3 -> 9.3 -> 8.8
Goose Ligon (25): 9.9 -> 6.3 -> 2.4 -> 1.0
Donnie Freeman (25): 9.7 -> 7.6 -> 8.9 -> 3.7 -> 3.4
Donald Sidle (23): 9.7 -> 5.9 -> 1.9
Glen Combs (23): 8.6 -> 8.7 -> 6.7 -> 2.7 -> 2.5

Okay so. You'd expect some regression to the mean. The group is inherently going to be made of some people who had fluky good seasons; so some getting worse is to be expected. And this list does include some players who retained value decently (Brown declining from 27 isn't crazy, Larry Jones doing the same, Jimmy Jones holding value as a solid player into his late 20s . . .) but by 1972 and 1973 a disturbing number of these players were washed up or out of the league.

This is hardly scientific. But I think there is serious reason to be skeptical about the level of quality in the 1970 ABA. Spencer Haywood was unquestionably completely dominant over that league. The question is . . . exactly how do we compare epic dominance over a super-weak league to more mortal seasons in far more competitive years (like '19 Jokic and '77 Bobby Jones)?

A seriously worthy question.


Absolutely fair observation. I compare the early ABA to the first half of the 50s in the NBA. I generally don't rate either era highly but whenever a player posts dominating stats like Schayes or Mikan I do tend to rate them ahead of players who were borderline top 10 or worse in more competitive eras.

With the Lakers we had a bunch of GOAT peaks to choose from so Mikan missed the cut based on his weaker era but with the Nuggets this isn't the case.

What would you compare later ABA to?


Probably similar to late 50s and mid-late 70s NBA.
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#15 » by homecourtloss » Sun May 30, 2021 5:41 pm

1. 2019 Jokic

Great RS and PS runs. His VORP of 1.87 in only 14 games ranks as the 56th highest in NBA/ABA history, his +11.57 BPM the 15th highest. Nuggets cratered DEFENSIVELY with him off court in those 14 games.

2. 2009 Billups.

RAPM metrics show how much he meant to a variety of lineups. Nuggets ran into a great Lakers team in the playoffs but still had chances before that game 6 obliteration and Billups was a big reason for that.

3. 1977 Bobby Jones.

WOWYR loves him, BPM loves him, a ceiling raising player who could fit into any lineup. Just a great player to watch. Would have loved to see him in this era with his instincts.

4. 1988 Fat Lever

Sadly he got injured in that series vs. Dallas and the Nuggs collapsed. Good defender on a team that played a high pace, and his defense was consistent even with typical high minutes of the ‘80s.

5. 1985 English.

Not sure here. Looked at 2008 Iverson, 1994 Dikembe. Wound up going with English.

Liked his 1983 regular season better but 1985 playoffs were good and he acquitted himself well against a Lakers juggernaut that couldn’t miss a shot (it didn’t help that 4th option Byron Scott didn’t miss anything the entire series).
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#16 » by 70sFan » Sun May 30, 2021 7:48 pm

1. 2019/20 Nikola Jokic - his RS wasn't amazing, but I think he's been improving every year since his rookie season, so I decided to go with 2020 over 2019.

2. 1993/94 Dikembe Mutombo - this is one of the most underrated individual seasons in NBA history. He's overshadowed by Hakeem and Admiral, a bit like Gobert is now with Jokic and Embiid. His postseason is among the greatest defensive carryjobs I've ever seen. People don't realize how impactful he was because he didn't put up high scoring numbers, but I'd take that run over 95% of offensive anchors easily. Russell-esque season, unfortunately Nuggets were never good enough to reach the finals.

To be honest, I'm shocked that some people don't have Mutombo inside top 5...

3. 1976/77 Bobby Jones - I always felt that he was the most important player for this team. Spectacular defender and good all-around offensive player who didn't need the ball in his hands.

4. 2008/09 Chauncey Billups - very strong offensive season from consistent PG.

5. 1984/85 Alex English - I thought about Thompson, Haywood and Melo, but I decided to go with the player with the best skillset all-around. English was comparable scorer to Melo and unlike Anthony, he could do other things well on the court.

Haywood could be slightly underrated because of lack of footage, but from what I've seen he wasn't a good defender and he wasn't that smart either. He was very athletic when he was young, but I'm afraid his stats overrates him a bit. I'd probably take Melo and Thompson over him.
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#17 » by GeorgeMarcus » Mon May 31, 2021 12:59 am

1. '20 Nikola Jokic - The only true MVP-level player in Nuggets franchise history
2. '78 Bobby Jones - the founding father of elite role players (post-merger anyway); extremely high impact and portable skillset
3. '94 Dikembe Mutombo - GOAT-level rim protector and less anemic offensively than the likes of Mark Eaton, Ben Wallace, etc.
4. '85 Alex English - 3x All-NBA 2nd Teamer and the face of some really good Nuggets teams; amazing touch around the basket
5. '08 Allen Iverson - this season is a great reminder that much of Iverson's efficiency problems had to do with having 0 help offensively and 0 space to operate; the Nuggets played much better with Iverson on the court than with Melo
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#18 » by Odinn21 » Mon May 31, 2021 9:11 am

I guess I need to sit on my preferences for this one. My initial list had Deke as a clear #2 after Jokic. But Jones, English, Billups, that's quite the competition. I'll watch some postseason games before posting my selections.
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#19 » by Doctor MJ » Mon May 31, 2021 4:33 pm

Surprisingly tough one. A lot of players on the Nuggets worthy of honor and consideration.

1. '19-20 Nikola Jokic - how 'bout that? Are we beginning the true "Golden Nugget Age"?

2. '93-94 Dikembe Mutombo - I've seen enough +/- evidence of defensive impact from Deke to be convinced that that monstrous shot-blocking performance in the playoffs was as dominant as I remember. Also worth pointing out that this year really makes it clear in retrospect of Mutombo embracing a new mode big man offense in a high efficient supporting role, and that adds into my assessment too. I'll acknowledge that Mutombo would not be this effective today with the spacing of the game, and so I see arguments for the offensive superstars of Nuggets passed over Mutombo for sure, but I think Mutombo's defense was more special than any of those guys' offense, and I think in his time period that was a very big deal.

3. '76-77 Bobby Jones - Apex Bobby. Per minute, perhaps #1 on this list.

4. '84-85 Alex English - many big time scorer's scorers in this franchise history. I think English was the most impressive.

5. '08-09 Chauncey Billups - really comes down between him and his teammate - and bigger part of Nugget history - Carmelo Anthony. I'm someone who has been down on Melo's actual achievement relative to most for most of his career, but I want to say that Melo to me feels like he deserves a place in the Top 5 here. It is not clear cut by any means that Billups was the better player that year. But Billups was excellent too, and he was the clear cut MVP candidate for the team that year due to Melo's missed time. And while you can argue that Melo was just as good or even better, Billups' performance has always been particularly venerated.

So Honorable Mention:

Carmelo Anthony - as stated above, serious candidate

Spencer Haywood - the OG of the franchise. I can get into more conversation on him but again: Feels Top 5 to me, but too many candidates

David Thompson - Feels Top 5, too many candidates

Nene - didn't really get that close, but deserves veneration. Should've been an all-star.

Jamal Murray - Crossed him off my list pretty quickly, but there may come a time where I feel confident his '19-20 season was better than some of them above.
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Re: [Project] Top 5 single season peaks by franchises: The Nuggets 

Post#20 » by Doctor MJ » Mon May 31, 2021 5:31 pm

sansterre wrote:Huh. Here are the Top 10 in Win Shares for the 1970 ABA:

Spencer Haywood
Roger Brown
Lavern Tart
Red Robbins
Larry Jones
Jimmy Jones
Goose Ligon
Donnie Freeman
Donald Sidle
Glen Combs

I'll be the first to admit that there's plenty I don't know, but who the hell are those guys? I expected at least one player that I'd recognize but that didn't happen.


So, felt I should say on this: If the only one you know from the list is Haywood, then that speaks to you knowing the era primarily through the NBA rather than the ABA. While the NBA was stronger than the ABA at the time to be sure, there are guys there who really deserve to be known.

First and foremost Roger Brown, who was the career leader in ABA playoff Win Shares, and who was also caught in the gambling scandal that Connie Hawkins was snared in. In fact they were rivals who played on many teams together, and among other things have the distinction of being freshman who had never been eligible to play but got banned by college and the NBA based on association with those who had actually done pointshaving.
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