Didier Ilunga-Mbenga has a special spot to most fans in the NBA, but especially in most Nuggets fans hearts. He was on the receiving end of Ty Lawson’s infamous dunk against the Los Angeles Lakers last season.
Now the Belgian media is reporting that Mbenga has reached an agreement of a 1-year deal with the Nuggets. Mbenga was on the Lakers roster when they won their two titles and was on Dallas Mavericks team when they advanced to the finals (he was suspended due to entering the stands to help coach Avery Johnson’s wife).
Interesting enough, the Nuggets have now acquired the two least valuable big man in last season NBA Finals – Mbenga and Shelden Williams. Mbenga has played with the Lakers, Mavericks and Golden State Warriors. For his career, Mbenga has played in 193 games with a career average of 1.8 points and 1.4 rebounds a season.
He is a very good shot blocker with great timing and is a quality offensive rebounder. He has a good shot for a big man, but terrible hands and coordination.
It is hard to see what is role will be with the Nuggets, but it most likely won’t be decided until Carmelo Anthony’s fiasco is decided. Right now Mbenga, Al Harrington, Renaldo Balkman and Williams will bid for time next to Nene while Chris Andersen and Kenyon Martin are on the mend. Mbenga at least gives the Nuggets size that they lacked after Johan Petro left as a free agent.
On the personal side, Mbenga can speak five languages and is a black belt in Judo. He was born and raised in Zaire (also where former Nuggets’ center Dikembe Mutombo came from), where is father was a government official and was imprisoned after the government switched regimes. Mbenga’s father negotiated to have his sons, who were also imprisoned and were supposed to be executed, where D.J. fled to Belgium.
Tags: Al Harrington Chris Andersen D.J. Mbenga Dallas Mavericks Denver Nuggets Didier Ilunga-Mbenga Dikembe Mutombo Golden State Warriors Kenyon Martin Los Angeles Lakers NBA Finals Renaldo Balkman Shelden Williams Ty Lawson