Michael Adams in 1989

Denver Nuggets Twenty Greatest: Eighteenth-Michael Adams

We have come to #18 on my 20 Greatest Nuggets of all time and that brings us to the smallest man on my list, Michael Adams.  Adams was only 5′ 10″ but played with a huge heart.  He played for the Nuggets from 1987 until 1991 and played on both good teams and bad.  He was a key bench player on the 1987-1988 team that set a Nuggets NBA Franchise record for wins with 54 (the record at the time which was eclipsed by the 2012-2013 team’s 57 wins.) and advanced to the second round of the playoffs before being eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks.  He was also on the 1990-1991 team that was coached by “The Mad Scientist”, Paul Westhead, that went a dismal 20-62.  In Michael’s 4 seasons in Denver he averaged a robust 18.2 points per game including 26.5 per game in 1990-1991 when he led the Nuggets in scoring and was 6th in the League, only .1 points behind Patrick Ewing of the Knicks for 5th.  One of the highlights of Adams tenure with the Nuggets was his NBA record (at the time) streak of 79 consecutive games with a 3 pointer made from January 28, 1988 through January 23, 1989.  (This record has since been broken by Philadelphia 76er Guard Dana Barros)  I remember being in McNichols Arena during those 2 seasons when Adams would get the ball and the entire crowd would shout “3!!!!!!” and Adams would knock down another one to extend the streak.  He had a very unorthodox shooting style that was dubbed “The Push Shot”.  Adams would pull up for his jump shot and instead of a standard release, Adams would shoot the ball somewhat like a Shot-put.    It wasn’t very pretty but it got the job done for the diminutive Adams.  He was not just a gunner at the point guard position though, he was also an excellent distributor of the ball as well.  During his fantastic 1990-1991 season, Adams also averaged 10.5 assists placing him 3rd in the League behind future Hall-of-Famers John Stockton and Magic Johnson.  He averaged over 7 assists per game during his time in Denver and was always a fan favorite due to his hustle, unselfishness and ability to hit the big “3”.  Adams was traded to the Washington Bullets after the 1990-1991 season and spent 4 fairly non-descript seasons there before finishing his career with the Charlotte Hornets and retiring from the game in 1996.  After his playing career, Adams went into coaching and held positions in the CBA, NBA and also coached Maryland University of the NCAA.  He was a definite favorite of Legendary Nuggets Coach Doug Moe because he loved to run the floor and was a master at running Moe’s notorious passing game.  The irony of his career is that he had his best season under Westhead in 1990-1991 due to the run and gun style that Westhead brought to Denver from Loyola Marymount University.  It fit Adams style perfectly even if it wasn’t a style fit for winning in the NBA.  It certainly was fun to watch offensively but impossible to watch defensively.  So there you have it, Michael Adams, My 18th Greatest Denver Nugget of all time!  Keep up on your Nuggets news by following us on Twitter @Nugg_Love.  Photo Credit to NBA Collections.

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