As we head towards Number 10 on the 20 greatest Nuggets of all time, we hit the 14th spot on the list, and we come across another of the Nuggets dominant big men in their history, Marcus Camby. Camby was acquired by the Nuggets in a trade with the New York Knicks for Antonio McDyess on draft day in June of 2002. Also included in that trade were Mark Jackson and Nene Hilario to the Nuggets and Frank Williams and a second round draft pick to the Knicks. Camby was a great College player at the University of Massachusetts taking them to the final four in 1996 and was the National College Player of the Year in that season. He ended his career with UMass 2nd in blocked shots on their all time list with 336 during his 3 years at the school. He was selected with the 2nd overall pick in the 1996 NBA Entry Draft by the Toronto Raptors. He played 2 seasons in Toronto and 4 in his first stint with the New York Knicks before coming to Denver in the McDyess trade in 2002. He played 6 seasons with the Nuggets before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in July of 2008.
Camby was one of the best defensive centers of his generation and this is backed up by his stats. Camby is currently ranked 12th in NBA history in blocked shots with an otherworldly 2,331 in his 16 seasons in the league. He is also 41st all time in rebounds with 9,513 and these lists include the likes of Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, and Hakeem Olajuwon. He also ranks very high on several Nuggets record lists even though he only played 6 years of his career in a Nuggets Uniform.
Camby’s ranks in Nuggets history are as follows:
2nd in blocks with 1,126 and trails only Dikembe Mutombo.
2nd in blocks per game at 3.0 per contest (Trails only Mutombo here as well)
3rd in defensive rebounds with 3,174
3rd in rebounds per game at 11.1
6th in total rebounds with a total of 4,117 in his Nuggets career.
It’s obvious from looking at those numbers that Camby was one of the best defensive players, blocked shot artists and rebounders in the long history of the Nuggets franchise. He was so good defensively that I remember many times a player would be heading to the rim and Camby would be defending his man on the weak side and fly across the lane and block the unsuspecting player’s shot when he thought it was an uncontested layup. The Nuggets made the playoffs in 5 of Camby’s 6 seasons with the team and along with Kenyon Martin and Carmelo Anthoney, rejuvenated the franchise after years of futility in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. For his Nuggets career Camby averaged a very respectable 10.1 points per game but the numbers that stick out are the 11.1 rebounds and 3.0 blocks he averaged per game in his Nuggets career. He was bestowed with the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award following the 2006-2007 season when he averaged 11.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per contest. He was on the 1st team NBA All-Defensive Team following the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons and the 2nd team following the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 seasons.
Camby was like a security blanket for Head Coach George Karl and his teammates as they patterned their defense around funneling the ball to the baseline to allow Camby to come from the weak side and either get the block or change the shot so it could not go in. He was a tenacious rebounder and had highs for a game of 23 and 21 rebounds during his Nuggets career. I always respected Camby’s attitude when he was a Nugget as well because he came from the East Coast and made Denver his home during his time here. He developed his own local Charity called the Cambyland Foundation and had his own section in the Pepsi Center’s upper level that gave tickets to underprivileged youth in the Denver area. He was always showing up at Children’s Hospital over the Holidays with his Santa hat on and doling out gifts to the sick children at the Hospital during that time of the year. His 6 years with the Nuggets were successful in every way except one. Even though they made the playoffs in 5 of his 6 seasons, they never made it out of the first round. This is one of the few negatives that I can think of when it comes to Camby’s contribution to the Denver Nuggets Franchise.
So there you have my 14th greatest Denver Nugget of all time, Marcus Camby. Stay tuned for number 13 coming over the Memorial Day Weekend and follow all of your Nuggets news and analysis @Nugg_Love. Photo Credit to ambasketball.com.