Emmanuel Mudiay vs. the Top 10 Denver Nugget PGs of All Time

1 of 2

Jun 25, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Emmanuel Mudiay (China) greets NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number seven overall pick to the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Mudiay has potential to be the best Nugget PG of all time. A bold statement to say the least, but that doesn’t make it impossible. I am not stating that Mudiay will, or will not have a better NBA career than these players, just that he will be a better Nugget.

Fortunately for the Zaire–born 19-year-old rookie, the competition preventing him from etching his name in Denver Nugget guard history isn’t that high octane.

Since the merger in 1976 that brought the Nuggets to the NBA, the team hasn’t been renowned for it’s guard play as well as other organizations across the league.

For Mudiay to stand a fighting chance at making Nugget history it’s crucial to know whom he is up against:

More from Nugg Love

  1. Earl Boykins (2003-2007)

Denver Stats (255 games): 12.1 ppg, 1.7 reb, 4 ast, and .8 stl

His stats and game contribution aren’t anything to speak loudly of. He makes this list because of his vigorous attempt to be a successful NBA player at the size of 5’5”.

Other than Spud Webb, Boykins is the greatest tiny man to ever play the game. He was a pure ball handler and passer, but clearly didn’t have the size to contribute at the next level.

Notable Nugget Accomplishments:

Shortest player in NBA history to score 30 or more points in a game.

  1. Larry Jones (1967-1970)

Denver* Stats (226 games): 25.4 ppg, 6.6 reb, and 4.2 ast

I am aware that having a player from 1967 makes me somewhat of a hypocrite, but I defend myself with the argument that the crop of Nugget point guards aren’t crème de la crème.

Jones excelled in the ABA as an aggressive scorer and creator for others. His statistics warrant him a higher ranking, but take them with 67 grains of salt as they were recorded in a weak ABA league.

90% of ABA players didn’t transition well to the NBA’s tempo and style; Larry Jones was in the 90%.

Notable Nugget Accomplishments:

4 time ABA All-Star

Scored 30 points in 23 consecutive games in 1968

*The 1967 Denver Nuggets were actually the 1967 Denver Rockets

Dec 21, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Denver Nuggets point guard Andre Miller (24) defends Los Angeles Clippers point guard Darren Collison (2) in the second half of the game at Staples Center. The Clippers won 112-91. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

  1. Andre Miller (2003-2006, 2011-2013)

Denver Stats (447 games): 12 ppg, 3.8 reb, 6.7 ast, and 1.2 stl 

Not known for his exciting play, Andre Miller will still go down in history as a very consistent PG. Although the majority of his career was spent with the Nuggets, he was known for jumping around the league to different teams.

He led the league in assists with over 10 a game two years prior to putting a Nuggets jersey on.

Notable Nugget Accomplishments:

9th all time in assists (2978 with Nuggets)

  1. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (1990-1996)

Denver Stats (439 games): 16 ppg, 2.1 reb, 4 ast, and .9 stl

Mahmoud’s stats are slightly skewed, as he spent his first two seasons digging bench splinters from his shorts. Once he affirmed his location in the starting slot, his averages shot from 12 points per contest to 18 a game. He led the Nuggets in scoring through four seasons.

In an era where the Nuggets’ only other offensive threat was the defensive phenomenon that was Dikembe Mutombo, Abdul-Rauf had a green light to do as he pleased on the offensive end.

Rauf is above his 8, 9, and 10 counterparts because of his superior natural ability. He could score the ball in bunches, but was not renowned as a strong passer or dribbler, keeping him from climbing higher on the ladder. Despite never dunking in a game, Mahmoud participated in the Slam Dunk Contest in ’93. He was also known for his lethal free throw shooting ability.

Notable Nugget Accomplishments:

NBA Most Improved Player 1993

  1. Ty Lawson (2009-2015)

Apr 15, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson (3) dribbles the ball as Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (40) defends during the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Stats (416 games): 14.2 ppg, 2.9 reb, 6.6 ast, and 1.2 stl

The most recent Denver PG lacked maturity and leadership qualities. As the strongest player on the Nuggets roster post-Melo, he led the team in assists in points in each season. His stats are diminished by his first two seasons where he spent his time benched behind Chauncey Billups.

He sits atop his predecessors on this list because if any of them had switched roles/time periods, Lawson would have made more out of his situation than any of them (Especially Jones. If Lawson played in the ABA in the late 1960s, he would’ve been a first ballot Hall of Famer).

Notable Nugget Accomplishments:

Holds Nuggets’ single season assist record (720)

Check out page two for numbers 5-1.