3. David Thompson
Thompson was a college basketball superstar that led NC State to the NCAA championship in 1974. In 1975, he was the number one pick in both the ABA and NBA drafts before choosing to sign with the Nuggets. Thompson was an ABA All-Star in 1976 where he won All-Star Game MVP and helped the Nuggets to the ABA Finals.
He stayed with the Nuggets after the merger where he made three straight All-Star appearances. Thompson was an elite scorer, who led the team to the conference finals in 1978. The 6’4 wing struggled with drug addiction that began after a foot injury in the 1979-1980 season. He impacted his play over his final three seasons in Denver before Thompson was traded to Seattle in 1982.
Thompson’s scoring dropped off during his final season with the Nuggets, but it bounced back a bit with the SuperSonics as he made his fifth All-Star appearance. The future Hall of Famer checked into rehab after that opening season in Seattle, and he played just one more year in the NBA before a knee injury forced him into retirement.
Still, the all-time great Nugget had one All-Star season left in him when the franchise gave up on him. David Thompson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996, and it was a shame that his career was cut short by injuries and off-the-court issues.