13 People who turned their backs on the Denver Nuggets

These former Nuggets did not leave on the best terms.
Denver Nuggets, Andre Iguodala
Denver Nuggets, Andre Iguodala / Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Dan Issel

Issel is arguably the franchise’s GOAT. He played a decade in Denver where he averaged 20.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steal in 31.4 minutes per game. The 6’9 big also had stints as the Nuggets' head coach, general manager, and president. He is synonymous with the franchise, but that did not stop things from breaking down.

Issel took over as the team’s head coach in 1992 with no experience. The Nuggets had won 44 games in the previous two seasons combined and needed a jolt. Dikembe Mutombo was a young All-Star big man, and Issel helped the team make two playoff appearances in three years.

He left for three years before returning to lead their front office. The Nuggets again reached a dry spell, but Issel was unable to pull them out of it. Things were improving. He made himself head coach and led the team to a 40-42 record in 2001 with some hope. Things quickly unraveled the following year, and Issel was caught using a racist insult at a fan. It ended his tenure and pushed Denver back toward the bottom of the standings.

Dan Issel is a Nuggets legend, but even he turned his back on the franchise. They did not get back to the playoffs until Carmelo Anthony arrived in 2004, and Issel deserves plenty of the blame.