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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5. David Thompson

Thompson was an elite scorer and two-way force from the moment he joined the Nuggets in 1975. He was the first overall pick in the NBA draft but decided to play in the ABA. The 6'4 wing won Rookie of the Year, finished second in MVP voting, and led Denver to the ABA Finals in his first season. He was a four-time All-Star with the Nuggets, but his career quickly went downhill.

Thompson was one of the league’s best and highest-paid players, and his foot injury during the 1979-80 season sunk their season. Injuries began to catch up to him quickly, and his drug addiction was also a massive issue. Thompson was out of the league before his 30th birthday and was not the same player during his final three seasons, which should have been part of his prime.

As soon as his production dipped, the Nuggets traded Thompson to Seattle for Bill Hanzlik and a first-round draft pick in 1982. The 6’4 guard’s production dropped further with the SuperSonics, and it was the beginning of the end for Thompson in the NBA.

It is fair to wonder what could have been. The Hall of Famer may be mentioned among the greatest to ever play if not for his drug and injury problems. Thompson’s decisions forced the Nuggets' hand.