Welcome to LWOS Basketball department “NBA Time Traveler Series,” the column that imagines which retired player from an NBA franchise one would most want to travel back in time to see them play again in their prime. The LWOS Basketball department will review each of the 30 NBA franchises and which retired player would be their “NBA Time Traveler Player.”
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LWOS TIME TRAVELER SERIES: DENVER NUGGET’S ALEX ENGLISH
When choosing which Denver Nuggets great I’d like to time travel to see play, there wasn’t the rich history and depth of great talent seen with teams like the Lakers and Celtics. That isn’t to say that the Nuggets haven’t had their fair share of outstanding NBA and ABA players throughout their history. Players like Dan Issel, Byron Beck, and David Thompson have had their jersey numbers retired by the Nuggets organization. For my money, the greatest player in Nuggets history, and the player whom I’d like most to see play in their prime is Alex English.
TIME TRAVEL TO SEE ALEX ENGLISH PLAY FOR THE DENVER NUGGETS AGAIN
Alex English played fifteen seasons in the NBA, ten-plus of which were for the Nuggets, after being traded to Denver by Indiana partway through the 1979-80 season. The trade to Denver unleashed a newfound scoring prowess in English, who went on to average more than 20 points per game in all but one of his seasons in Denver. Part of English’s scoring outburst had to do with the high pace of the Nuggets’ offense at the time, but English was an elite NBA scorer, and led the NBA in scoring in 1983, and was the first NBA player to score 2,000 points in eight straight seasons.
ALEX ENGLISH’S INDIVIDUAL ACCOLADES
In his second full season in a Nuggets uniform, English made the All-Star team, and would make the West team for eight consecutive seasons and garner three All-NBA Second Team selections. During his Nuggets career, English averaged just under 26 points per game to go along with 5.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists. His 21,645 points scored as a Nugget are the most in the franchise’s history, and his 25,613 total points are good for 17th all-time. Although English didn’t experience much team success with Denver aside from one Conference Finals appearance due to the showtime Lakers, English was one of the best players throughout the 1980’s in the NBA. English was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.
ALEX ENGLISH’S TEAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Alex English doesn’t get mentioned in the same category as other great players from his era like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Julius Erving, or Michael Jordan, but he was among the best players in the NBA for a decade, and is a deserving Hall of Famer. An elite scorer at the small forward position, English would be someone that today’s Nuggets would love to have, and the player from their franchise’s history that I would love to go back in time to see play.
A GAME THAT ONE MIGHT WANT TO TRAVEL BACK INTO TIME TO SEE ENGLISH PLAY:
If there was one game I’d like to go back to see English play, it would be the game when he scored his career high 54 points against the Houston Rockets on November 19, 1985. English scored 54 points in a Nuggets win over the Rockets. That game featured English at the top of his game along with a young Hakeem Olajuwon and fellow Basketball Hall of Famer Ralph Sampson.