Videos: Top five trades in Denver Nuggets history
Number 1: February 1, 1980. Denver trades George McGinnis to the Indiana Pacers for Alex English.
Any time your team is a part of another team's "worst trade in team history" footnotes, you probably made a good move. George McGinnis was, at one point in his career, a prolific, unstoppable scorer. By the time he was on the Nuggets, he was still averaging 22 points and eleven boards, but he was clearly on the downside of his career. Alex English was a good-but-not-great player for the Pacers who showed considerable promise during the 1979-80 season, so when the opportunity to acquire McGinnis arose, the trade seemed like a win-win for both teams: The Nuggets got rid of an aging superstar for a talented, young scorer.
Neither team knew how good English was going to be. And as he proceeded to tear up the league (he led the NBA in scoring during the 1982-83 season with 28.4 points per game and made eight consecutive all-star games) for the next nine years, it became clear the Pacers had made a huge mistake. During those nine seasons, English's scoring average never dropped below 24 points per game, and in the 1984-85 season, the Nuggets ran out to a 52-30 record and an appearance in the Western Conference Finals, losing in five games to the absolutely stacked Lakers (who went on to beat the Celtics 4-2 to win the championship). During that run to the WCF, English was unstoppable, averaging 30.2 points, 6.6 boards and 4.5 assists per game. The team made the playoffs every year during English's career except the 1980-81 season. Who knows if English would have blossomed into the same dynamic talent with the Pacers. But as one of the greatest scorers of all time (he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997), it's clear that the Nuggets' decision to give up McGinnis resulted in the best trade in their post-merger history.
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