Some of the greatest power forwards of all time co-existed in the NBA. Guys like Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, and Chris Webber clashed with each other on the court season after season, and they became the best in their position in the process. However, somewhere on the borderline between top-tier and second-tier power forwards was where you’ll find former Denver Nuggets star Antonio McDyess.
Dice flexed on prime Malone
Though he only made the All-Star once in his career, McDyess was undeniably a talented player. Without a doubt, if the NBA wasn’t stacked with world-class fours during his time, “Dice” would’ve been one of the best power forwards of his era. Nevertheless, McDyess still managed to propel.
In fact, in a regular season matchup with then-Utah Jazz superstar Karl Malone on March 11, 1999, McDyess put on a remarkable performance. After 44 minutes of action, “Dice” tallied 39 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter, 11 rebounds, and a block. Even worth noting, McDyess limited Malone to 9/21 field goals on just 42% shooting.
Unfortunately, McDyess couldn’t lift the Nuggets to victory as the Jazz thumped Denver 94-89. However, he earned a compliment from “The Mailman.”
“He was a great pickup for Denver,” Malone said after the game via Sports Illustrated’s Vault. “The Nuggets ought to be thankful they got him.”
A Denver legend in the making
As it turned out, Malone was right. McDyess was a unique gem that the Nuggets were fortunate to have found. And just like what “The Mailman” said, the Nuggets organization was thankful for having signed McDyess.
“He’s refreshing,” former Nuggets coach Mike D’Antoni said of McDyess. “You don’t often find a kid who isn’t embarrassed to be nice and sensitive but who is also becoming one of the best players in the league.”
Then-Nuggets general manager Dan Issel added McDyess had all the tools, saying that “talentwise and as a physical specimen, [McDyess] he’s up there with anyone.”
The 1998-99 season was McDyess’ most productive run with the Nuggets as far as individual stats go. Despite playing only 50 games, “Dice” averaged 21.2 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. He went on and played the next two seasons, racking up identical numbers. However, a knee injury in 2001 derailed “Dice,” and he sat out the whole 2002-03 season. When McDyess returned the following year, McDyess was no longer the All-Star player he was.
In retrospect, those who knew McDyess would probably say he was a notable player. But for the Nuggets faithful, “Dice” will always be a Denver legend.