Denver Nuggets A to Z: James Posey

Defensive specialist brought energy, effort to the court

by Demetrius Jacobs

In his three seasons at Xavier University, James Posey was a thief on the hardwood.

He later became a steal for the Denver Nuggets.

As part of a month-long tribute to the most memorable and notable players in franchise history, we are taking a look at the Denver Nuggets from A to Z.

P is for Posey.

Posey was the reigning Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year when the Nuggets selected him with the 18th overall pick of the 1999 NBA Draft. Despite spending only one year as a full-time starter, he finished third on Xavier’s career steals list, and his skills translated well to the NBA.

A 6-foot-8, 215-pound wing, Posey recorded 98 steals during his rookie season, a mark that still ranks fourth among Nuggets rookies. He also averaged 8.2 points and 3.9 rebounds to earn a spot on the 1999-2000 NBA All-Rookie Second Team.

Posey went on to play three-plus seasons with the Nuggets, averaging 9.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists before being sent to the Houston Rockets on Dec. 18, 2002, as part of a three-team trade involving the Philadelphia 76ers.

After playing for the Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies, Posey was involved in the largest trade in NBA history – a five team, 13-player deal that sent him to the Miami Heat on Aug. 2, 2005. He played a key role on Miami’s NBA title team in 2005-06.

Posey went on to win another championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008, and he also played for the New Orleans Hornets and Indiana Pacers before retiring in 2011.

While Posey’s career stat line was solid, it wasn’t what garnered people’s attention. He played for seven teams and averaged double-figures in scoring three times in 12 seasons. He was never an All-Star selection. But he was valuable because of his tough defense and consistent hustle. He was never shy about diving to the ground or flying out of bounds after a loose ball. When people talk about players who do the little things that “don’t show up on a stat sheet,” Posey was Exhibit A, B and C.

Posey is back in the NBA as an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He joined the Cavs after serving as an assistant coach with the Canton Charge of the NBA Development League. He helped coach the defensive-minded Charge to a 28-22 regular season record, good for second in the East Division and a playoff berth.

Game to remember, April 16, 2003

Posey was a one-man wrecking crew with 26 points, eight rebounds and five steals as the Nuggets beat the Houston Rockets 101-70 at Pepsi Center. Posey made 11 of 17 shots from the field and added four assists to help Denver win its sixth straight home game.