Denver Nuggets A to Z: Marcus Camby

Veteran center was a defensive force in the paint from 2002-08
by Aaron Lopez

When Marcus Camby was traded from New York to Denver in 2002, he had mixed feelings about joining the Nuggets.

It didn’t take long for him to embrace Denver as an attractive place to thrive in the paint.

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

Camby, a 6-foot-11 center, gets the nod to represent the letter C. In six seasons with the Nuggets, he averaged 11.1 rebounds and 3.03 blocked shots. Both marks are second only to Dikembe Mutombo (12.3 rpg, 3.81 bpg) in the franchise’s NBA history.

With the Nuggets in the midst of a seven-year playoff drought, Camby was acquired in a draft-night trade with the Knicks on June 26, 2002. His first season in Denver was limited by hip and ankle injuries, but he returned to health in 2003-04 to help the Nuggets reach the postseason for the first time since 1995.

From 2004-07, Camby averaged a double-double each season, and he was named the 2006-07 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award after averaging 11.2 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in 70 games. He also was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 2007 and 2008; he was a second-team selection in 2005 and 2006.

Camby remains second on Denver’s career list in blocks (1,126) and his 13.1 rebounding averaging in 2007-08 is unmatched in Nuggets history. He also posted five 20-point, 20-rebound performances, which is the most by any Nuggets player past or present.

In addition to being a force in the paint, Camby was a leader in the Denver community. He treated underprivileged children to a Cambyland Christmas shopping spree every year, and he created a scholarship program for high school students who served as mentors to elementary school students.

Game to Remember, Jan. 5, 2005

Earl Boykins was the story in overtime, but Camby was the man who made the extra period possible. Camby tipped in DerMarr Johnson’s missed layup with one second left in regulation, and he finished with 25 points and 24 rebounds to help Denver hold off the Seattle SuperSonics 116-110. Boykins set a then-NBA record with 15 points in the OT.