BOSTON - 1989: Michael Adams #14 of the Denver Nuggets drives the ball up court against Dennis Johnson #3 of the Boston Celtics during a game played in 1989 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images

We Love the (Nuggets) 80s: Michael Adams

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider

In their history, the Nuggets have this handful players under 6-feet tall that immediately skyrocketed to become fan favorites – and the 5-foot-10 Michael Adams may just be at the top of the list. He was, very simply, fun to watch.

And he was in constant motion.

He checked in just under the bell in the decade with the Nuggets, playing three of his four seasons with the team in the late 1980s – and the Hartford, Conn., native lit it up for Doug Moe with one of the most unique shots in the league’s history.

It was a push shot. The attempt started low, and his left hand came off the ball early. By the time he was following through, it looked like the ball was being pushed toward the rim. And it was accurate: Adams set an NBA record at the time for consecutive games made with at least one 3-pointer at 78, from Jan. 28, 1988 to Jan. 23, 1989.

And in that respect, his 3-point shooting, Adams was light years ahead of his time.

He still tops the Nuggets all-time charts in 3-pointers attempted with 6.1 per game, and from an era where the 3-point shot was used sparingly at best. He’s tied for first in 3-pointers made per game in Nuggets’ history with 2.1.

Adams was lightning-quick, had great vision and was a high-level decision-maker. He’s fifth in team history in total assists (2,181), eighth in steals (602), second in total 3-pointers made (630), second in total 3-pointers attempted (1,841) and is eighth in free throw percentage (85.3 percent).

Adams started 75 games for the 1987-88 Nuggets, which won 54 games – a franchise record at the time – and advanced to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. Paired in the backcourt with Fat Lever, who had his number retired by the Nuggets this season, the duo made the Nuggets fast and difficult to stop.


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