MINNEAPOLIS - FEBRUARY 12: Robert Pack #14 of the Denver Nuggets attempts a reverse slam dunk during the 1994 Slam Dunk Contest at the Target Center on February 12, 1994 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Nuggets of the 90s: Robert Pack

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider
@chrisadempsey

The athletic 6-foot-4 and under point guard is more commonplace than ever in the NBA. From Russell Westbrook trying to rip down the rim on dunks, to the new-school eye-popping athleticism of Dallas’ point guard, Dennis Smith Jr., jumping ability knows no height.

Robert Pack, however, was doing it when it was truly a feat.

Listed at 6-foot-2, Pack loved nothing more than to drive down the lane and throw down a thunderous dunk on an unsuspecting defense. And he did. Often. That aggressiveness and ferocity at the rim became his calling card.

In his 13-year career, Pack played the most games – and seasons – for the Nuggets. He played four seasons in two different stints in Denver and 259 games total averaging 9.4 points and 4.9 assists mostly as a top reserve for some successful Nuggets teams, including the 1993-94 season that featured the huge first-round playoff upset of the powerful Seattle SuperSonics.

“We weren’t scared of them,” Pack said. “They had more experience than us, but we weren’t scared of them. So, going into that series, lose the first two games the way we did, most young teams would have been, like, devastated. They would have been one more game and out. But we went back home with a lot of confidence, knew our crowd, knew the way McNichols (Arena) got behind us, and we fed off that energy, we played well.”

Part of the Nuggets playing well was Pack playing well. In fact, it was Pack who led the team with 23 points in the series-clinching victory in Game 5 in Seattle. When the Nuggets pushed Utah to seven games in the second round, Pack continued his clutch play in playoff road games with 19 points, seven assists, six steals and four rebounds in a Nuggets’ win in Game 5 in Utah.

And so it was with Pack. He changed the pace with speed and power at point guard off the bench. Originally signed by Portland in 1991 after going undrafted out of the University of Southern California and traded to the Nuggets a year later, Pack’s best season in Denver was an injury-shortened campaign in 1994-95, when he started and averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 assists and 1.5 steals but played in 42 games.

After his playing career, Pack got into coaching, most recently with the New Orleans Pelicans until 2017.

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