Taken with 11th pick of the 1982 NBA Draft, by the Portland Trail Blazers, Fat Lever made a fairly solid start to his NBA career averaging 7.8 points and 5.3 assists a game in his Rookie season. His career would take a massive turn though, when he was traded to the Denver Nuggets in 1984.
In Denver, Lever would cement himself as one of the Nuggets greatest all time players. Lever would earn himself the nickname from his teammates as the ‘Triple Double Waiting To Happen’ and he sure lived up to that nickname, in fact he exceeded the nickname by earning himself 43 career triple doubles. He had many great years playing for the Nuggets but his stretch from 1986-1990 was his most impressive. The stats in those years were the following:
1987 he averaged 18.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 2.5 steals.
1988 he averaged 18.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 2.7 steals.
1989 he averaged 19.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 2.7 steals.
1990 he averaged 18.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.1 steals.
That will go down as some of the greatest stats any point guard has put up over a stretch of 4 seasons. Fat Lever was a true icon of the game and in many ways is underrated for what he did in his time in the NBA.
Drafted with the 5th pick of the 1992 NBA Draft, by the Denver Nuggets. LaPhonso Ellis had a solid Rookie season averaging 14.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, which earned him a spot on the 1992–93 All-Rookie first team. His stocks would rise as in his second season he put up impressive numbers of 15.4 points and 8.6 rebounds. It appeared that the Nuggets had found a player who they could build a team around for the future.
Cruelly in his 3rd season Ellis was struck down with injury and only managed 6 games. He would play a total of 6 seasons at the Denver Nuggets, with his most impressive season coming in 96-97 averaging 21.9 points and 7 rebounds a game. Ellis certainly made some shock waves at Denver, forming a good combination with Dikembe Mutombo, that helped the Nuggets experience some playoff success.
Ellis would be traded to the Atlanta Hawks for the 1999 NBA season. His first year there his stats dropped considerably, scoring 10.2 points and 5.5 rebounds a game. Unfortunately Ellis could never rediscover the form that had him touted as an exciting prospect in his early years at the Denver Nuggets. His last few seasons saw him play for the Timberwolves and Heat before he retired in 2003. Ellis finished with career stats of 11.9 points and 6.5 rebounds a game. The career of LaPhonso Ellis certainly had some great early years in Denver, I remember his hype as he entered the league, he even found himself on the classic arcade game ‘NBA Jam’ as a player option along side Mutombo. Ultimately perhaps injuries contributed to his career falling away, but either way Ellis had some good solid years in the NBA.
Ellis wore the numbers #20 and #3 during his career.