When someone thinks of ’80s basketball, they think of Larry Bird. They think Magic Johnson. Dominique. An older Kareem. Maybe even Adrian Dantley. But somehow, one name that everyone should be talking about has managed to be forgotten.
Drafted in the late 2nd round of the 1976 draft, some people don’t even know who he is, and even if you do, good chance you have no idea the dominance he had on the game. English is one of, if not the best scorers of the ’80s and even all time.
He rounds out the top 20 all-time scorers at 25,613 points, with the only players that can catch up to that anytime soon being James Harden and Kevin Durant.
What made Alex English so good was his ability to score. He had smooth footwork and a high release that no one could block, and he was able to achieve 8 straight 2,000 point seasons, a feat no other player in NBA history has ever achieved.
English was never the most athletic or quickest player on the court. He wasn’t a great ball-handler and wasn’t a superb passer, but he had all the fundamentals and one of the best basketball IQs in the league.
He understood how he could use his body and skillset to dominate. His highlight reels won’t show him blowing by his guy and dunking, but you’ll see him shooting right over his defender and using small, but effective movements to get around them.
Reggie Miller, one of the league’s best three-point shooters ever, played almost 10,000 minutes and 2,000 games more than English and is still behind him in all-time scoring. Not to mention, English did all his scoring without a three-point shot.
Of his 25,613 points, just 54 of them came off of three-pointers. That’s right, throughout Alex English’s 15-year career, he only hit 18 three-pointers.
The majority of his points came off of his mid-range shot. He wasn’t the tallest forward at the time, but he used his long arms to shoot over the defense and he utilized a lot of pump fakes to find open driving lanes.
If all that doesn’t show how dominant an offensive player he was, I don’t know what will. His game was so unbelievably predictable, yet he still averaged over 25 points a game each year during his 8 straight seasons of 2,000 points. I’m not saying he should be the face of ’80s basketball, I’m just saying this man should get so much more attention.
No one scored more points than him during the ’80s decade. Scoring over 21,000 points during that time span, the next highest scorer barely comes close at almost 2,000 points less.
I think a huge reason why he’s such a forgotten name is that he never won a championship. There was the Hakeem and Sampson Rockets team, George Gervin led Spurs teams, and the Magic, Kareem, and James Worthy Lakers teams to get through. As a result, English’s Nuggets never found much playoff success.
This was also because Alex English and his Nuggets teams were historically awful at defense.
Alex English also was one of the least flashy players in the league. With the Showtime Lakers and the rivalry they had with Bird’s Celtics, there wasn’t much attention given to English and the Denver Nuggets.
But at the end of the day, Alex English is one of the most dominant offensive players to ever step foot on the NBA floor and deserves way more recognition. His name can’t be forgotten anymore when anyone talks about ’80s basketball.
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