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Top Ten New Jersey Nets of All-Time

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Training camp might almost be upon us, but we’re still living in the past at The Hoops Manifesto.  We’ve gathered together a stellar collection of Bloguin basketball writers to determine the top ten players all-time for each of the 30 NBA franchises.  Next up: the New Jersey Nets (nee New Jersey Americans, New York Nets).

 

Voting panel: Jeff Fox from The Hoops Manifesto, Don from With Malice, Philip from Orlando Magic Daily and Diego from Leaving It All On The Court.

 

10) John Williamson – New York/New Jersey Nets – 1973 – 1977, 1978 – 1980

Nets accomplishments:

- jersey number (23) retired by the Nets
- member of two Nets ABA championship teams
- ABA All-Rookie Team

“Very few players can have their careers summed up in one game. In Game 6 of the 1976 Finals, Williamson scored 16 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, willing the Nets to win after a 22-point deficit. The Nets won the ABA championships largely due to Williamson.” – Diego Quezada  

9) Bill Melchionni – New York Nets – 1969 – 1976

Nets accomplishments:

- jersey number (25) retired by the Nets
- member of two Nets ABA championship teams
- third all-time in assists in the ABA
- second all-time in assists per game in the ABA
- ABA leader in assists in 1970/71 & 1971/72
- ABA leader in assists per game in 1970/71 & 1971/72
- three-time ABA All-Star
- one-time All-ABA Team

“It’s a shame that so many players from the ABA have been forgotten nowadays, such as Bill Melchionni, who, as his resume above shows, was one of the ABA’s best guards.” – Jeff Fox

8) Brian Taylor – New York Nets – 1972 – 1976

Nets accomplishments:

- member of two Nets ABA championship teams
- eighth all-time in steals in the ABA
- ABA leader in three-point % in 1975/76
- ABA leader in steals in 1974/75
- ABA leader in steals per game in 1974/75
- two-time ABA All-Star
- ABA Rookie of the Year
- ABA All-Rookie Team selection
- one-time All-ABA selection
- two-time ABA All-Defensive Team selection

“See Melchionni, Brian.” – Jeff Fox

7) Drazen Petrovic – New Jersey Nets – 1991 – 1993

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Nets accomplishments:

- basketball Hall of Fame
- jersey number (3) retired by the Nets
- fourth all-time in three-point % in the NBA
- one-time All-NBA selection

“Dražen Petrović’s career was sadly cut short on June 7th, 1993 – but at that time he was beginning to establish himself as one of the best pure shooters in the league.  He was hitting 51.8% from the field and hitting 45% of his 3-point attempts.  The impact he had on the influx of foreign players to the NBA is undeniable.” – Don

“If he had lived to see his 30s, there’s no doubt Drazen Petrovic would find his name much higher up on this list.” – Jeff Fox

6) Derrick Coleman – New Jersey Nets – 1990 – 1995

Nets accomplishments:

- NBA Rookie of the Year
- one-time NBA All-Star
- NBA All-Rookie Team selection
- two-time All-NBA selection

“Coleman was a bucket-full of talent that never really seemed to piece it all together. He was a dynamic scorer and was the face of the team throughout the 1990s. Coleman was one of the first players to really take advantage of being a tweener, possessing the skills of a wing player but also that of the power forward. Ultimately Coleman could not sustain his dominance and the banging of the taller, stronger players caught up with him. But that was after New Jersey got a good run from him.” – Philip

5) Vince Carter – New Jersey Nets – 2004 – 2009

Nets accomplishments:

- NBA leader in games played in 2006/07
- three-time NBA All-Star

“Carter never really delivered for the Nets quite the way they thought he would. He did not help New Jersey return to the NBA Finals nor really get out of the first round. Ultimately his high usage percentage conflicted with Jason Kidd’s need to get everyone involved. When Kidd was shipped off, it was Carter’s team and he put up some memorable performances and showed a bit of the flash he had in his Toronto days. Despite being such a great player for New Jersey (and still beloved by the team’s fans), you have to think Carter’s time in New Jersey was a bit of a disappointment.” – Philip

4) Rick Barry – New York Nets – 1970 – 1972

Nets accomplishments:

- basketball Hall of Fame
- first all-time in free throw % in the ABA
- second all-time in minutes per game in the ABA
- first all-time in points per game in the ABA
- ABA leader in free throws made in 1971/72
- ABA leader in minutes per game in 1971/72
- two-time ABA All-Star
- two-time All-ABA selection

“The ABA scoring leader from 1970-72, Rick Barry helped propel the New York Nets to respectability before Dr. J arrived. His leadership and sweet shooting stroke even led the Nets to the ABA Finals in 1974.” – Diego Quezada 

“Rick Barry only played at the Nets for two years, but he averaged 30.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in those two years – two of his best.” – Don

3) Buck Williams – New Jersey Nets – 1981 – 1989

Nets accomplishments:

- jersey number (52) retired by the Nets
- Nets all-time leader in games, minutes, field goals (made & attempted), free throws (made & attempted), rebounds (offensive, defensive & total) & points
- tenth all-time in games played in the NBA
- third all-time in offensive rebounds in the NBA
- tenth all-time in defensive rebounds in the NBA
- NBA leader in games played in 1984/85 & 1986/87
- NBA leader in minutes played in 1984/85
- NBA leader in offensive rebounds in 1983/84
- three-time NBA All-Star
- NBA Rookie of the Year
- NBA All-Rookie Team selection
- one-time All-NBA
- one-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection

“Standing 6-foot-8 and sporting his trademark goggles, Williams was one of the best power forwards of the ’80s. His play payed off too; the Nets went to the second round of the playoffs in 1984, the farthest since the Nets’ ABA days, and a record that would not be broken until the Nets’ 2002 Finals team.” – Diego Quezada 

“Williams is still the Nets all-time leading scorer and one of the few jerseys hanging in the Iz… Prudential Center rafters. Williams was a bit of a journeyman, but had a better career than people of the 1990s basketball generation (namely, my generation) give him credit for. He was on three all-star teams and did not average fewer than 15.0 points per game until his final year in New Jersey in 1989.” – Philip

2) Jason Kidd – New Jersey Nets – 2001 – 2008

Nets accomplishments:

- Nets all-time leader in three-pointers (made & attempted), assists & steals
- fifth all-time in three-pointers made in the NBA
- third all-time in three-pointers attempted in the NBA
- second all-time in assists in the NBA
- fourth all-time in steals in the NBA
- sixth all-time in assists per game in the NBA
- NBA leader in assists in 2002/03
- NBA leader in steals in 2001/02
- NBA leader in assists per game in 2002/03 & 2003/04
- five-time NBA All-Star
- six-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection
- three-time All-NBA selection

“Criticize Kidd about his lack of jump-shooting skills, but he is one of the best point guards to come around in recent memory. Mr. Triple Double could find teammates anywhere, score at will and play tenacious defense. I’d even take an in-his-prime Kidd over an in-his-prime Steve Nash.” – Diego Quezada

“The Nets have been to the (NBA) Finals twice in franchise history and that rise can be directly traced to Kidd’s arrival in East Rutherford. Kidd is the type of player who makes players around him better and covers up his mistakes by being so good at everything else. It was clear at the beginning of many seasons that the Nets would dominate the Leastern Conference of the early 2000s. and his triple-doubles and playmaking ability led New Jersey to a near upset of the Spurs in 2003.” – Philip

“Can anyone still playing today rack up a triple-double like Jason Kidd could?  A phenomenal talent, J-Kidd had the rare ability to raise the level of those around him, and make the team he was on more than simply a sum of it’s parts.  His presence on the Nets turned them from mediocre to a title contender.” – Don

1) Julius Erving – New York Nets – 1973 – 1976

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Nets accomplishments:

- basketball Hall of Fame
- jersey number (32) retired by the Nets
- member of two Nets ABA championship teams
- sixth all-time in field goals made in the ABA
- eighth all-time in field goals attempted in the ABA
- tenth all-time in free throws (made & attempted) in the ABA
- tenth all-time in offensive rebounds in the ABA
- ninth all-time in defensive rebounds in the ABA
- second all-time in steals in the ABA
- fourth all-time in blocks in the ABA
- fifth all-time in points in the ABA
- third all-time in minutes per game in the ABA
- second all-time in points per game in the ABA
- sixth all-time in rebounds per game in the ABA
- tenth all-time in assists per game in the ABA
- third all-time in steals per game in the ABA
- fourth all-time in blocks per game in the ABA
- ABA leader in games played in 1974/75
- ABA leader in field goals made in 1973/74, 1974/75 & 1975/76
- ABA leader in field goals attempted in 1973/74 & 1975/76
- ABA leader in points in 1973/74 & 1975/76
- ABA leader in points per game in 1973/74 & 1975/76
- three-time ABA All-Star
- two-time ABA Playoffs MVP
- three-time ABA MVP
- three-time All-ABA selection
- one-time ABA All-Defensive Team selection

“When Julius Peppers is named after you and you influence Dr. Dre’s stage name, you’re pretty darn good.” – Diego Quezada

“Dr. J revolutionized how the game was played. He officially transitioned the NBA to an above-the-rim game and his influence can still be seen stamped all over today’s game.” – Philip

“It’s amazing to have Dr J here, as he only played for the then New York Nets for three years… however, those three were amongst his best ever, and he lead the Nets to two ABA titles – winning three MVP trophies along the way.  One of the first players to truly play above the rim in the way we know today, Dr. J was one of the best practitioners of what Chick Hearn called “the slam dunk”.  Julius Erving stands out as one of the best of all-time, and his best years?  As a Net.” – Don

Previous franchises done: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, Clippers, Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota.

About Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox is Mr. Manifesto - the Supreme Leader and evil mind behind The Hoops Manifesto & The MMA Manifesto

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