Who would be on the list if the Nets could pick a roster of their greatest players all-time (1977-78 through 2018-19)? The Brooklyn (Formerly New Jersey) Nets have seen many talented players come through their team since their introduction into the league in 1976. With honorable mentions to Deron Williams and Julius Erving (excluded because he played in the American Basketball Association), this article includes the Nets suggested starting lineup and the seven other players that could suit up for games.
Point Guard: Jason Kidd
Starting at point guard with 10 NBA All-Star selections in his career, Jason Kidd is the clear choice to plug into the lineup. Kidd was a floor general who could control the tempo of the offense and contribute on the defensive end. He was a well-rounded point guard, as he could pass, rebound, and score. In his second year with the Nets, Kidd recorded 18.7 PPG on 41.4% shooting with 6.3 RPG and 8.9 APG. That year, Kidd led the New Jersey Nets to the finals for the 2nd straight year to lose against a talented and well-coached Spurs team. On the bench to replace Kidd would be Kenny Anderson, who averaged 18.8 PPG, 9.6 APG, and received an all-star selection for the 1993-94 season. Anderson could provide a burst of energy off the bench and contrast the steady, leveled approach of Jason Kidd.
Shooting Guard: Drazen Petrovic
At shooting guard, Drazen Petrovic gets the start for his elite scoring abilities. In 1993, Petrovic seemed like the future of the Nets, as he averaged 22.3 PPG on 51.8% shooting (44.9% on three-point field goals) during the 1992-93 season. He was also an excellent shooter from the foul line that season at a rate of 87%. Petrovic was a good defender who could compete against an opposing team with talent. The contributions of Petrovic led the Nets to the playoffs in 1992 and 1993. Tragically, his career was cut short when he died in a car accident at age 29. To replace Petrovic, Kerry Kittles can provide some perimeter shooting for the team. In his second year with the Nets, Kittles averaged 17.2 PPG on 44% shooting and 4.7 RPG. Despite dealing with some knee injuries, Kittles still managed to have seven productive years as a Net, including his contributions to the 2002 and 2003 NBA Finals teams.
Small Forward: Vince Carter
At small forward, Vince Carter is the starter for his scoring abilities. He was a 10-time All-Star from 1999 to 2007. Some basketball experts believe that Vince Carter could have been like Kobe Bryant if his work ethic improved. In his first year with the Nets, Carter averaged 27.5 PPG on 46.2% shooting with 5.9 RPG and 4.7 APG. He maintained a level of excellence during his time in New Jersey. For replacements, Bernard King and Richard Jefferson offer bench support. As a rookie, King averaged 24.2 PPG on 47.9% shooting and 9.2 RPG. King is considered a top small forward in Nets history. Richard Jefferson, who played in New Jersey for seven seasons, maintained a high level of play for the Nets. In his third season with the Nets (2007-08), Jefferson averaged 22.2 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 4.0 APG.
Power Forward: Derrick Coleman
At power forward, Derrick Coleman narrowly earns the starting spot over Buck Williams and Kenyon Martin. Coleman averaged 19.9 PPG and 10.6 RPG as a Net. He also received an All-Star selection during the 1993-94 season. Coleman was known for his strong post-moves and his rebounding abilities. At times, experts compared his ceiling to Charles Barkley and Karl Malone, but injuries derailed him from reaching that status. In New Jersey, Buck Williams played eight seasons, averaging 16.4 PPG and 11.9 RPG. Williams received three all-star selections as a Net, and he established himself as a premier power forward in the league. Kenyon Martin, who averaged 15.1 PPG and 7.6 RPG in four seasons with the Nets, would make the roster. Martin was a part of the Nets teams that reached the NBA finals, and he also was an All-Star during the 2003-04 season.
Center: Brook Lopez
At the center, Brook Lopez is the logical choice for the starting spot. The long-time Net has played with some good teams and some bad, but his consistent play on both sides of the ball make him the best center in franchise history. Lopez had a superior post-game combined with a deadly touch from midrange. When he was an All-Star in 2013, his averages that season were 19.4 points on 52.1% shooting, 6.9 RPG, and 2.1 BPG. For his career in New Jersey and Brooklyn, his stats are 18.6 PPG on 49.4% shooting, 6.4 RPG, and 1.8 BPG. To replace Lopez, my pick is Darryl Dawkins. Dawkins averaged 16.8 PPG on 59.3% shooting, 6.7 RPG, and 1.7 BPG during the 1983-84 season. Dawkins was also a part of the Nets 1982-83 playoff campaign, where the team went 49-33.
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