Top 50 Brooklyn Nets

The formation of the Brooklyn Nets began in 1967 as the New York Americans, a charter member of the American Basketball Association and it was an ugly beginning.  The team bounced around in different venues in the New York and New Jersey area and they did not find a lot of wins, but they toughed it out and survived the early years; something that not every team in the ABA was able to do.  After a few years of suffering and a name change to the Nets, they acquired Julius Erving from the Virginia Squires before the 1973-74 Season.  The Squires were hard-up and needed the cash back from that deal, but it was the just the tonic that the Nets needed to turn everything around.

“Dr. J” was named the ABA MVP in his first season in New York, and he would repeat that again in the next two seasons.  As you would imagine, this led to the Nets winning the ABA Championship in 1974 and 1976 and with Erving as their Center and best player, they were expected to have success when they merged with the NBA.

Or so they thought.

The NBA subjected them to an unexpected $4.8 million dollar penalty for invading the New York Knicks “territory”.  This decimated their payroll and they were no longer able to pay Erving what they promised him, leading to Erving refusing to report.  The domino effect resulted in Erving being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for cash, and the Nets were awful for years.

The Nets moved officially to state of New Jersey for the 1977-78 campaign and they were now the New Jersey Nets and for the next twenty seasons they were average at best.  The acquisition of Jason Kidd made them a contender and they would make the NBA Finals for the first time in 2002, and appear again in 2003, but would lose on both occasions.  They would make the playoffs the next four seasons but would then falter.  In 2013, under new owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, they went all in trading for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce but they gave up too many picks and Garnett and Pierce were far too old to make a difference.

Prior to that trade, they moved back to New York, specifically Brooklyn and have been challenging the Knicks for ownership of the market.  After hitting rock bottom, they are a team on the rise as of this writing, especially with their new acquisitions of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden.


This list is up to the end of the 2020-21 regular season.

Note: Basketball lists are based on an amalgamation of tenure, traditional statistics, advanced statistics, playoff statistics, and post-season accolades.

From Princeton of the Ivy League Brian Taylor would become the starting Point Guard for the New York Nets where he would dazzle fans on the way to winning the American Basketball Association Rookie of the Year Award.
In terms of overall talent, few could match Rick Barry.  Actually, the same could also be said about overall bad temperament as there were few who were as surly as the Basketball Hall of Famer.
Nicknamed “The Hammer”, Armen Gilliam signed with the Nets before the 1993/94 Season where he would be an efficient bench player over the next two seasons.  Gilliam was used in every single game in his first two years in New Jersey where he had a PER over 18.  He was moved to the starting rotation in what would be his third and final season where he would post 18.3 Points and 9.1 Rebounds per Game…
If this list was about popularity and excitement than “Chocolate Thunder” would have been at the top.  Prior to his arrival to the Nets, Dawkins made a name for himself with his glass shattering dunks and people legitimately paid for tickets with the hope of seeing the big man cause a mess around the paint. 
Jayson Williams rode the pine in his first two seasons in the NBA as a Philadelphia 76er and not much changed in his first three years in New Jersey where he averaged under 14 Minutes per Game.  Something changed in 1995/96 where he had an 80 Game season with 23.3 Minutes per Game yet had an even 10 Rebounds per Game, which was astounding considering he didn’t even average half of the game!
Both the Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey Nets were looking to shake things up and they engineered a major trade during the 2007/08 season that essentially swapped Point Guards; Devin Harris for Jason Kidd.  In his first full season with the Nets it looked like the Nets got the better end of the deal as he was named to the All-Star Game and he had career highs in Points per Game (21.3) and PER (21.6)…
Joe Harris was arguably a bust in his first two years in Cleveland, who traded him to Orlando.  The Magic immediately waived him, but the Nets thought he would worthy of a look, and signed him in 2018. Harris had more playing time on the Nets, who were not nearly as competitive as the Cavs.  Harris started 11 (of 52) Games in his first year as a Net, and he played a little more the year after.  His…
Darwin Cook was drafted by the Detroit Pistons but was unable to crack the roster.  The Nets took a chance on him and he was able to make the team and he would average over 11 Points per Game in his first three seasons.  Cook was not special in terms of scoring but he was very adept defensively.  He would finish in the top ten in Steals per Game three times as a Net peaking…
Prior to his arrival to New Jersey Otis Birdsong went to three All-Star Games for the Kansas City Kings, which means that a lot of people may not have noticed!  Birdsong was traded to the Nets where he was often injured but played there for seven years.  When he was playing Birdsong was able to show off his strong shooting skills and he had a 20.6 Point per Game season in 1984-85 but the year…
John Williamson allegedly dubbed himself “Super John” and often that is exactly what he was!  He was drafted in the 6th Round by the Atlanta Hawks but after failing to make the roster he signed with the New York Nets of the ABA and saw a lot of playing time as a rookie.  The Shooting Guard would become a starter as a rookie while assisting the Nets win the 1974 ABA Title.  Williamson played a…
Levern Tart was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1964 but he was unable to crack the roster and he toiled in semi-pro leagues until an opportunity arose with the Oakland Oaks of the American Basketball Association.  Tart found a home in the ABA and he was named an All Star in 1969 and was traded nine days later to New Jersey.  Tart did not receive as much playing time for the Nets and was…
Drazen Petrovic was considered one of the best European players ever and he lit up the Euro League for years.  When he signed with the Portland Trail Blazers, Petrovic’s skills had not yet translated into the NBA game but a mid-season trade in 1991/92 and he saw his minutes increase.  He would become a starter the next year where he would be the Nets’ starting Shooting Guard.  He would average 20.6 Points and 22.3 Points…
Bernard King was drafted 7th Overall in 1977 and the former Tennessee Volunteer had one of the best rookie seasons in franchise history as he averaged 24.2 Points per Game and finished 10th overall.  King would finish second to Walter Davis in Rookie of the Year honors.  He would play one more year in New Jersey where he averaged 21.6 Points per Game.
Lucious Harris played 456 Games for the New Jersey Nets beginning with the depths of the awful teams of the late 90’s to the finalists of the early 00’s.  The Guard wasn’t a starter very often as he opened less than 25 percent of his games with the team but what he did do in 100 percent of his games was knowing his role perfectly.  Harris wasn’t a star and was selfless, choosing to pick…
Albert King was drafted 10th overall in 1981 from the University of Maryland and he would become the team’s starting Small Forward for most of the next six seasons.  While King was there, the Nets made the playoffs five times and in his first five years in the NBA he averaged at least 12 Points per Game.  His best season was in 1982/83 where he had career highs in Points (17.0), Rebounds (5.8), and Assists…
Jason Collins did not do a lot of the things that would get you noticed in a box score.  Playing over 500 Games with the Nets, Collins would only average 4.3 Points and 4.4 Rebounds per Game but what he did do incredibly well was screen, defend the post and was praised for his leadership and high basketball I.Q.  Collins played with New Jersey from the 2001/02 season when he arrived as a draft day…
Kyrie Irving told the people of Boston that he would be there for years.  That was technically true, as it was only two.  Irving joined the Brooklyn Nets as a Free Agent in 2019, and he would be joined by Kevin Durant, who would be unable to play due to injury. Injuries were also a factor for Irving, who only played 20 Games in his first Brooklyn season due to season-ending shoulder surgery.  He was far healthier in…
Yes, Sam Bowie is the answer to the question, “What player did the Portland Trail Blazers foolishly draft ahead of Michael Jordan” and there are many lists we can make around this, but for now, let’s focus on what Bowie did as a Net.
The ranking of Joe Johnson was a struggle for us as prior to his arrival to the Nets he was a six-time All-Star with the Atlanta Hawks.  The Nets gave a lot to get the Shooting Guard but it may not have panned out overall.  That being said, as a Brooklyn Net he was named to his seventh and final All-Star Game in 2014 and averaged 14.7 Points per Game overall as a Net, which…
Larry Kenon was drafted by the Memphis Tams of the American Basketball Association but was traded to the Nets where he was named an ABA All-Star in his rookie season making an imposing frontcourt with “Dr. J”, Julius Erving.  “Mr. K” (or “Special K”) helped New York win the ABA Championship in 1974 and he averaged a double-double with 15.9 Points and 11.9 Rebounds per Game.  Kenon would again put up similar numbers in his…