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Ranking the greatest Nets of all time

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

June 16th, 2021

The Brooklyn Nets have yet to win an NBA championship, but it certainly hasn't been because of a lack of talent. From their humble origins in the swamps of New Jersey to their present digs at the Barclays Center, the Nets have trotted out some of the most electrifying players in NBA history.

Join us now as we rank the top five players in franchise history. One quick note: This list only includes players who have spent at least one full season with the team. For that reason, James Harden (who was traded during the 2020-21 campaign) does not make our list. Get back to us in a few years, and it’s likely he’ll be ranked highly. For now, though, we just couldn’t justify his inclusion.

5. Drazen Petrovic

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15.4
2.3
2.4
0.9
0.1

Position: Shooting guard
Years active: 1990-1993
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 1x All-NBA

Petrovic was so ahead of his time. His career 3-point percentage north of nearly 43% shows how valuable he would have been in the current game, and Reggie Miller has gone on record as saying Petrovic is the best shooter he’s ever seen. That’s good enough for me, and I wish we would’ve seen more of him. Unfortunately, he passed away in a tragic car accident during what should’ve been the prime of his career.

4. Kyrie Irving

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22.8
3.8
5.7
1.3
0.4

Position: Point guard
Years active: 2012-present
Accolades: 7x All-Star, 2x All-NBA, Rookie of the Year, NBA champion

Irving arrived in Brooklyn prior to the 2019-20 season along with Kevin Durant (more on him in just a bit), and the duo pulling into town served as a shot in the arm for the franchise. This past season, he averaged nearly 27 points per game, and he’s emerged as one of the best all-around players in the league.

3. Kevin Durant

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27.0
7.1
5.6
1.1
1.1

Position: Small forward
Years active: 2008-present
Accolades: 11x All-Star, 9x All-NBA, 1x MVP, Rookie of the Year, 4x scoring champion, 2x NBA champion

Durant’s a really tough one. He’s an elite player, to be sure, and if he leads the Nets to a title this season, he may well assume the top spot on this list. However, I simply can’t put him higher than this spot given that he’s played just one season with the franchise. Get back to us in a few years, and chances are he’s considerably higher.

2. Jason Kidd

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12.6
6.3
8.7
1.9
0.3

Position: Point guard
Years active: 1995-2013
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 10x All-Star, 9x All-Defensive, 6x All-NBA, Rookie of the Year, 5x assist leader, 1x NBA champion

Kidd ran point for the Nets for most of the 2000’s, and he led the squad to appearances in the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. He led the NBA in assists during two of his seasons with the organization, and he still had meaningful basketball to play when he was traded to Dallas during the 2007-08 season. He was a key part of the Mavericks’ title-winning team in 2011 and was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2018.

1. Julius Erving

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24.2
8.5
4.2
2.0
1.7

Position: Small forward
Years active: 1972-1987
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 16x All-Star, 7x All-NBA, 5x All-ABA, 4x MVP, 1x NBA champion

For the most part, we’ve avoided putting players with short tenures on teams at or near the top of these lists. However, considering that Dr. J legitimately changed the game with his high-flying, above the rim style, there’s no other way we could have gone here.

Erving led the ABA in scoring in two of three years with the New York Nets, made All-Star teams in every season of his career, and was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1993.

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