As we get closer to this year NBA Draft, Brooklyn Nets fans may be reminded of some great draft moments, which Nets Wire will be ranking in this edition.
The Nets have picked many talented athletes over the years with a wide variety of accolades, but today we’ll be looking at the top five draft picks in the franchise’s history.
The Nets joined the NBA following the ABA-NBA Merger back in 1976, before this year the team had not drafted a single player only twice (1998 & 2014) in their 40-plus seasons. The organization does not have any picks in the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft, making the purs pursuit of a rookie more challenging.
In the 2021-22 season, the Nets ranked ninth in the NBA in points per contest with 112, meaning a talented young scorer could elevate the expectations expectations. The Nets do not necessarily need to upgrade their offense though, it’s their defense that needs work.
The Nets ranked 18th and 19th in the league in defensive rating and points allowed, respectively, proving that the organization has one major flaw.
As the organization goes into the 2022 draft, one can assume they’ll look into available trade picks via trade, but if not there’s a possibility their problems can be solved in free agency.
No. 5 Kerry Kittles:
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Kerry Kittles was a knock-down shooting guard that was drafted eighth by the New Jersey Nets in the 1996 NBA Draft. Kittles averaged 14 points in his career, shooting nearly 38 percent from behind the arch.
Kittles was never an All-Star but was always a contributing starter for the Nets, unfortunately, his game was slowed down by rough knee injuries. Kittles did earn an All-Rookie Second Team nod before wrapping up his nine-year career with the Los Angeles Clippers.
No. 4 Kenyon Martin:
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Kenyon Martin was an essential piece of the New Jersey Nets NBA Finals run back in 2002. Martin was drafted by the Nets at the number one overall selection two years prior to his championship appearance. Kenyon averaged nearly 15 points per game in his tenure with the Nets before leaving for the Nuggets in 2004.
Martin was an NBA All-Star in his final season in New Jersey and he also collected three gold medals for various national teams, including the 2003 FIBA championship. Martin was an established starter in this league and was an important piece to the 2002 championship bid.
No. 3 Derrick Coleman:
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Derrick Coleman is another Brooklyn Nets number one overall selection, joining the team after 1990 NBA Draft. Coleman came into the league as an elite-level player, earning himself the Rookie of the Year award. He averaged nearly 20 points and ten rebounds per game for the Nets during his five-year tenure.
Coleman helped lead the team to three straight playoff appearances with New Jersey having a talented roster from top to bottom. Coleman was named an All-Star for the Nets, but bounced around the league after leaving the Nets.
No. 2 Brook Lopez:
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Brook Lopez is the only player on this list to have won an NBA championship, however, it was unfortunately not with the Nets, but with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021. Lopez was drafted at eighth overall by the Nets in 2008, staying with the team for nine seasons. Lopez was a one-time All-Star for the team and he averaged 20 points and six boards in his best season for the Nets.
Lopez did become the New Jersey / Brooklyn Nets all-time leading scorer with over 10,000 points. He joined the Bucks shortly after his departure from the Nets, where he stayed for two years earning himself as a role as a reliable big man, alleviating Giannis Antetokounmpo’s workload.
No. 1 Buck Williams:
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Charles “Buck” Williams is the largest drafted Brooklyn Net of all time. The power forward was drafted third overall in the 1981 draft and was apart of the organization for nine years. Williams was a three-time All-Star with the Nets, also earning himself four All-NBA Defensive nominations, both 1st and 2nd teams. He averaged 15 points per contest in his first season, solidifying himself as the Rookie of the Year.
Williams was an incredible rebounder who was a tenacious defender around the rim. He’s accomplished the most with the Nets of any player drafted by the organization.