Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo Sports has been putting together NBA team's best starting five in history. Dwyer ran through the New York/New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets and built up an interesting lineup over the team's history. Here it is:
C: Billy Paultz. You've got to go all the way back to the Nets' time as both the New Jersey Americans and New York Nets for this one, as Paultz was the team's two-time All-Star during the team's ABA glory days. ‘The Whopper' averaged 15.6 points, 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks with the franchise, helping it win the 1974 ABA championship before moving on to San Antonio.
F: Julius Erving. The ABA was full of brilliant talents, and when four of its teams joined the NBA in 1976-77 eight of its players immediately became NBA All-Stars. To say that one player "was the ABA" seems like a bit of a stretch, but Julius Erving was the sort of player and person that allows for such hyperbole. He only played three seasons with the Nets, but he worked each game, played nearly 40 minutes a night, and led the Nets to the 1974 and 1976 ABA titles. Erving averaged a modest 28.2 points, 10.9 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and a combined 4.4 blocks/steals in New York. The Nets then attempted to sell Erving's contract to the Knicks in exchange for the other New York team's waiving of the $4.2 million territorial fine in the wake of the ABA/NBA merger, and the Knicks declined.
F: Buck Williams. An absolute pro in an era (or, more accurately, in one of the several eras) of storm and stress in Nets-land, Williams was a force on both ends and a three-time All-Star. Williams averaged 16.4 points on 55 percent shooting, 11.9 rebounds and over a block per game in his time with New Jersey, missing just 23 games spread out over eight seasons.
G: Vince Carter. Much-loathed upon his trade to New Jersey, VC shockingly perked up a bit (going from 15.9 points per game to 27.5 a contest, midseason) after being dealt from Toronto. Carter couldn't help the Nets return to the Finals stage that they saw in 2002, but he did average 23.6 points per game alongside 5.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists on a slow-down (despite Jason Kidd's presence) Nets squad that limited possessions. Working in his prime, those numbers in his four and a half seasons with the team eclipsed his per-game stats with the Raptors, which is kind of sad in a way.
G: Jason Kidd. Gave the franchise the instant credibility it lacked after the embarrassment of the [too many eras to list off] when New Jersey dealt for him following the 2000-01 season. Kidd played six and a half seasons with the team, nearly won the MVP in 2002 and led the team to the 2002 NBA Finals. He made four All-Star teams and averaged 14.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 9.1 assists per contest. The switch between Kidd and Stephon Marbury wasn't the sole reason New Jersey jumped from the lottery to the Finals in one year, unlike the narrative bleated out by many sportswriters of the day (several new additions and the return to full health from two key starters contributed), but the move didn't exactly hurt the oft-mocked team's chances.
Definitely a fair list for the most part. However, Dwyer leaves Nets fans with a sour taste. Dwyer rips the Nets, who were originated in 1967 and their long history of poor centers, saying, "it speaks to the Nets' ineptitude that Brook Lopez was a close runner-up for the starting slot at center. Despite injury woes, Lopez has played 10 more games as a Net than Paultz while contributing better box score numbers, but Paultz's defensive abilities gave him the slight edge here."
He even mentions considering Darryl Dawkins, despite his 26 percent turnover rate in 1982-1983.
But worst of all, he talks about how the Nets franchise has just been a temporary home for players, namely Derrick Coleman, Rick Barry, Barnard King, Kenyon Martin, and Stephon Marbury - all whom played with the team for five or less seasons.
Dwyer does, however, mention Drazen Petrovic as one of the rising stars at the shooting guard position in the league before passing away in an auto accident.
Oh and for what it's worth, we put together the NetsDaily's All-Time starting five:
C. Johan Petro
F. Jerome Moiso
F. Reggie Evans
G. Travis Outlaw
G. Deron Williams
Team slogan: "We Battled." I think that tells you who the coach would be.
So, what's your Nets All-Time starting five? And for fun, what's your "NetsDaily" All-Time starting lineup?