- Here’s a list of the best Brooklyn Nets draft picks in franchise history.
- Buck Williams leads the list of players Brooklyn selected through the draft.
- Other notable players the Nets picked were Kenyon Martin and Brook Lopez.
The Brooklyn Nets are among the 11 NBA teams that have never won a championship. They joined the league in 1976 and have been a roller-coaster journey of a franchise. Despite missing the playoffs for multiple seasons (in 1987 to 1991 and 2008 to 2012), they reached the NBA Finals twice in 2002 and 2003 but were defeated by the Lakers and Spurs, respectively.
Despite falling short of lifting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy in those two seasons, the franchise continued its hunt for a breakthrough season by picking talents in the draft to increase their basketball odds of winning the title. In its team history, they were able to select notable names such as Bernard King, Kenny Anderson, Ryan Anderson, and Jarrett Allen.
But the three best Brooklyn Nets draft picks are Bucks Williams, Kenyon Martin, and Brook Lopez. See their contributions and impact on the team below.
Buck Williams was the first legitimate superstar of the Brooklyn Nets franchise. He was drafted third overall in 1981 behind Mark Aguirre and Isiah Thomas. The power forward out of Maryland instantly established himself as a strong force inside the shaded area by racking up a double-double average of 15.5 points and 12.3 rebounds.
Happy Birthday to Nets legend Buck Williams 🎉 pic.twitter.com/IbvOwYo640
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 8, 2023
This remarkable showing in his first year earned him the Rookie of the Year award. The 6 feet 8 inches forward also was a key player that helped the Nets qualify for five consecutive playoff campaigns from 1982 to 1986. He was a double-double machine in this run, averaging 16.5 points and 12.3 rebounds with 1.6 assists and 1.3 blocks.
In 1989, Williams was traded to Portland but left a lasting legacy in Brooklyn as he finished his Nets career with 16.4 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 635 games across eight seasons. Additionally, he still holds the most minutes played (23,100), most rebounds (7,576), and win shares (62.8) in Nets franchise history.
Kenyon Martin may be more famous for his stint with the Denver Nuggets, but he first found success with Brooklyn after they drafted him in 2000 as the first overall pick from Cincinnati. “K-Mart” immediately became the team’s starting forward, providing valuable double-digit scoring and a reliable rebounding output.
Although he didn’t win the Rookie of the Year award in 2001, he was part of the All-Rookie First Team. Martin was also a vital team member during the 2002 and 2003 NBA Finals, where he upped his averages to 17.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. However, those were not enough to help the Nets win a title. After only four seasons, the 6 feet 9 inches forward was traded to the Denver Nuggets in 2004.
In 2008, Brooklyn drafted Brook Lopez as the 10th overall pick, a behemoth center who is a Stanford standout with the hopes of being the next dominant force in the league. The 6 feet 11 inches tall big man gave the franchise a glimpse of hope as he racked up a double-digit scoring average in his rookie season, which included him on the All-Rookie 1st team.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 3, 2016
But the roster wasn’t competitive during his early years with the team, as they failed to qualify for the postseason in his first four seasons. They were only able to reach the playoffs in 2013 when they traded for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, part of the biggest Brooklyn Nets trades in team history. Before being traded to the Lakers in 2017, Lopez averaged 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 562 Nets games.
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