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Could Brook Lopez Possibly Be the Best Player in Brooklyn Nets Franchise History?

Marshall is a Wisconsin realtor and mentor who coaches inner city youth who may not have the access to play otherwise.

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Tale of the Tape

The Brooklyn Nets are an illustrious franchise with a rich history that dates all the way back to the ABA. While they’ve never actually won a championship before, they’ve had some of the best players in NBA history don their colors. They’ve had ‘Doctor J’ Julius Erving, Rick Barry, Drazen Petrovic, the legendary Bernard King, and of course, Jason Kidd. All current Hall-of-Famers. They’ve even had brief stints from other all-time greats like Alonzo Mourning, Mo Cheeks, Stephon Marbury, Kevin Garnett and Paul Peirce. It’s a bit surprising that they haven’t ever won now that I think about it. The closest they ever came were with those Jason Kidd teams in the early 2000’s that featured future Hall-of-Famer Vince Carter and a young, uber athletic Richard Jefferson among others. Most people would agree that pushing his team that far, in addition to all his stats, makes Kidd the best player in Nets history. This is also because no one counts the stats from the ABA, otherwise that spot would be reserved for the Doc. There is however one more player that needs to be discussed when debating the best Net ever. Enter Brook Lopez. The big man was drafted by the then, New Jersey Nets. There he played nine full seasons before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers then, eventually, to the Milwaukee Bucks. In that time period, he was able to put up some very impressive numbers consistently. Here’s a quick look at the numbers and how they stack up to Kidd’s. Keep in mind we are only discussing their career as a Net, not their entire NBA career overall.

Let’s start with the champ Jason Kidd. He spent seven seasons in New Jersey after being traded by Phoenix in 2001. He was traded away again in 2008, this time to Dallas. Over his time with the Nets, Kidd averaged 14.6 PPG, 9.1 APG, and 7.2 RPG. He was an All-Star five out of those seven years and made it all the way to the NBA Finals twice. While with the Nets, he led the league in assist twice. He also led the entire NBA in triple-doubles for six of his seven years in Jersey. It’s a reason why this isn’t a debate in most people’s eyes. Kidd currently sits as the franchise leader in 3-pointers made, assists, steals, and of course, triple doubles. He’s top ten in basically every other category as well. Although he didn’t do it in New Jersey like I’m sure he would have liked, he did eventually go on to win an NBA Championship and capture that elusive ring. He’s had a long and historic career, and to this day is still remembered as one of the greatest to ever do it, not just the best in a franchise’s history. Top-5 point guard of all-time.

On to the challenger Brook. He actually has a better case than you’d think. You see, just nine years with the Nets was enough to be the most in franchise history. Seriously, they’ve never had a player stay for ten years or more. NO coach has either. Only one player has ever played more games in a Nets jersey (More on that later). After being drafted by the Nets with the 10th pick overall, Lopez put up averages of 18.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 1.7 BPG over his nine seasons. He’s the franchise leader in a few major categories including total points, field goals made, blocks and offensive win shares. His lone All-Star season came in 2013, the year the Nets moved to Brooklyn. That year he put up averages of 19.4 PPG, 6.9 RPG and 2.1 BPG on 52% shooting, arguably his best year as a pro. It was honestly remarkable to watch Brook stay relevant and remain effective in the post even as the league changed drastically in just a short amount of time. He was the only center besides Demarcus Cousins to average at least 20 PPG for multiple seasons from 2013 up until recently. The center position has made a resurgence, but Brook did everything in his power to keep it from dying in the first place.

Honorable Mentions:

As I mentioned earlier there is one player to play more games as a Net than Brook Lopez, although he did so in less seasons. That player is New Jersey Nets great Buck Williams. He played eight seasons with the Nets between 1981–1989. He held ridiculous averages of 16.4 PPG, 11.9 RPG, and 1.1 BPG in that span and made the All-Star team three times. He’s the franchise leader in games played, minutes played, free throws made and attempted, rebounds (both offensive and defensive), and overall win shares.

Julius Erving only played a few seasons with the Nets in the ABA. He spent his entire NBA career with the Philadelphia 76ers.

I just must mention Vince Carter here as he was once my favorite player. He isn’t a franchise leader in anything, but he is third or fourth in a few categories. In his five seasons with the Nets, he maintained averages of 23.6 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 4.7 APG, even with Kidd running the offense. He made the All-Star team three out of five years.

Career Highs:

B. Lopez: 20.7 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, 2.4 BPG, 56% FG, 36% 3PT, 84% FT

J. Kidd: 18.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 10.8 APG, 2.3 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 44% FG, 42% 3PT, 87% FT

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