The New Jersey Nets had the definition of what is a rough year last season with a record of only 12-70. It is amazing to think that the New Jersey Nets have actually been a really good team over the past decade. They made seven straight playoff appearances during the decade, dating from 2001-2007. They won the Eastern Conference Championship in the 2001-02 and the 2002-03 seasons, but were unable to bring home the NBA Championship in either season. In 2001-02, the L.A. Lakers swept them and a year later they went down in six games to the San Antonio Spurs. The Nets have had some great players during the 2000’s, but only one of the players in their top five of the 2000’s still plays for New Jersey. Here are the best five New Jersey Nets from 2001-2010. (Only accomplishments and stats while playing for the New Jersey Nets from 2000-2010 were considered.)
1. Jason Kidd
Naming the best New Jersey Nets player from the past decade was exactly a brainteaser. Jason Kidd was the engine that made the team go during their seven years in the playoffs. It isn’t a coincidence that the Nets started their stretch of playoff appearances in the first season that Kidd joined the team. While with the New Jersey Nets, Kidd made six NBA All-Star teams and six All-NBA Defensive teams. He led the NBA in assists per game in 2001, 2003 and 2004. He also led the NBA in steals in 2002. On February 19th of 2008, the New Jersey Nets decided it was time to rebuild and traded Kidd to the Dallas Mavericks in a multi-player trade. The only good thing in the deal for the New Jersey Nets is that it did provide them with one of their other five best players in the past decade.
2. Vince Carter
Vinsanity played five seasons with the New Jersey Nets, supplying them with a big time scorer from the 2004-05 season until 2008-09. Unfortunately for the Nets, his big time ability didn’t help them get out of the second round of the playoffs. During his five seasons with the Nets, Carter made four NBA All-Star teams and set a few single season franchise records. He currently holds the New Jersey Nets franchise records for most points in a season, most consecutive games with twenty or more points and most three pointers made in a game.
3. Kenyon Martin
K-mart played four seasons with the New Jersey Nets providing them with an intimidator in the middle, even if it did come from the number four spot instead of the center position. He helped the Nets make three playoff appearances, and was one of the main components in their back-to-back NBA Championship visits. He made his lone All-Star appearance in the 2003-2004 season, which ended up being his last season with the Nets.
4. Richard Jefferson
There are probably a lot of people that would rank Richard Jefferson even ahead of Kenyon Martin on this list. I think that the presence K-mart had puts him over the top of Jefferson, but Jefferson’s body of work with the Nets is very convincing. He played with New Jersey from 2001-2009. He had two seasons of twenty or more points per game within that span.
5. Devin Harris
Harris has played a mere 158 games as a New Jersey Net. However, he could have probably played only 100 games with the Nets and still make it as their fifth best player of the decade. To put it bluntly, the Nets are just that bad as of late. Harris is only twenty – seven years old and does look like he could provide the Nets with an All-Star caliber player for the next decade also. He came over to the Nets in the trade for Jason Kidd and made his first All-Star team in 2009.