CONFERENCE TITLES; MAKE FIRST-EVER TRIP TO THE NBA FINALS, WHERE THEY FALL TO THE LAKERS;
CAMPAIGN IS THE MOST PROLIFIC IN THE NBA HISTORY OF THE FRANCHISE.
FINAL RECORD: 52-30 (.634)
It was quite simply, a year to remember. The New Jersey Nets, who only smelled the rarified air of the NBA Playoffs 10 times in their history, and made it to the second round only once, confounded the preseason prognosticators by establishing a franchise record by winning 52 regular season games, earning their first-ever Atlantic Division title. The Nets then defeated Indiana, Charlotte and Boston in the playoffs to cop their first-ever Eastern Conference title, and advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history, eventually falling to the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers, 4-0. The Nets were led by MVP runner-up Jason Kidd, who smashed the Nets one-season assist mark, finished second in the league at 9.9 apg and averaged 14.7 ppg. Kenyon Martin led the team in scoring at 14.9 ppg, while Keith Van Horn led the Nets in rebounding at 7.5 rpg. Kidd led the Nets in scoring in each of the playoff series, and averaged a triple-double in the Eastern Conference Finals (17.5 ppg, 10.2 apg and 11.2 rpg), joining Magic Johnson as the only two players in NBA history to average a triple-double in a playoff series of six or more games. In the offseason, the Nets traded Keith Van Horn and Todd MacCulloch to Philadelphia for Dikembe Mutombo, and signed free agents Rodney Rogers and Chris Childs.
Keith Van Horn