Years with Nets: 7
Transactions: Signed as a free agent (8/69). Retired 1975.
One of the great point guards in ABA history, Bill Melchionni was the first Nets player to be a league leader in a major statistical category. The ABA's assists leader for three consecutive seasons (1970-71, 1971-72, 1972-73), the 6-2 guard was the franchise's first legitimate star.
Melchionni joined the Nets in 1969 after playing two years with the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers and was a member of the Sixers 1966-67 NBA Championship team. Prior to joining the professional ranks, Melchionni enjoyed a standout career at Villanova, where he was named MVP of the 1966 NIT. A prep star from Pennsauken, NJ, he is recognized as one of the best high school players in state history.
In his inaugural campaign with the Nets, he led the team to its first ever playoff berth. The following season, the additions of Coach Lou Carnesecca, center Billy Paultz and Hall of Famer Rick Barry helped the Nets to the playoffs again. For the 1971-72 season, Melchionni and Barry led the Nets to the ABA Finals, where they fell to the Indiana Pacers in six games. For his efforts, Melchionni was named to the All-ABA First Team, along with Barry.
In both the 1972-73 and 1973-74 seasons Melchionni was slowed by injuries, but none-the-less, was a member of the Nets 1974 ABA Title squad. Melchionni retired after the 1974-75 season and served the team as an assistant coach in 1975-76. Melchionni is still the franchise's all-time assist leader with 2,778.