Nets All-Time Top 25: No. 16 Brian Taylor
Dynamic defender and solid scorer was Rookie of the Year, two-time ABA champion
The selections for the Nets All-Time Top 25 Team were made by the author, with no input from the Brooklyn Nets organization. Selections were based on a combination of individual performance, team success and their contribution to it, and longevity with the franchise.
He didn't have one of the catchy nicknames that belonged to the Doctor or Super John, but Brian Taylor was a standout piece of the core for two ABA champions and one of the league’s top defenders.
Taylor debuted during the 1972-73 season as the ABA’s Rookie of the Year with 15.3 points per game while shooting 51.5 percent from the field. The following year, he helped the Nets to their first ABA title with 11.1 points and a career-high 4.5 assists per game.
In year three, Taylor emerged as a star in his own right. He averaged 14.0 points and a league-leading 2.8 steals during the 1974-75 season to help the Nets to a franchise-record 58 wins. Taylor was selected for the ABA All-Star Game and named to the league’s All-Defensive First Team.
In the ABA’s final season, Taylor repeated both those honors while raising his scoring again to 16.7 points per game and leading the league in shooting 42 percent from 3-point range. He helped lead the Nets back to the top of the ABA as they captured the league’s final championship. In the clinching Game 6 win over the Denver Nuggets, Taylor scored 24 points to wrap up his ABA career – and his Nets career.
Before the Nets played their first NBA game, Taylor was dealt with two first round picks to the Kansas City Kings for Tiny Archibald, the high-scoring point guard coming off three All-NBA First Team selections in the previous four years. Taylor played a year each in Kansas City and Denver before finishing out his NBA career with four seasons with the San Diego Clippers, where he led the NBA in 3-point shooting in 1980-81.
Over his four years with the Nets, Taylor averaged 14.0 points, 3.7 assists and 2.4 steals per game, shooting 50 percent from the field. He is third all-time in franchise history in steals per game.