Nets All-Time Top 25: No. 14 Derrick Coleman
First overall pick in 1990 led a Nets resurgence at the start of the decade
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.
The first overall pick of the 1990 NBA Draft, Derrick Coleman was the only Net to earn at least two All-NBA honors before Jason Kidd a decade later. And Kidd is still the only other Net to have done so.
The franchise’s fade at the end of the 1980s led directly to Coleman, one of the top 10 scorers and rebounders in franchise history. And he was part of the core that led the Nets back to the playoffs after a five-year absence.
The 6-10 forward was an obvious choice for the No. 1 pick after a standout career at Syracuse. With 18.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in his first season, he was selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. The following year, with Coleman averaging 19.8 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting 50 percent, the Nets improved by 14 wins over his rookie year and made their first playoff appearance since 1985-86.
In 1992-93, with averages of a career high 20.7 points and 11.2 rebounds per game – the first of three seasons in which Coleman averaged a double-double with 20-plus points per game – he was named to the All-NBA Third Team. Joined by teammate Drazen Petrovic, they were the first Nets to receive the honor since Buck Williams a decade earlier. The Nets continued to improve, finishing 43-39 for their best record since 1983-84.
The next year, Coleman made his only NBA All-Star Game appearance and again was named to the All-NBA Third Team after averaging 20.2 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.
In his final season as a Net, Coleman averaged 20.5 points and 10.6 rebounds before being traded to Philadelphia.
Over his five years with the Nets, Coleman averaged 19.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, good for eighth in franchise history in scoring and sixth in rebounding. No other player in Nets history matches Coleman in ranking eighth or higher on both lists.