Nets All-Time Top 25: No. 1 Jason Kidd
An all-time great point guard transformed the team and lifted the Nets to new heights
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.
For the second time in the team’s history, a single trade changed everything for the Nets.
Jason Kidd’s arrival in the summer of 2001 was transformational for a team that had won just 26 games the season before. Over his 6½ seasons with the Nets, Kidd would be named to two All-NBA First Teams and one Second Team, six NBA All-Defensive Teams and five NBA All-Star games. The Nets would reach their first NBA Finals in 2001-02 and then return the following year, going on to six straight playoff appearances.
Kidd’s playmaking genius made the Nets one of the NBA’s most exciting teams, with a free-flowing, balanced offense and a dynamic transition game. He averaged 14.7 points and 9.9 assists per game in that first season – ironically the only time in a six-season span he did not lead the NBA in assists – and finished second in the NBA MVP voting.
It was apparent quickly that something was different with the Nets under Kidd’s control. They won seven of their first eight games and went on to finish 52-30 for their first Atlantic Division title.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Nets survived a best-of-five series against Reggie Miller and Pacers. The decisive Game 5 went to two overtimes before the Nets won 120-109 as Kidd scored 31 points with seven assists and eight rebounds. Wins over the Charlotte Hornets and Boston Celtics delivered Kidd’s Nets to the franchise’s first NBA Finals, where they became the final victim of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Shaq/Kobe threepeat.
Kidd’s second season with the Nets brought something the franchise hadn’t seen for much of its NBA history – great expectations. If anything, Kidd was better than he had been the year before. He increased his scoring average by four points to a career-high 18.7. His field goal, 3-point field goal and free throw percentages all rose, and he once again led the NBA in assists with 8.9 per game.
After winning their second straight division title, Kidd and the Nets peaked in the playoffs. With sweeps of the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons, they won 10 straight games going into an NBA Finals matchup with the San Antonio Spurs. In the six-game series loss, Kidd averaged 19.6 points, 7.8 assists and 6.0 rebounds with a 30-point game, a 29-point game and two double-doubles.
In 2003-04, Kidd was named to the All-NBA First Team for the second time as a Net after averaging 15.5 points and a league-leading 9.2 assists.
In 2005-06, Kidd led the Nets to their fourth division title in five years, and in 2006-07 he was named to the NBA All-Star Game for the fourth time as a Net in his final full season with the franchise.
In 506 games with the Nets, the 2018 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame selection averaged 14.6 points, 9.1 assists and 7.2 rebounds. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in assists (4,620), assists per game (9.1) and 3-point field goals (813).