This Week in Nets History: June 8
Nets draft their 1980s core
Every Monday, we’ll take a look back and recognize significant dates in Nets history that occurred in the upcoming calendar week.
June 8, 1981
The Nets acquire guard Otis Birdsong in a trade with the Kansas City Kings. Birdsong — ironically drafted with a 1977 draft pick the Nets dealt away for Tiny Archibold — was coming off an All-NBA Second Team selection and three consecutive All-Star Game appearances. With the addition of top 10 draft picks Buck Williams and Albert King as well, the Nets made a 20-win improvement in their first season under coach Larry Brown, finishing 44-38 and making the first of five straight playoff appearances. Birdsong played seven seasons for the Nets, averaging 15.9 points and shooting 49.9 percent, with a Nets peak of 20.6 pints per game in 1984-85. He made his fourth All-Star Game in 1984-85.
June 9, 1981
The Nets select University of Maryland teammates Buck Williams and Albert King in the first round of the NBA Draft. In his spectacular rookie season, Williams, the third overall pick, was selected for the All-Star Game and named Rookie of the Year. The following season, Williams earned a spot on the All-NBA Second Team. The rugged power forward missed just one game in his first six seasons with the Nets. In seven seasons in New Jersey, Williams averaged 16.4 points and 11.9 rebounds. In his final season with the Nets, Williams earned his first All-Defensive Team honor in 1987-88. He is the franchise leader in games (635) and rebounds (7,576) and is second in points (10,440), four behind Brook Lopez. King, selected 10th overall, averaged a career-high 17.0 points in 1982-83 and played six seasons with the Nets, averaging 13.6 points.
June 10, 1977
With their first NBA Draft selection, acquired from Indiana, the Nets draft Bernard King, older brother of future draft pick Albert King, seventh overall. As a rookie, King averaged 24.2 points and was named to the All-Rookie team. After averaging 21.6 points in 1978-79, King was traded to Utah, but he eventually returned to play his final season with the Nets, playing 32 games in 1992-93.
June 10, 1980
With back-to-back picks in the first round, the Nets select North Carolina’s Mike O’Koren sixth overall and Duke’s Mike Gminski seventh overall. The two college rivals were Nets teammates for the next six seasons, reaching the playoffs for the last five of those. After a season in Washington, O’Koren returned for a four-game cameo in 1987-88 before retiring. Gminsk was dealt to Philadelphia later that season. O’Koren later became a Nets broadcaster and then assistant coach, where he was on the bench for the franchise’s back-to-back NBA Finals runs in 2002 and 2003.
June 12, 2013
The Nets hire Jason Kidd as head coach. As soon as his 19-year playing career concluded, the legendary point guard pivoted to the bench and returned to the franchise that he had led to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. In his lone season as Brooklyn’s head coach, Kidd led the Nets to a 44-38 record and a first-round playoff series victory over Toronto in his single season..
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