Czar Asks You

The Nets’ forthcoming relocation to Brooklyn, New York signals the end of a memorable era for sports fans in the Garden State. To commemorate 35 years of New Jersey Nets basketball, YES Network will count down the top Nets players in franchise history starting on April 8th when the Nets host the Cavaliers at the Prudential Center for the last time.

Who are your top five Nets of all time? Excluding current players, my top five Nets are:

  • Otis Birdsong: The scoring guard with a soft touch on his 20-foot jump shot and a consummate professional.
  • Buck Williams: One of the all-time great rebounders who brought his hardhat and lunch pail to the arena every night and did his job.
  • Kenny Anderson: A crafty, lefty point guard who could both score and run the show.
  • Derrick Coleman: The multi-skilled power forward who could score, defend and rebound.
  • Jason Kidd: A future Hall of Famer and one of the league’s premiere point guards throughout his long NBA career.

Listed below are some of the NBA players who made their marks as New Jersey Nets over the last four decades, and you can click here to view the Nets’ current roster. Tweet your picks to @NetsOnYES.

1970’s: Bernard King, John Williamson

1980’s: Otis Birdsong, Darryl Dawkins, Mike Gminski, Albert King, Michael Ray Richardson, Buck Williams

1990’s: Kenny Anderson, Derrick Coleman, Kendall Gill, Kerry Kittles, Stephon Marbury, Drazen Petrovic, Keith Van Horn, Jayson Williams

2000’s: Vince Carter, Jason Kidd, Devin Harris, Richard Jefferson, Kenyon Martin

Fratello’s Fun Stats

The 10 oldest players in the NBA this season are:

1. Shaquille O’Neal, 38

2. Kurt Thomas, 37

3. Grant Hill, 37

4. Juwan Howard, 37

5. Jason Kidd, 37

6. Theo Ratliff, 37

7. Steve Nash, 36

8. Marcus Camby, 36

9. Derek Fisher, 36

10. Antonio McDyess, 36

Czar Star: The Comeback Kidd

Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Image

The feature game in the NBA Friday night more than lived up to its billing. The rejuvenated Dallas Mavericks went into Atlanta and stole an overtime 111-103 victory from the hometown Hawks in a game played at playoff-like intensity. As expected, All-Star starters Dirk Nowitzki and Joe Johnson led their teams in scoring – but this game belonged to Jason Kidd. The future Hall-of-Famer filled up the stat sheet with 19 points, 16 rebounds and 17 assists. For the man who, along with Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson, is synonymous with the triple-double, last night’s performance was vintage. In fact, it was the first 15-15-15+ game in the NBA since Jason Kidd did it 14 years ago.

Kidd’s night was the latest in a Renaissance season for the soon-to-be 37-year-old point guard. After leading the New Jersey Nets to multiple NBA Finals appearances, Kidd was traded in 2008 to the Mavericks in a move that sent the much younger Devin Harris to the Nets. Kidd struggled to fit into the Mavericks’ half-court, slow-tempo offense which did not allow him to exploit his tremendous open court skills.  He also had difficulty defending the young, super-quick point guards in the Western Conference such as Tony Parker and Chris Paul. The emergence of Devin Harris as a potential star with the Nets coupled with Kidd’s struggles led many to question the wisdom of the trade, particularly for a team that was a regular contender in the West. The Mavericks first round playoff exit that year at the hands of the New Orleans Hornets followed by another sub-par year in 2008-09 gave more fodder to Kidd’s critics.

The Mavericks, however, kept their faith in Kidd and rewarded him with a new three-year contract prior to this season – a move that is now paying dividends. He has successfully adjusted his previously flamboyant game to fit with the Mavericks’ style. Although he does not regularly put up the same numbers he logged in the past, Kidd, for the first time in his latest tenure with the Mavs, looks like the confident leader he had been for his entire career.

Last night Kidd played with an emotion and energy that seemed to have disappeared from his game the last couple of years. Fighting to the finish, Kidd nailed three consecutive 3-pointers in the final minutes of the fourth. And by creating contact with Hawks coach Mike Woodson, who had crept onto the court in open play shouting instructions to his players, the wily veteran even managed to draw a critical technical foul on Woodson and pick up a decisive point for his team. It is this poise under pressure that we have come to expect from Kidd over the years and that may help the Mavericks make a deeper playoff push this year.

[nba-video vid=games/hawks/2010/02/26/0020900861_kidd_reax.nba]