1. Derrick Coleman, 1990-95
The Nets caught a gift right at the turn of the decade, and a 17-65 mark at the end of the 1989-90 season turned into Derrick Coleman. After four seasons with Syracuse, Coleman came in and made an immediate impact on a team that badly needed a centerpiece. His rookie year ended with a Rookie of the Year award and a spot on the All-Rookie first team after monstrous averages of 18.4 points and 10.3 boards. That trend continued, and Coleman evolved into a legitimate 20-point, 10-rebound threat who was voted an All-Star in 1994.
He was nimble for a big man and had both finesse and power game. On the block, he could take a smaller defender to the rim with no issues, but also used pump fakes and up-and-under moves if he had the quickness advantage. Furthermore, he had an outside shot. And who doesn’t like a big who can shoot?