1. Buck Williams
Without question, Buck Williams was the most influential Nets player in the 1980s. His contributions to the team earn him the right to be in the conversation for the greatest players in Nets history. Today, Williams is still the Nets’ all-time leader in points, rebounds, field goals, and games played. His legacy led to his #52 being retired by the team..Williams’ impressive career started and took off on the Nets. The Nets selected him with the third overall pick in the 1981 draft. In his rookie year, Williams earned an All-Star selection and All-Rookie First Team selection. To top it off, he was named Rookie of the Year. His career included three total All-Star selections (all while with the Nets), two NBA All-Defensive First Team selections, and two All-NBA Second Team selections (one while with the Nets).
As all of his first-year accolades reflect, Williams made a huge impact on the Nets right from the get-go. In the five seasons prior to his selection, the Nets had a win percentage of 34.4 percent, only making the playoffs once. During the next five seasons after his selection, the Nets had a win percentage of 53.4 percent, making the playoffs every year.
For the Nets, Williams was everything a team could ever ask for. In his first six seasons, he started and played in all but one game. Williams averaged a double-double almost every season with the Nets. He only missed the mark in his last season, when he averaged 9.4 rebounds per game. Furthermore, Williams led the team in rebounds all eight seasons he played with the Nets. He led the team in scoring twice (1983-84 and 1984-85).
Williams was the face of the Nets in the 1980s, considering his success and the fact that he played there from 1981 to 1989. While the stats go on, it’s safe to say that Williams is a Nets all-time great, and belongs at number one on this list.