The retirement of Michael Jordan, the aging of Patrick Ewing, and the Lakers prying Shaquille O’Neal away from the Orlando Magic blew open doors of opportunity in the Eastern Conference at the turn of the century. The Brooklyn Nets (then in New Jersey) walked through that door thanks to five key contributors.
The 90s were a brutal era for all Eastern Conference teams. Regardless of the offseason moves a team made to improve, the shadow of Jordan was cast over all cities. Despite this, it was not only the Chicago Bulls team that was a force.
From 1992-94, the Nets made the playoffs only to fall short each year. In the first two years, they lost to the Cavs, who were led by Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, and Mark Price. The following year, they dropped to the Ewing-led Knicks. After missing the playoffs for several years, the Nets were back in the mix in 1998, only to be swept by Jordan and the Bulls. However, the 2000s turned out to be different, with a golden age that lasted close to a decade. Let’s take a look at the top five players responsible for making this happen.
Next: No. 5