1982: Buck Williams
The New Jersey Nets had not had an NBA All-Star in their first five seasons in the league, but that drought ended in 1982 when rookie Buck Williams was named a reserve for the Eastern Conference.
Williams had averaged 15.5 points per game before the break, but the Nets were just 19-24 at the break in the first season under coach Larry Brown.
Williams., just 21 years old, had been the third overall pick by New Jersey from the University of Maryland in the 1981 NBA Draft.
New Jersey trailed the Atlanta Hawks by one game for the sixth and final playoff spot in the East, tied with the Indiana Pacers for seventh place.
The 1982 NBA All-Star Game was being held in the Nets’ new home, Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, and Williams got 22 minutes in front of the home fans. He finished with four points, 10 rebounds and two blocks, hitting 2-of-7 shots.
The East eked out a 120-118 win in the game behind MVP Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics, who scored 19 points with 12 boards, five assists, a steal and a block.
Williams finished the season averaging 15.5 points, 12.3 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks in 34.5 minutes per game, shooting 58.2 percent and going 0-for-1 from 3-point range en route to winning the Rookie of the Year award.
The Nets, meanwhile, caught fire after the break, going 25-14 in the second half to grab the fourth seed in the East.
But they were stunned by the Washington Bullets in two straight games in a disappointing first-round sweep.