2001-02 Jason Kidd
14.7 points, 9.9 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game
Kidd came in and uttered words that nobody else in the organization believed one bit, and that was that the Nets are a playoff team. People thought that Kidd was crazy for making such claims, but he was not kidding, as the Nets ended up going to the Finals in back-to-back years in 2002 and 2003; their only Finals appearances to this date.
New Jersey doubled their win total from 26 to 52 wins in that season, but Kidd in that season also unlocked the absolute best in all of his teammates including Kenyon Martin, Keith Van Horn, Kerry Kittles and Richard Jefferson.
It was Kidd’s leadership and determination that allowed those teams to play cohesively and make such a quick turnaround, as many people believe that the Oakland native should’ve won MVP over Tim Duncan in 2002. Duncan was obviously deserving in his own right, but Kidd transformed a laughing-stock team into a powerhouse team basically overnight. At least Kidd was rewarded with All-NBA First Team honors for his impressive performance.
Kidd’s playmaking display was a gorgeous sight on a nightly basis, as he would read defenses ahead of time and time passes perfectly or slip the ball through open cracks to find the open man. Those alley-oops to K-Mart were a thing of beauty. He made it look so easy, and that’s why he ended up second in assists that season.
In addition to his offensive prowess, Kidd brought home All-NBA First Team honors to showcase his abilities as a two-way NBA player.
Kidd had many great seasons in the Meadowlands, but this one stands out as the best because of the quick turnaround and it being his closest ever to an MVP award.