10 Times the Brooklyn Nets missed on a superstar in the NBA Draft

Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images) /

1. Kobe Bryant – 1996

The Nets were said to be very interested in drafting Kobe Bryant when it was their turn to make a selection at the eighth spot in the draft.

According to Jonathan Abrams’ 2016 book “Boys Among Men” and an article written by Scott Davis of Business Insider, then head coach John Calipari and general manager John Nash were locked in on Bryant and even brought him in for three workouts, as they were all but sold in Kobe being the guy that will carry this franchise to new heights.

However, with Bryant apparently threatening to play in Italy if the Nets drafted him in addition to the risk that comes with drafting a player straight out of high school, the Nets got cold feet and ultimately made Kerry Kittles their choice.

Kittles ended up averaging 14.3 points per game in 496 games with the Nets, as he turned into a solid role player for both teams that went to the Finals in 2002 and 2003 and a fan-favorite.

Kobe ended up being drafted by the Charlotte Hornets with the 13th pick but was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, and as we all know, went on to win five championships with two Finals MVP’s during his time in the yellow-and-gold.

The 18-time All-Star was also league MVP in 2008, selected to the All-NBA First Team a whopping 11 times and twice to the Second and Third Teams and nine All-NBA Defensive First Teams and two Defensive Second Teams, and also earned back-to-back scoring titles in 2006 and 2007, with the highest point per game average of his career at 35.4 coming in 2006.

The Nets also missed out on Steve Nash, as Nash was the 15th pick by the Phoenix Suns. However, the Nets would prove to be just fine at the point guard position in the late 90s and 2000s, as they had Stephon Marbury and Jason Kidd holding it down.

If Calipari, Nash and the rest of the Nets organization could have a do-over though, they would have almost certainly taken the risk that came with drafting Bryant and hope that they could eventually persuade the kid from Philadelphia to stay local.

If they were successful in persuading Bryant to stay, then not only would they have the undisputed best player in a strong draft class featuring the likes of Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Nash, Marbury, Antoine Walker, Marcus Camby, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Peja Stojaković and Jermaine O’Neal, there’s a decent chance that they’d have an NBA championship to show for during their time in the Meadowlands.

Next. Brooklyn Nets: All-Time Starting Lineup. dark

All Nets fans are left with now is thinking what could’ve been, especially if they were able to team him up with Kidd in the early 2000s, and form what would likely be the best backcourt of all-time.