7. Bob McAdoo
McAdoo was one of the best big men of all time. The Hall of Famer made five straight All-Star appearances from 1974 to 1978 as he led the league in scoring three times. McAdoo was ahead of his time as a 6’9 big man that could make jumpers. He played for five different organizations before landing with the Nets in 1981. McAdoo had just been waived by the Pistons, and the cellar-dwelling Nets were looking for any kind of spark.
His time in New Jersey lasted just ten games where McAdoo averaged 9.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 0.9 steals in 15.3 minutes each night. The 29-year-old saw his play and production drop off dramatically in the 1980-81 season. He had bone spurs removed from his feet in the offseason and was locked in a contract dispute with the Nets. McAdoo was traded to the Lakers for a second-round pick just nine months after signing with New Jersey.
He went on to win two championships in Los Angeles as their sixth man in 1982 and 1985. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar got all the headlines on the Showtime Lakers, but McAdoo was a key piece for four years before leaving for Philadelphia after their second title.
The New Jersey Nets made the playoffs five straight years after Bob McAdoo’s departure, but they needed a big man next to Buck Williams. McAdoo could have filled that void and played an expanded role with the Nets if they could have settled their contract dispute.