The top 5: Nets all-time points-per-game leaders

Mike Zarrilli

The future is finally here for the Brooklyn Nets. They've wandered from New Jersey to Long Island back to New Jersey and have now landed in their new home at the Barclays Center. Deron Williams will lead the way during their next era as they carve out a new identity for themselves. Of course, they can't completely escape their past, as they will drag their history with them to Brooklyn. Buck Williams stands atop most franchise totals lists, such as games played, points and rebounds, but here's a look at the Top 5 points-per-game leaders. Most of these players came and went like a comet, stopping by in their career to only play two or three seasons for the Nets, but they made their mark, one way or another with the organization.

5. Mike Newlin, 21.2 PPG: After spending eight years with the Houston Rockets, Newlin joined the Nets for two seasons, beginning in 1979, and led the team in scoring both times, averaging 20.9 and 21.4 points per game. Unfortunately, his productive output didn't help the Nets as they finished both seasons in last place. He played one final year in the NBA after being traded to the New York Knicks in June of 1981 for Mike Woodson. The University of Utah graduate had a 14.9 career scoring average.

4. Stephon Marbury, 23 PPG: His most memorable Nets moment was writing "All alone 33" on his ankle tape and his biggest asset for the franchise was bringing Jason Kidd to the team when he was dealt to the Phoenix Suns, but he could put the ball in the basket during his time with New Jersey (sometimes to the detriment of his teammates, though). Marbury averaged 23.4, 22.2 and 23.9 points per game in his two-plus seasons with the Nets, after arriving from the Minnesota Timberwolves in a three-team trade that also included the Milwaukee Bucks. Marbury didn't have much help around him, and the result was three losing seasons. He did make the All-NBA Third Team in 2000, though, and hit a three-pointer to win the 2001 All-Star Game. And he scored 50 points in an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers while playing for the Nets. He finished his five-team career with a 19.3 points-per-game average.

3. Vince Carter, 23.6 PPG: Like everyone else on this list, Carter came from someplace else (in his case, Toronto), scored and then left. His 27.5, 24.2, 25.2, 21.3 and 20.8 averages in his four-plus seasons ('04-'09) make him the points-per-game leader in the Nets' NBA era. He played in three All-Star Games while with New Jersey, and the team made the playoffs in his first two years and they finished in first place in his second season. He was captain of the Nets in his last season, after Jason Kidd was traded, and before Carter joined the Orlando Magic. He has a 21.4 career scoring average heading into this season.

2. Julius Erving, 28.2 PPG: The biggest star of the ABA was sold to the Nets from the Virginia Squires after the 1973 season and the Nets turned around and sold him to the Philadelphia 76ers three years later, but in between he led the Nets to two ABA Championships and won three MVP Awards. Erving averaged 27.4, 27.9 and 29.3 points, leading the league in his first and third seasons with New York, and he averaged double-digit rebounds in his years with the Nets as well. The Nets finished with the best record in the league in '73-'74 and defeated the Utah Stars in the finals, with Dr. J leading the league in playoff scoring (27.9). The next year the Nets were upset by the Spirits of St. Louis in the first round, but they rebounded in '76, when they won the last-ever ABA championship, knocking off the powerhouse Denver Nuggets, with Erving's 34.7 points per game in the playoffs leading the league once again, to go along with a 12.6 playoff rebounding average. He finished his ABA/NBA career with a 24.2 scoring average.

1. Rick Barry, 30.6 PPG: The first big NBA star to jump to the ABA, Barry was the Nets' first-ever superstar. After two seasons playing for the San Francisco Warriors, he had to sit out a full season before he could join the Oakland Oaks of the fledgling league (he served as the team's radio color man during his one-year sabbatical). The Oaks won the championship in Barry's first ABA season ('68-'69), though he missed the second half of the year with a knee injury. He reluctantly moved with the franchise when they became the Washington Caps the next season ("If I wanted to go to Washington, I'd run for president," he said at the time). But he balked when they moved again, this time transforming into the Virginia Squires, so the organization traded him to the Nets for draft picks and cash just before the 1970-'71 season began. Barry only played in 59 games due to another knee injury in his first season with the Nets, but averaged 29.4 points per game and led them to the playoffs, where they lost in the first round to his old team, the Squires (but he led the league in playoff scoring, with a 33.7 average). He was even better in his second and final season with New York, pouring in 31.5 points per game, before upsetting the 68-14 Kentucky Colonels in the playoffs and then avenging the previous season's loss by beating Virginia, but fell just short of winning a title, losing to the Indiana Pacers in the finals. Barry averaged 30.8 points per game during their postseason run. He made the All-Star team in both seasons, but the Hall of Famer was legally obligated to return to the Warriors for the '72-'73 season. Barry finished his ABA/NBA career with a 24.8 scoring average, as well as being one of the greatest free-throw shooters in either league (.893 for his career), and doing it with his unique underhand, between-the-legs style.

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