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2000 NBA draft Rewind: Nets select Kenyon Martin first overall

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The Brooklyn Nets, despite Stephon Marbury’s phenomenal play, came into the 2000 NBA draft as one of the worst teams in the leagues with so many needs.

The season before the team did absolutely nothing to set themselves apart from the rest of the league, ranking 15th in both offensive points per game and defensive points allowed per game.

After having a franchise-low start to the season of only 2-15, the team struggled without their leader, Marbury. The star guard was having a particularly spectacular year averaging 22 points and eight dimes per contest, but it wasn’t enough to will the team to the postseason.

The then-New Jersey Nets decided to draft Kenyon Martin with their number one overall draft pick, putting their chips on an AAC alumni.

Martin had an explosive career playing collegiate hoops, leading the Cincinnati Bearcats to the number one overall ranking in college basketball for 12 weeks straight. He averaged nearly 19 points, nine rebounds, and over three blocks per contest in his senior campaign.

Martin had a phenomenal rookie season, earning First Team All-Rookie honors and coming in second in the NBA’s Rookie of the Year conversation. He averaged a dozen points and seven boards a game in year one and just one season later became an essential piece to the 2002 run to the NBA Finals.

With Jason Kidd running the floor for the Nets, the team was an instant championship competitor. Martin was able to team up with veterans Kerry Kittles and Keith Van Horn to make that run possible.

Martin will always have a special place in Nets fans’ hearts as he is one of the greatest NBA draft picks in the franchise’s history. He had a good career although mostly staking home in Denver with the Nuggets. Martin’s impact on the Nets was important at the turn of the century and his career is a testament to his competitiveness as a player.

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