All-Time Nets All-Star Team, Small Forwards: The Doctor Julius Erving

Julius Erving
Possibly the greatest Nets player ever. (AP)

BY JAKE HENSON

1975-1976 ABA Stats: 84 GP, 38.6 MPG, 29.3 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 5.0 APG, 2.5 SPG, 1.9 BPG, 50.7 FG%, 33.0 3P%, 80.1 FT%
1975-1976 ABA Advanced: 56.9 TS%, 51.6 eFG%, 28.7 PER, 116 ORtg, 97 DRtg, 17.7 WS
All-Star Team? Yes
Team: 55-29, won ABA Finals over Denver Nuggets (4-2)

February 22, 1950.

That was the day that a Nets legend was born. A legend that was responsible for hoisting both of the now-Brooklyn Nets championship banners (1974 and 1976).

6 fee, 7 inches of style, grace and breathtaking athleticism, Erving is one of only seven Nets to have their jersey retired, and one of only seven Nets in the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame. A game changer in a literal sense, Dr J revolutionized the way basketball as we knew it was played.

‘The Doctor’ had many brilliant seasons across his distinguished career, but as a Nets forward, none were better then season 1975-76.

1975-76 was the final season of the American Basketball Association (ABA).
Erving led the Nets to a 55-win season, off the back of 29.3 points per game, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.9 blocks.

And if you need advanced metrics and statistical evidence, Erving’s season registered a career best in ‘PER’ at 28.7 and ‘Win Shares Per 48 minutes’ with .262 (the league average is .100!)

Talk about stat sheet stuffing.

Along the way, Dr. J amassed a long list of accolades that included being named Playoff MVP, Regular Season MVP, ABA All Defensive Team and All ABA Team – First Team.
Arguably the Doctor’s most memorable moment of season 75-76 came in the 1976 ABA All-Star showcase. Erving participated in the Dunk Contest alongside Geroge Gervin, Artis Gilmore, David Thompson and Larry Kenon.

Julius went on to win the contest, but he will be remembered for much more then just the win. One particular dunk will be forever entrenched in the minds of basketball fans all around the world.

This was the first time that such a dunk had been seen in front of a national audience. The dunk was so influential that the greatest ever, Michael Jordan paid homage to the Doctor in the 1988 dunk contest.

Granted, the Dunk contest (although memorable) is not technically a part of that season. So I will close with the most damning piece of evidence yet that Julius Erving was the greatest Nets All-Star ever.

Dr. J led his then New York Nets all the way to a historic victory in the last ever ABA Finals, the last title any team under the ‘Nets’ brand has won.

The Nets playoff campaign was initially characterized by a hard-fought series against the San Antonio Spurs. Erving’s Nets eventually prevailed in a thrilling Game 7, 121-114. Erving averaged 34.7 points and 12.6 boards a game to lead the Nets all the way to the ABA Finals.

There, he took things to a whole new level, averaging 37.7 points, 14.2 rebounds, and six assists per game in the ABA Finals. That sounds like an NBA 2K stat line.

Julius hit the ground running in the Finals against the Denver Nuggets, scoring 45 and 48 points respectively in Games 1 and 2 to set the tone for the rest of the series. Leading 3-2 overall, the Nets fell behind by as many as 20, before Dr. J orchestrated a miraculous comeback to clinch the last ABA Championship. Sports Illustrated went on the record as saying after the performance that Erving produced “the greatest individual performance by a basketball player at any level anywhere.”

Game. Set. Match, Erving.

Next: Richard Jefferson

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