The New Jersey Nets had their Big 3 back in the day with Derrick Coleman, Drazen Petrovic, and Kenny Anderson. However, fans will forever wonder what the trio could have achieved if Petrovic didn’t pass away too soon.
New Jersey Nets Big 3
The Nets had a solid core of Petrovic, Coleman, and Anderson in 1993. The front office and fans had a reason to hope for better things. Derrick averaged 20.7 points and 11.2 rebounds, Drazen normed 22.3 points and shot 45% from the rainbow arc, while Kenny delivered 16.9 points and 8.2 assists per game. Led by legendary coach Chuck Daly, the team was poised to break into the league’s elite teams. However, in the next season, tragedy struck as Drazen Petrovic got involved in a fatal car accident that ended the Nets’ big dreams at that time.
A young, athletic guard with a veteran three-point shooter and All-Star power forward at the block was a sure recipe for a championship. But unfortunately, all we are left with are what could have been.
“This guy wants to compete”
Coleman went on to play for the Philadelphia 76ers, Charlotte Hornets, and Detroit Pistons. On the other hand, Anderson would suit up for the Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers, Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Seattle Supersonics, New Orleans Hornets, and L.A. Clippers. Despite having many great teammates, Kenny still couldn’t forget the impact of Drazen Petrovic on him.
“His work ethic. I look at him before practice and he’d come in an hour before. He’d be drenched when we come in. I was like, ‘Wow, this guy really wants to compete!’ I had to jump in with him. He’s probably the best player I’ve ever played with and I’ve played great forwards that could do it all but there’s nobody like him.”
Kenny Anderson, Forgotten Seasons IG
Anderson had Paul Pierce, Rasheed Wallace, and Jermaine O’Neal as teammates, to name a few, but Drazen was just another level. Remember, the Croatian passed away at 28 years old, so the basketball world was robbed of witnessing greatness.
What made the Croatian Mozart special was his willingness to burn hours in the gym to stay in shape and be an example to his teammates. Petrovic may have left too soon, but he inspired many of the younger generations, including his teammates.