By Cory Bernstein
With the NBA Draft coming up tomorrow, the Nets are sure to have a very busy next few days ahead of them. Prokhorov showed last year that he is willing to pull the trigger on draft trades. In this draft, which is going to be one of the weakest and unpredictable ones in history, the Nets could be in for an interesting night.
The Nets may not be picking that high this year, but fans will be able to take solace in the crazy guy in a Deron Williams sitting in first row, laughing hysterically at whatever dumb thing David Kahn does at this draft (who may or may not look exactly like me). Here is my Nets’ draft plan, with common sense and logic that Timberwolves and Clippers fans would envy.
1. Buy a pick in the late 1st round- The Nets are picking 27th and 36th in the draft, and its not a shock that they need a lot more help than that if they
want to make the playoffs. In a weak draft in a league where half the teams are broke, The Nets have a severe advantage that is money. Prokhorov should throw three million dollars (the maximum a team can give another in a trade) for a late first round pick. Chicago is picking 28th and 30th, and don’t need the two picks. They could use that three million from the Nets, while still filling their only need (a shooting guard).
By doing this, the Nets could take a risk with one of their three picks from 27 to 36. Being able to take a safer pick (like Justin Harper) while also being able to take a risk with one of your three picks is a luxury the Nets should have. The Nets can now take someone like Josh Selby or Jeremy Tyler, who has great upside but also risk attached to the pick. I am a big Tyler fan, but not really on the Selby bandwagon. However, would provide great value in the late first to early second round. Even if they don’t pan out, we have two other picks in this draft so it’s not as big of a deal. The Nets need to trade for a late first round pick, simply because they can and there is nothing negative that can come out of having three picks instead of two.
2. “Make up your mind dude.”- As Jeff Spicoli said, the Nets need to make up their mind on who they are taking in the draft. Last year it was pretty obvious from the day of the lottery that Derrick Favors would be the third pick in the draft. But, this year there is a much foggier situation surrounding the Nets pick in the draft.
At this point, I think the Nets have their eyes on five players for the 27th pick in the draft, Tyler Honeycutt, Justin Harper, Jeremy Tyler, Reggie Jackson, and Nolan Smith. Honeycutt is the best fit for the team, as he plays small forward and can defend well. But, his lack of a consistent jumper and a poor Draft Combine seems to have scared some teams away from the UCLA product. I think Honeycutt would be a good fit and help the team immediately despite this because it doesn’t really matter if you can bench press 185 pounds or not when you get to the NBA.
Harper and Tyler play the same position, but have two entirely different games. Harper is an excellent three point shooter, and a very polished player after four great years at Richmond. He may not be the best defender, but has great work ethic and by all accounts is a guy who wants to improve and be successful in the NBA. His experience and age seems to point to the fact that he will not really improve in the NBA. I would agree with this, as he doesn’t seem like he could really get that much better. On the other hand, Jeremy Tyler is as raw as they come. He has the potential and athletisicm that few draft prospects posses. But, Tyler the key word is potential. No one knows whether Tyler is going to be the next Tyrus Thomas (which would be great for a 27th pick) or a worse version of Ekpe Udoh. He is probably the most high risk-high reward player in this draft, and it will be interesting if Prokhorov would be willing to pull the trigger on him.
If the Nets pick Reggie Jackson or Nolan Smith, the Nets fans at the Pru tomorrow night should throw bags of their own feces at David Stern. Using the common sense that so few NBA executives have, it makes absolutely no sense to take a point guard. Why? Our best damn player is a PG! I don’t care if he’s a free agent next season, let’s worry about putting some decent basketball players around him now while we have him. If he leaves after this season, then we’ll pick a point guard in next year’s draft! There’s no reason to think of Plan B now when Plan A (Deron) has said many times that he wants to be a New Jersey Net. This stupidity is what makes for half the teams in the NBA being broke and teams struggling to sell tickets. I have nothing against Smith or Jackson, both seem like nice guys and have a chance to be solid rotation players. But, they can do that somewhere else, where a point guard is actually needed on the team.
So here’s what the Nets draft board could be. Keep in mind guys like Tobias Harris (who I mocked to the Nets on slamdunkcentral.com) and Chris Singleton are on the Nets draft board despite the fact that they will most certainly not be Nets next season.
- Chris Singleton
- Marshon Brooks
- Jordan Hamilton
- Tobias Harris
- Tyler Honeycutt
- Justin Harper
- Jeremy Tyler
Chad Ford wrote today that the Nets are trying to move up in the draft, so picking Singleton, Brooks, Hamilton, or Harris is a possibility. But, if the Nets stay at 27, they have to think long and hard about Tyler Honeycutt. He has “passing trait” that so few forwards have. If the Nets take Tyler or Harper, that’s okay to. I’m not going to be in the Nets war room (although I wish I was) and don’t know if they are going to resign Humphries. If they are not planning on getting him back for next season, then Harper and Tyler jump Honeycutt. But, all three would be admirable selections by the Nets.
3. Get Bojan Bogdanovic - As I said, the Nets should go for a riskier pick at some point in this draft, and what better pick then Bogdanovic. He has a ton of talent, shown through him being the second leading scorer in the entire Euroleage last season. He’s 6’7, can play both guard positions and small forward, and is a great shooter. Bojan can play defense, has a name that few NBA players can rival, and no glaring weakness in his game.
So why isn’t he a first round pick?
Bogdanovic has the worst contract in all of Europe. It would be nearly impossible to get him to play in two seasons, let alone next year. He has been so good in Europe that it has hurt his NBA stock severely.
But, Prokhorov has to be willing to take this risk. There is no doubting that Bogdanovic is one of the ten to fifteen most talented players in the draft, but would be lucky to crack the first round. I think that outside of Enes Kanter and Jan Vessley, Bojan is the best European player in this class. Jonas Valanciunas will be picked higher in the drafted than Bojan because of his potential and height, but undersized, skinny centers never make it in the NBA. It’s something that any fan with half a brain realizes, but NBA GM’s decide to take these guys year after year. (Brian Colangelo nods happily as he talks to Valanciunas in Lithiuanian). Bogdanovic has a game that will translate well to the NBA, and could immediately be a solid role player for the Nets.
If he goes to Europe for a few years before he joins The Nets in Brooklyn, that’s fine. The Nets don’t need to win a championship in the next twenty four months, but just have to get good enough that Deron Williams wants to stay with New Jersey. Bogdanovic fits the Nets most glaring need (a wing who can shoot and play defense), and will come into the league in 2012 or 2013 who will be extremely successful in the league. We can only hope that he is donning a Nets uniform when he first plays in The Association.
4. This Draft Sucks. We’re not getting an All-Star- Accept defeat. This draft is nowhere near as good as just about every draft in the past. There is a .000001% chance the Nets draft pick turns into a really good player. Could he be a solid rotation player? Absolutely. But, there's no way that Justin Harper, Tyler Honeycutt, or whoever the Nets pick will be a star or even close to it. It's simply just not that good of a draft, with almost no players in the back end of the first round who show much of anything.
What the Nets need to do is have a successful free agent class if they want to contend next season. Guys like Marcus Thornton (who the Maloofs wisely offered a contract) and Jonas Jerebko are going to help the Nets much more than anyone that they can pick in the draft. Unless if the Nets trade up to the late lottery (which is not going to happen) and pick Chris Singleton, no great value will be gotten from this draft. It's sad, but true.
That being said, this is still a crucial stage in the rebuilding process of the Nets. The Mavericks showed us this spring that teams win championships, not three douche bags. The Nets can pick up one or two "glue guys" in this draft. Brian Cardinal, JJ Barea, and Deshawn Stevenson all had an impact on the NBA Championship this year. There is no doubt that Justin Harper, Tyler Honeycutt, Charles Jenkins, or whoever the Nets take can fit in on the Nets.
Year after year, the same formula is followed for a championship winning team. One Superstar (Dirk), a floor general who doesn't have to be good a good player, but a good leader (Kidd), a rebounder-shot blocker (Chandler), a second offensive option (Jason Terry), at least one great shooter (Terry, Kidd, Barea) a really good wing defender (Shawn Marion) an X-factor (Barea), and one crazy guy (Stevenson).
With two role players who can play 8-10 minutes to game, your team is set. On most teams, these roles can be filled twice by one player, but the Mavs were deep enough to fill all of these pieces to a title. It's so simple, but that really is all a title team needs. Look at the Lakers last, year they had Kobe (star), Derek Fisher (floor general who everyone respects and a good shooter), Pau Gasol (second option), Andrew Bynum (rebounder-shot blocker), Ron Artest (one crazy guy, and a lock down defender), Shannon Brown (X-Factor), and Lamar Odom ( good defender, shooter, and a second option many times – Mike’s edit: Not to mention now married to a Kardashian ). No team is going to fit all the requirements, but the last two years the champion has had this general formula and capitalized on it.
The Nets have their star, second option, and three point shooter. This draft is the time to pick a banger that can replace (or compliment) Humphries. We can only hope that Billy King takes guys who fit the system and work towards the goal of getting the Nets an NBA Championship at some point in the near future.
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