Every Sunday, we’ll be updating the Nets’ off-season with bits and pieces of information, gossip, etc. to help take the edge off missing the playoffs, relying on the Nets’ beat reporters and others who have slipped interesting stuff into larger stories and blogs.
Draft Viewing Guide
A few things to watch for on Thursday night.
--Teams rarely exchange "picks" on Draft Night. They exchange "draft rights". To prevent teams from selling off their future, league rules prohibit teams from trading first round picks in consecutive years. So what happens is that one team will make a pick for another, then sell or trade the draft rights. That way, they can keep next year’s pick. That’s what happened in 2001, when the Nets were on the phone with the Rockets as they picked Richard Jefferson at #13, Jason Collins at #18 and Brandon Armstrong at #23. No one either in the audience at Madison Square Garden or at home knew what was going on until Peter Vecsey announced it after the 18th pick to raucous booing. Nets fans wanted to keep Eddie Griffin. So don’t be surprised to see players change caps almost immediately. They usually know, but not always, when they walk to the podium.
--Trades are often revealed out of draft order but officially aren't announced until after the last pick affected. So if the Nets traded the #11 pick to the Bulls for the #16 and #26, the official announcement wouldn't take place until after the 26th pick was announced. It's unlikely, however, that the news would hold til then. Someone would reveal it, probably live on ESPN. Final destinations sometimes aren’t learned until the end of the night. Darrell Arthur of Kansas was drafted and then saw his rights traded three times before landing in Memphis.
--Beat writers have a pretty good idea of who’s going to be picked…you just have to know who to read which year. Here’s their record:
In 2005, Fred Kerber of the Post wrote the morning of the draft that the Nets had decided on Antoine Wright as their top choice, believing (correctly) that favorites Sean May and Rashad McCants would be gone.
In 2006, of course, Marcus Williams fell so precipitously that no one could have predicted it…and no one did. But several beat writers had reported on Josh Boone’s attractiveness to the Nets.
In 2007, Sean Williams had moved into everyone’s notebook the week before. ESPN’s Chad Ford had predicted it early. Then, after Rod Thorn and Ed Stefanski made a well publicized trip to a private workout, it became obvious.
In 2008, both Dave D’Alessandro of the Star-Ledger and Al Iannazzone of the Record wrote that the Nets were hoping (and indeed believed it was possible) that Brook Lopez could drop all the way to #10—in spite of the Nets’ claims they had no idea he would fall. Kiki Vandeweghe suggested he might fall in an interview with The FAN the day before. Iannazzone wrote that Ryan Anderson was the top choice at #21 and D’Alessandro thought Chris Douglas-Roberts could be picked there because he had the best workout of anyone.
Of course, the beat writers all have their own blogs now so can drop a few rumors into the hopper throughout the day.
--Chad Ford will be updating his Draft Buzz throughout the day. Same for Jonathan Givony on Draft Express. And pay attention to what Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports says about the Nets. He used to cover them for The Record.
--The mock drafts of Draft Express and NBADraft.net will be updated throughout the day, with the final (and usually most accurate) ones going up just before the curtain goes up at the Garden.
--If ESPN’s Marc Stein reports on a Draft Day trade, you can take it to the bank, no matter how bizarre it might sound. He has broken the details of most major trades. He has excellent sourcing.
Acquiring Another Pick?
We can’t see the Nets handing over $3 million in cold, hard cash for a second first round pick in a mediocre draft. A trade down maybe, but not cash. A lot of teams seem willing to give up their picks, but how many teams are willing to buy them at inflated prices?
The Nets do have a trade exception worth $1.3 million that can be used to acquire a pick and in theory they have two young players who could be moved. But is Josh Boone or Sean Williams going to be better than someone taken late in the first round? And what’s Williams’ legal status? Any team acquiring him would want to know what's up.
What About Workouts?
Just because the Nets didn’t work someone out doesn’t mean they won’t pick him. In terms of workouts, the Nets have looked about half their picks prior to draft night. Among those who didn’t get workouts—or extensive interviews: Brandon Armstrong, Nenad Krstic, Tamar Slay, Christian Drejer, Antoine Wright, Mile Ilic, Marcus Williams, Brook Lopez.
Both Kenyon Martin and Jefferson worked out for the Nets but in a half-hearted way, not wanting to join the Pre-Kidd Nets.
Summer League Call Center
The Nets Draft War Room won’t shut down after the 60th pick. The team will make calls to agents for players who weren’t selected, offering them summer league roster slots. It’s a last-ditch chance for them to show what they’ve got This year, they’ll get a chance to impress not just the Nets, but the Sixers as well as other teams competing in the Orlando Summer League. The Nets and Sixers are sharing a team in Orlando…we’re calling them the Turnpike Twins. (Some teams won’t have any summer league teams at all. The Bobcats, for instance, are looking for ways to work with their kids without organized competition.)
One player we think could get a call (if he’s not drafted) is Stefon Jackson of UTEP. He’s a Philly native and says he’s worked with the Nets and Sixers twice each. Jackson is built like Rip Hamilton and has a solid mid-range game as well. He averaged nearly 25 points in Conference USA. He has had an off-court issue that could hurt his draft stock.
All three of the Nets rookies plus the Nets’ pick are expected to play in summer league which starts in a little more than a week on July 8.
Boone Likes TWill
Vince Carter and Devin Harris have said they'd like the Nets to take a point guard or an athletic power forward to complement Lopez.
Josh Boone goes even farther. He has a name. He and 20 other NBA players were asked to participate in ESPN the Magazine's mock draft, called "I'll Tell You Who I'd Take".
When it came time to pick at #11, here's what Boone told ESPN: He'd take Terrence Williams.
"The word is that he's a toss up but watching him and playing against him, I think he's going to do very well in the NBA. He runs the floor extremely well and is a great finisher on the break and in the half court which would fit well with our up-tempo style."
For the record, the UConn Huskies played the Louisville Cardinals twice in 2005-06, Boone's last year in Storrs and TWill's first year in Louisville. The Huskies won both games, with Williams scoring 10 points in each, but shooting a combined 8-for-29. Boone must have guarded him.
Draft Sleeper of the Week
To get your uniform number retired at North Carolina, you must win at least one of six national player of the year awards: the Associated Press, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, Sporting News, the Naismith Award and the Wooden Award. By his junior year, Tyler Hansbrough had won all six, some twice.
Three times, he’s been first team All-American. The other time, as a freshman, he was named to the second team. He is the only player in ACC history to be named first team all conference four times. He has a national championship trophy and has scrimmaged with Barack Obama. He holds the NCAA career record for most free throws made, with 968. Physically and mentally tough, Hansbrough just wins.
So why is he a sleeper? Maybe it’s because until recently, people slept on him. No player has moved up the charts more than Hansbrough in the last weeks. Concerns about his true height and athleticism were alleviated, if not eliminated, during the Pre-Draft combine. He measured out at nearly 6’10" with a nearly seven-foot wingspan. His running vertical leap of 34" was better then expected and his time in the three quarter court sprint was better than the two power forwards who’ll be drafted ahead of him: Blake Griffin and Jordan Hill.
Does he care that draftniks have long underestimated him, dumping him at the end of the first round or even the beginning of the second. Oh yeah.
"Well, yeah it does motivate me a little bit," he told a Charlotte radio station a couple of weeks ago. "Still, at the same time, I kind of laugh at it. These are probably a bunch of guys who just sit in their basements and probably just write out mock drafts and do this or do that. They haven’t followed me for four years and they haven’t seen exactly what I’ve done or they wouldn’t be saying that stuff."
Do the Nets like him at #11? Oh yeah.
"He's a tough, hard-nosed kid who can shoot the ball," Thorn said the night of the NBA Draft Lottery. "He's the type of player who will have a long, successful NBA career."
New aerial photography from Tom Kaminsky’s Traffic 88 chopper shows progress not just on the new Giants-Jets stadium, but also the rail station on NJ Transit’s Pascack Valley line. The line will permit fans throughout the state to transfer to the Meadowlands Complex via Secaucus Junction. Those on the Pascack Valley line will have direct service.
See for yourself at the lower center of this aerial shot. The station should be open well before Opening Night at the IZOD Center.