FanPost

Nets Draft Targets

Here are the players that I think the Nets should target to get in this coming draft:

In terms of need, I would put the needs for the Nets at - a big man, then SG, then the BPA in PGs or SFs with a small bias towards PGs. Included below is a cutoff player, meaning the Nets will only be likely to be able to attain players below that player in the draft. Or in other words, the player the Nets won't be able to get high enough to get, so he's the upper limit. All quotes from Draftexpress

Power Forward: Cutoff player: John Henson Target: Terrence Jones

An incredibly versatile and talented player with clear-cut NBA tools, Jones was an elite player in the college game when he was zoned in, but the difficulties he has had making his presence felt on a consistent basis, staying focused for entire games, and not pouting when things don't go his way remain disconcerting.
In projecting where Jones may fit best at the next level, it is worth noting that last season he appeared to be more stuck between the forward positions than he does now. The Oregon native is a versatile scorer with the ability to shoot the ball (inconsistently) from the perimeter, put the ball on the floor and attack the basket off the dribble, earn some easy looks running in transition, make plays in the post, and finish explosively at the rack. Considering his array of talents and defensive tools, Jones could surely spend some time at the small forward position in the NBA.

Despite that, he may be better equipped to operate as a face-up power forward early on at the next level, where he'd be far more of a mismatch. Connecting on 34% of his jump shots, almost none of which came from the midrange, as a freshman and sophomore according to Synergy Sports Technology, Jones has the ability to keep defenses honest with his somewhat long, loose shooting mechanics. However, the more time he spends on the perimeter the more likely he is to fall into the habit of settling for long shots, which takes away from perhaps his greatest strength, making athletic plays around the rim, crashing the glass and finishing.
Defensively, Jones has all the tools to be an effective defensive player at the next level. Constantly pushed on that end of the floor by John Calipari, Jones's blend of lateral quickness, length, and leaping ability made him a versatile defensive player in the post and away from the basket at the college level. He gave up position too deep inside at times, and will inevitably struggle against stronger interior scorers like Kevin Love and Al Jefferson at the NBA level, but is able to bother shooters with his length, deny dribble penetration very effectively away from the rim, and can provide a presence in the paint.

Center:

Cutoff player: Tyler Zeller

Target: Meyers Leonard

Leonard's intrigue starts with his excellent physical profile, as he possesses the ideal traits for a prototypical NBA center. Standing 7-feet tall with a long wingspan and a developing frame that should continue to fill out nicely in time, Leonard moves very fluidly for a player his size, running the floor well and showing solid explosiveness, vertically and laterally.

On the offensive end, over 40% of Leonard's possessions came with his back to the basket, where he showed flashes of potential but also displayed that that he's still a work-in-progress. Not the most naturally self-confident player around, he lacks assertiveness establishing deep position and calling for the ball at times, but adding strength as a sophomore seemed to help, and he looked to be fighting harder and embracing more contact during points in the season, which are positive signs for his development.

Leonard's physical tools make him a rare and very intriguing prospect defensively, especially as his frame continues to fill out. He did a better job denying deep post position this season and generally displayed a good effort level, which combined with his size and length, makes him an effective one-on-one defender on the interior, as players have trouble scoring over the top of him.

With Dion Waiters rumored to have a promise from a team in the lottery, perhaps the Suns at 13, there's not a whole lot of appealing SG options aside from him.
Point Guard: Cutoff Player: Kendall Marshall Targets: Marquis Teague

Teague's physical attributes stand out immediately as among his most impressive attributes, as he has good size and excellent athleticism for the point guard position. Continuing to play with the very fast pace style he was known for prior to stepping foot in Lexington, Teague's blazing speed was on full display all year long, where he played as crucial a role as anyone in Kentucky's highly efficient fast break.

Looking at Teague's game, his fast break prowess is certainly the first thing that stands out projecting to the next level, where he'd be very well served to be drafted by a team playing with an up-tempo pace. Teague has relentless attacking instincts pushing the ball forward whenever it gets into his hands, and he shows a tight and controlled handle at high speeds with the ball. His nose for getting to the rim is excellent and he shows a pretty good feel for the game overall in transition, doing a good job of weaving through defenders and finding his way to the basket.

Teague's passing game on the break is also impressive, though it's prone to taking a backseat at times, as he knows he has the step to get around anyone once he gets a full head of steam. Still, he shows good vision on the move finding players both spotting up for jumpers and on dump-offs around the rim, and he did a good share of dishing out to all his teammates on the break this year.

In the half court, Teague is much more of a question mark, and he will likely have some transitioning to do at the next level in most situations he could be drafted into. Teague's pick-and-roll game is the aspect of his offense most likely to immediately translate to the NBA, where he could actually benefit from the NBA's stylistic differences from college.

On the defensive end, Teague shows outstanding tools with excellent lateral quickness, very good size and length, and flashes of strong aggressiveness getting up into his man. He's prone to letting up out of his stance at times, didn't always get his hand up to contest shots, and showed some complacency on this end of the court throughout the year, but clearly has the tools to be a very effective defender early in his career in the NBA. His combination of speed and wiry strength gives him a nice ability to quickly get through screens when he's putting in the effort as well, which bodes well for his potential defending pick-and-rolls at the next level.

Tony Wroten

Standing somewhere between 6-5 and 6-6 with a solid frame, good length, and very good overall athleticism,Tony Wroten has a great set of tools for the shooting guard position, and even better one for a combo or point guard. Wroten plays with a very aggressive mentality on the offensive end, taking full advantage of his physical attributes at this level.

Wroten's offensive game revolves heavily on his ability to attack the basket off the dribble, both in the half court and transition. He's a very ball dominant player who sees the majority of his looks in isolations or pick-and-rolls, being a Tyreke Evans-esqe force at times lowering his shoulder and barreling his way into the lane.

On the defensive end, Wroten has actually had a more consistently positive season, being an effective defender overall having fewer problems than on the offensive side of the ball. With his superior size, strength, length, and instincts, Wroten has spectacular potential on this end of the floor, and is a very effective man-to-man defender at the two-guard spot when he locks in. He's very prone to gambling, be it swiping at the ball in isolation situations or lunging into the passing lanes, but he has excellent anticipation and hands, which leads to a lot of disruptive plays for him, as well as plenty of steals and rebounds. He is prone to letting out of his stance and his urgency level can drop when things aren't going well for him, but overall he has good tools to guard the two-guard or combo-guard spot well in the pros, and could be an excellent defender if he truly commits himself.


Small Forward: Cutoff player: Perry Jones Targets: Terrence Ross

On the offensive end, Ross' role still largely revolves around his jump shot, with nearly 40% of his shots coming from behind the three-point arc, and 2/3rds of his half-court attempts coming on jumpers. His shooting percentage behind the arc is up slightly from 35.2% to 38.4% this season, but he's also been taking more difficult shots due to his expanded role and has looked impressive in a variety of areas.

The defensive end may be the area where Ross has improved most as a sophomore, as he's been much more consistent in applying himself, being a real terror both on and off the ball. Ross' size and athleticism allow him to be a superb defender in isolation, and he's combined those tools with the aggressiveness needed this season. He plays right up into his man and moves his feet well to stay in front, but his excellent recovery speed allows him to frequently extend himself and still get back in time, making him a very disruptive force.

Quincy Miller

After establishing himself as one of the premier players in the nation in the high school class of 2011, Baylor's Quincy Miller tore his ACL in December of senior year and missed the remainder of the season and all of the all-star games in the spring.

Despite this setback, the Chicago native still entered college with the expectations of a top recruit, and so far he's done a solid job, emerging as a key member for a 23-5 Baylor squad, including some big games displaying his versatility as a scorer.

Miller has been fairly inconsistent, being held scoreless one game (such as this past Monday at Texas) and going off for 29 points against one of the top teams in college basketball (Missouri late January) in another.

Miller's intrigue from an NBA standpoint starts with the physical tools that he brings to the table, as he possesses great size for a small forward prospect at 6-9, with a wingspan reportedly measured (by Baylor) at 7-4.

His wiry, under-developed frame does not look NBA-ready at this stage, but considering the fact that he turned 19 only a few months ago (November), he should continue to fill out in time.

While he isn't the most dynamic athlete and looks to still be getting some of his explosiveness back from his knee injury, he moves very fluidly for a player his size, looking comfortable playing on the perimeter on both ends of the floor.

On top of his physical tools, Miller has a very high skill level for a player at his age and size, most notably his versatility as a scorer.

Coach Scott Drew utilizes him in a variety of ways and has him catching the ball in different areas of the floor off of screens, cuts, spotting up, posting up, or creating for himself in isolation sets or on the fast break.

Miller has shown flashes of being effective in each of these areas and has great potential for growth offensively as he continues to get stronger and more experienced.

This versatility is something that can surely be harnessed in the NBA, which is heavily oriented around exploiting mismatches at different positions. With Miller's ability to create his own shot on the perimeter, make 3-pointers or utilize his superior size in the paint, he could be a very difficult player to game-plan against on a nightly basis, especially considering his solid passing skills.

Defensively, it's tough to get a great gauge on Miller as a man-to-man defender, since Baylor uses a zone as their primary defense. It appears that he'll have quite a bit of work to do, however, as his defensive fundamentals seem to be lacking, as he struggles to get in a low stance on the perimeter and has below average lateral quickness for his position.

What's intriguing about Miller is he clearly has the potential to be very dangerous on this end of the floor, with his excellent size and length at the small forward position. His 7-4 wingspan enables him to contest opponents' shots even from a half step away from his man, giving him a cushion to take away driving angles.

Even when he gets beat he's often agile enough to still put himself in position to make a play at the rim, helping him get plenty of blocks, steals and rebounds due to his sheer length and anticipation skills.

Jeff Taylor

Taylor has turned into an excellent jump shooter, knocking down an outstanding 43.2% of his 5.3 attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted while ranking as one of the best perimeter shooters amongst small forwards in our database. To put this feat in perspective, he was making 9.1% of 0.5 attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted just two years ago. His form has improved significantly, far quicker and more fluid than in the past. Furthermore, though he is primarily a spot-up shooter at this stage in his career, his form stays relatively consistent with or without a hand in his face.

In addition to his significant improvement as a shooter, he has made some progress developing his game off of the dribble. The results here have been mixed overall, however, largely consistent with many of our past observations. While Taylor possesses a quick first step and does look more comfortable putting the ball on the floor, his average ball-handling skills limit him primarily to straight line drives at the basket.

While Taylor's offensive game remains a work in progress, he is still an outstanding defender who should be able to contribute immediately in the NBA on that end of the floor. While his reported 6'6 wingspan is unimpressive to say the least, he has excellent lateral quickness to stay in front of all but the quickest point guards and the strength to guard four positions at the collegiate level. Furthermore, and as we have written before, his fundamentals are superb across the board, giving him the chance to be a real presence on this end of the floor at the next level.

There you go, the 7 guys I think the Nets should be looking at the most come draft day. Perhaps even maybe just 4 because Terrence Jones and Terrence Ross are players you'd have to be really lucky to obtain and if you want immediate contributors, Quincy Miller is more of an undervalued project player right now than a ready NBA contributor.
I particularly like Jeff Taylor, since he fits the mold of the "three and D" NBA role player pretty much perfectly. But Meyers Leonard is the absolute dream to plug our gaping big man needs.

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