With the NBA Draft drawing closer, the Nets still don't have a consensus choice in the most recent mock drafts. The closest is Gorgiu Dieng, who is named as the Nets pick in two of the top four mocks. Dieng, the 6'11" big from Louisville, will work out for the Nets at PNY Center in the coming weeks, reports Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York.
Other than Dieng, one thing mocks do agree on is that the Nets will likely select a veteran college player from a big program, that is someone ready to play.
Dieng could come in and use his 6'11" frame to be a backup center and be a prolific shot blocker. He was the anchor of the top ranked defense at Louisville this past season, but his most intriguing trait comes on offense. Dieng, for his size, is a fine passer from the block and can create for others down low. His passing ability makes others around him better, something centers can't do often in this league.
The question is how much room for improvement is left for 23-year-old Senegal native. Dieng also has a very limited offensive game, despite his passing abilities. He shot 20% --not a typo-- in the post during his senior campaign, and too often reverts to his right hand. Dieng could get some playing time at power forward with Lopez filling the center position. The two could match up neatly with Dieng being the defensive enforcer and Lopez garnering more offensive touches. Worked after a fashion this season.
Dieng, considered a possible lottery pick early on, has now slipped due to an ankle sprain that kept him out of the Draft Combine in Chicago.
Another name that has recently been connected to Brooklyn, Allen Crabbe, 6'6" off-guard from California, has been steadily rising on many team's draft boards. In their latest mock. Draft Express has Crabbe going at #22 to Brooklyn
Crabbe was the leader of the California squad that upset number five seed UNLV, then helped the Golden Bears win the Pac-12 tournament. Crabbe averaged 18.7 points per game for Cal along with a shooting percentage of 46% for the year. Crabbe is noted for his catch-and-shoot ability. He shot 44% off of passes and off of screens. The junior has a quick release and good footwork that make it easy to get good looks in an offense.
Crabbe is an average defender at the moment, but he needs to add more weight to his 6'6" frame. His 6'11" wingspan gives him the potential to be a solid defender. The one real issue for Crabbe, besides his lack of bulk, is his attitude. Crabbe has noted that he needs to have more of a killer instinct out on the floor and be more aggressive at times, but scouts wonder if he has that ability.
On the Nets, Crabbe could play some small forward with his length, as well as shooting guard, his more natural position, as well. He can spread the floor and could allow Joe Johnson and Deron Williams to take players one-on-one, something the Nets wished to do more effectively last season.
The third prospect on recent mock drafts is Miami's Shane Larkin.
Larkin had an incredible sophomore year at the U, but there were doubts of his pro potential and if his game would translate to the next level. However, Larkin debunked all critical thoughts when he stole the show at the Draft Combine. The sub-6-foot guard not only set a Combine record with a 44'' max vertical jump, (that mark was broken by D.J Stephens at the group workout in East Rutherford a week later), but also ran the second fastest 3/4 sprint in Chicago. Stephens topped that mark too in the Nets Group Workout.
Larkin is now seen as one of, if not, the most athletic prospect in the entire draft, and Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated believes that the Nets would select him at pick 22.
His most glaring weakness is his size, just 5'11.5" in shoes. Although, Larkin shoots very efficiently. He shot just under 48% from the floor last season and 40% from the three-point line. He is aggressive and has great court vision with leadership characteristics. Larkin continues to beat the odds with his height by the way he plays defense. He plays with reckless abandon out on the court and averaged two steals a game during his sophomore campaign.
Larkin, though, still has some chinks in his armor. For one, Larkin doesn't get to the line much, and doesn't finish well when bigger bodies bang him around. Larkin needs to develop a more refined game in the lane, such as adding a floater to his repertoire before he is considered a true point guard in the league.
Mannix does note that the Nets would be hoping for a big man like Dieng to fall to 22 by the way his mock plays out, but Larkin would do. He writes that Larkin would be a great change-of-pace guard that can be a fine backup to Williams. If C.J Watson doesn't return to Brooklyn next season (he has a player option worth 1.1 million he has to decide upon), the backup point guard position will become a need for Brooklyn—the team would need competition for Tyshawn Taylor to try and win the job.
These three prospects, different by all accounts, could bring something the Nets need. Whether it be size, shooting, or speed, the Nets would be playing it relatively safe with either of the trio.
However, with the way mock drafts and opinions have been changing, expect a new group of prospects the Nets could select to come up as the draft draws nearer.
- Gorgui Dieng to work out for Knicks, Nets - Jared Zwerling - ESPN New York
- Making Your Way Through the Mocks - Ben Couch - Brooklyn Nets