Its never too early to think about the draft. After all, the Nets have been known to scout 16-year-olds! With the team having two first round picks--one of which could be a lottery pick--and a second rounder, interest will be high come June...or even earlier if the team doesn't make the playoffs.
Mock drafts, which are never as good as they are the day before the draft, are predicting that the Nets will go for big men...in spite of the recent influx of young centers and forwards.
So far, only one player, Ryan Anderson, the sweet-shooting 6'10" Cal power forward, is showing up as a Nets' pick in more than one mock draft. He is projected as a Nets' first rounder by Draft Express and their second rounder by ESPN. (ESPN doesn't match teams with picks yet, but does rank the Top 100, so we matched the Nets current draft position with their rankings)
Here is the list, mock by mock, of who draftniks see the Nets picking.
16. Tyler Smith, Tennessee small forward, 6'7"
24. Alexis Ajinca, France center/power forward, 7'0"
46. Marcelus Kemp, Nevada shooting guard, 6'5"
15. Anthony Randolph, LSU power forward/shooting forward 6'11"
24. Ryan Anderson, Cal power forward, 6'10"
45. D.J. White, Indiana power forward, 6'9"
15. Russell Westbrook, UCLA combo guard, 6'4"
24. Kosta Koufos, Ohio State center, 7'1"
45. Jason Thompson, Rider center, 6'10"
15. Marreese Speights, Florida center 6'10"
24. Hasheem Thabeet, UConn center 7'3"
45. Ryan Anderson, Cal power forward, 6'10"
Who have the Nets scouted? Kiki Vandeweghe drove down to Rutgers last month to take a look at Thabeet. It was the UConn center's worst game this season. He was 0-for-7 and had several turnovers. And remember, the Nets were quite impressed last year by Cal's 6'10" Devon Hardin who worked out with them before deciding to stay in school for another year. Since then, his draft stock has actually dropped as he and Cal are having a lacklustre year.
For the record, the draft will be held at 7 p.m. June 26 at Madison Square Garden.