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Hidden gems in Brooklyn Nets free agent camp?


The Nets will bring 10 free agents with NBA experience to next week's free agent camp, headlined by four players who've played at least 82 games in the league: Donte Greene, whose 253 games with Sacramento are tops among the free agents, as well as Ivan Johnson with 125, all with Atlanta; Lance Thomas with 106, all with New Orleans; and DaJuan Summers, with 83 with Detroit, New Orleans and the Clippers.

A number of them have Nets connections. Thomas and Greene were invited to Nets training camps in the past and several were on the Nets short list on draft night, including Scott Machado and DeAndre Liggins, or considered for D-League call-ups like D.J. Kennedy.  And within the group of free agents with NBA experience and in the 22 who haven't played in the league are some gems.

Scanning the roster, the Nets seem to be putting a high priority on swingmen and particularly swingmen who can play defense. Is that an indicator that they're preparing for Alan Anderson's possible departure?  Could be. There's not a single seven-footer in camp and the tallest player on the roster, Greene at 6'11", is more a small forward.

Here's a list of players who might surprise at camp.

--DeAndre Liggins, another 6'6" "3 and D" player who's had some NBA experience. The 2014 D-League Defensive Player of the Year who's had short stints with Orlando in 2011-12; Oklahoma City in 2012-13 and with Miami this year, being cut a month before the playoffs began. He's played a total of 57 regular season NBA games the past three years along with eight playoff games with the Thunder a year ago. Athletic with a 6'11" wingspan,  he can shoot when his feet are set. Not a great decision-maker. The Nets considered drafting him in the second round back in 2011. He's 26.

--Edwin Jackson, a hyper athletic 6'3" French combo guard, is viewed as one of the top guards in France's Pro A league. Ofter seen as Tony Parker's replacement on the French national team, Jackson averaged 18 points in the French League and 14.2 in EuroCup, where he shot 40.4 percent from deep. His athleticism and length make him a top finisher at the rim.  The rap on him is that he's a tweener, not big enough to play the 2, not skilled enough to play the 1. He's 24.

--Gilbert Brown, a 6'6" "3 and D" player, that is a swingman who can both hit the three and defend.  A teammate of Jorge Gutierrez with Canton of the D-League, where he averaged 12.3 points, shot 35.3 percent from deep and was named to the D-League All-Defensive team.    Always a solid defender, Brown increased his three-point percentage each year at Pitt: going from 24.4% his redshirt freshman year to 41.3% by his senior year. He had a two-day stint with the Celtics and has played in various international leagues and was featured in a YouTube video on how a D-Leaguer spends his day.. Scouts like his skills but wonder if they translate to the NBA. He's 26.

--Trey McKinney-Jones, yet another 6'6" swingman with a versatile game. More a shooting guard than a small forward. The mainstay of this season's D-League champion Fort Wayne Mad Ants, where he averaged 15.1 points a game and shot 35.3 percent from deep. Quick with the ball, but with undeveloped skills. He's disciplined --has two college degrees from Miami-- and can lead. Had a short stint in training camp with his hometown Bucks. He's 24.

Also, it's always possible this isn't the final roster. It's not uncommon for players to drop out or for a team to bring in a late addition.  When you've got 32 spots open, a lot can happen.