The season is officially over, and the draft is fast approaching. Nine days until the 2014 Draft, which has lost some of the hype. Worse for Brooklyn fans, the Nets are not a part of it ... although it will be held at Barclays Center, where management is expecting 10,000 fans. The big issue is that a lot of teams, like the Nets who traded away picks are trying to get back in. The Pelicans, Trail Blazers, Warriors, and Knicks are also without a pick right now, but several of them have reportedly been very active trying to acquire a pick, the Knicks being "desperate."
There hasn't been much word from the Nets front office in regards to the draft. They had the Free Agent Mini Camp a few weeks back, but they have not brought in any potential draft picks for an individual workout (or if they have, they haven't publicized it). Adi Joseph of USA Today notes that Semaj Christon or Jahii Carson can be intriguing names for the Nets to target in the second round, considering the future of Shaun Livingston is in doubt. Joseph also writes that it is "it's unlikely they'll trade into the draft," but that the team can use some youth from this draft. Whether Joseph meant the first or second round is uncertain.
With many teams looking to acquire a pick, it becomes even more difficult for the Nets to acquire one. In the last few days alone, the Pelicans are said to be "aggressively" trying to get into the first round. As noted before the Knicks are "desperate" and are working out prospects slated for the mid-20's in the first round. Gary Washburn reports that from what he has gathered,"expect the Celtics to trade to get back into the second round."
Moreover, the Nets only have $2 million to spend on a pick this season, and the more valuable a pick becomes, the higher the price. Despite all that, the Nets can still acquire a pick, Billy King has said. There are several teams with a substantial amount of picks and could be looking to get better now. For example, If the Nets are willing to deal Marcus Thornton, which they reportedly are, and his expiring contract worth $8.575 million as well as the $2 million they can give up for a pick, teams can be persuaded.
The Nets would be wise to look to deal Thornton at the deadline, if that's their plan. His contract can become huge cap relief for a team next summer, and he proved in this past half-season that he can be a legitimate threat off the bench. The Nets need a young prospect who can develop with the team. Thornton may or may not be able to get the Nets into the first round, but the Sixers at #46 and Bucks at #47 can be a trade partner. Even Chicago at #49 can work, because they need some offense badly, but they'd have to willing to pay the luxury tax, which they don't ever want to.
If they could find themselves with a first round pick, Kyle Anderson could be an intriguing prospect. He is likely going to be available in the 20's and possibly 30's at this rate (Chad Ford has him at pick #26 in his latest mock, Draft Express has him going #25). Ohm Youngmisuk mentions that Anderson could play the role that Shaun Livingston played last season in Brooklyn.
"Jason Kidd's offense likes to exposes matchup problems. Kidd loved using Livingston's height in the post over smaller point guards. Anderson may not be a true point but he can handle and has vision like a point guard and has the height and length to potentially give opponents problems. Kidd, who was a walking triple-double, might be able to develop Anderson's versatile game. If Anderson slips, the Nets could look to see if there are any sellers late in the first round or early second round."
With no games on television, expect the rumor mill to get crowded with more news on the Nets and what they plan to do with their impending free agents and possibly acquiring a pick.
Draft Sleeper of the Week: Nick Johnson, 6'3" SG, Arizona
This could be a great fit IF Shaun Livingston comes back. Johnson is a super athletic scorer who can fit perfectly into the Nets spaced system. The athletic 21-year-old is only 6'3" and an average ball handle that can't play point guard at the next level. If Livingston was to return to Brooklyn, he can cancel out Johnson's height deficiency in the backcourt.
Johnson is a high motor guard who plays exceptional defense. Draft Express' Matt Kamalsky believes that Johnson has the upside that compares similarly to Avery Bradley. Despite being outsized often, Johnson hustles all over the floor and is constantly on the floor fighting for loose balls. Johnson was the leader of the number one seed Arizona Wildcats, so he knows what it is like to have a burden on him, even though he won't be asked to do much during the onset of his career. Johnson was the Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2014, averaging 16 points per game and was integral to their Elite Eight appearance.
Johnson isn't an incredible scorer, but he is a complete one; he is able to score in different ways. The most used part of his offensive game is in catch-and-shoot situations. Johnson is a pure shooting guard who thrives playing off the ball, shooting 38% from beyond the arc this past season. Johnson does get good bounce on his shot, so he is able to get his shot over taller defenders, but playing in a complementary role in the pros may do him some good so he can refine his game.
The junior captain was a first team All-American this season, and his incredible athleticism can be used by the Nets, a team that can build a freakish tandem in Mason Plumlee and Johnson off the bench. He is currently slated to go 51 in DX's latest mock, which could be right where the Nets could look to acquire a pick.
There has been little to no information about the Nets' plans in the draft, whether that means they are getting a draft pick or not. Either way, reports are going to be leaked out about the Nets' offseason plans starting any day now.
- 2014 NBA draft team needs: Brooklyn Nets - Adi Joseph - USA Today
- Draft preview: Kyle Anderson - Ohm Youngmisuk - ESPN New York
- Brooklyn Nets draft preview: Joe Harris - Ohm Youngmisuk - ESPN New York
- That should the Nets do in the NBA Draft? (Video) - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game