Juan Pablo Vaulet, the 6'6" combo guard the Nets took in the second round last June, will return to action in Argentina Monday night. four months after the team's foot and ankle specialist repaired a fractured tibia. Vaulet, who won't turn 20 until March, says he's stronger and more patient than he was before the surgery. He admits he still has some discomfort but has been cleared to play.
There's no timetable for him joining the Nets, he noted.
In an interview with La Nueva Provincia, his local paper in Bahia Blanca, Vaulet joked that gaining patience was critical "because I'm pretty fast." The Nets traded two second round picks and $880,000 to Charlotte for his rights on Draft Night.
Initially, Vaulet said he went through a period asking "why does this happen to me?" It was his second fracture to his ankles in two and a half years. After that, he said, he settled into his recovery and rehab, appreciating rest, training and discipline.
Vaulet's future remains unsettled. He could stay in Argentina, move to Europe or be signed by either Brooklyn or its new Long Island Nets D-League team. Under D-League rules, second round picks can sign with a team's affiliate without counting against the parent club's roster. He is seen as more of a long term project, but may still be growing and has great length and athleticism although his shooting leaves a lot to be desired. Vaulet said his release and his physique are the two things he needs to most improve.
"I know that a development process lies ahead, in trying to reach the United States," he told Clarin, a Buenos Aires newspaper. "No rushing anything. If it can be next year It will be next year, if it has to be in five years will be in five and you need to be in ten will be in ten. It is now possible, everything will depend on me, my preparation, my development and my enjoyment of the process."
Pepe Sanchez, the former NBA point guard and owner of Bahia Blanca, said the team would not object to his joining the Nets despite his contract with the Argentine club. Sanchez, who got his career start when Billy King signed him out of Temple, told Clarin he doesn't see Vaulet taking more than two years to reach his NBA goal. He also called him the most athletic player Argentina has ever produced.
Vaulet's surgery was performed by Dr. Martin O'Malley, the Nets foot and ankle specialist and paid for by the Nets. The Bahia Blanca trainer worked with O'Malley and the Nets sfaff on his rehab regimen, visiting with them in recent weeks.