Utah's Delon Wright, Notre Dame's Jerian Grant, Brazil's George Lucas de Paula, all big point guards, along with swingmen from North Carolina J.P. Tokoto, and Arizona, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, were among 11 prospects the Nets spoke with at the NBA Draft Combine Thursday. They planned to talk with another six Friday.
Wright, Grant and Tokoto all fit the Nets' standard model under Billy King, veteran players from big programs. Hollis-Jefferson played two years with the Wildcats. Lucas de Paula, on the other hand, is one of the draft's youngest players. Big point guards are seen as a strength of this year's draft and Wright, Grant and Lucas de Paula all qualify at 6'5" or taller.
The Nets, who have two picks at Nos. 29 and 41, are expected to be very aggressive in preparing for the June 25 Draft at Barclays Center. The team is expected to work out at least 50 to 60 prospects between June 1 and June 25. Although the Nets have two picks, they could expand that by buying a second rounder with the $2.3 million they have available. King has said the Nets would likely take a European player and stash him if they went that route, but other than the top picks, there aren't many good international prospects this year. The Nets could also use that money in a deal to move up.
Wright is someone who has been linked to the Nets (and was our Draft Sleeper of the Week this week). He's 6'6", a solid passer and good defender. His brother is Dorell Wright of the Trail Blazers. Most draftniks have him going near the end of the first round.
Grant, 6'5", is stronger and a better passer. He led the ACC in assists this season. He's been penciled in at around No. 15 to 20. So the Nets would likely have to move up to get him. He is the brother of 76ers player Jerami Grant, as well as the son of Harvey Grant and the nephew of Horace Grant, both of whom played in the NBA.
Tokoto, 6'6", played three years at UNC and was one of the nation's top defenders at the 3. A poor shooter, he's seen as a solid second rounder, with Draft Express putting him at No. 46, ESPN at 47 and NBADraft.net at 49.
Hollis-Jefferson, 6'7", played two years at Arizona and like Tokoto, has a solid reputation for defense. Also like Tokoto, his shooting is questionable with only 20 percent of his three-point shots finding the net. He's from Chester, PA, and when asked to list the teams he's spoken with, he put Brooklyn first. He's been projected at between No. 16 and 25.
Lucas de Paula, 6'6", is 18 years old and could be a candidate for stashing. There's a lot of disagreement on whether the hyper-athletic point guard from Sao Paulo is ready. Fran Fraschilla of ESPN said Wednesday he's still two years away and colleague Chad Ford putting him at No. 58. Jonathan Givony of Draft Express, on the other hand, has him as the Nets pick at No. 29. NBADraft.net put him at 52. He compares his physical gifts with those of Deron Williams. His English skills, critical for a point guard, are limited.
- Nets looking at point guards in NBA Draft Combine interviews - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game