The Nets are now around halfway through their workout schedule, after looking at six prospects on Thursday, including three teenagers, two of whom who could be on the board when they first pick at No. 29 ... if of course that is their first pick. Billy King is unusually active on Draft Day.
The headliner Thursday was George Lucas de Paula, the 6'6" point guard from Brazil who's been all over the mock drafts. but often matched with the Nets, but a player to watch going forward could be Anthony Brown of Stanford.
Lucas de Paula is someone the Nets have seen now multiple times. Gregg Polinsky, the team's chief scout as director of player development, thinks he sees some improvement in the 18-year-old already.
"I think he’s really improved, just picking things up and (with) structure," Polinsky said. Would the Nets take a chance on someone this young, this inexperienced? "When you project and you take a little bit of a leap of faith on a guy, because you think the upside outweighs the safer pick, if you will, a guy with a bigger resume, these are things that we all have to go through and decide on."
Another teenager in the group, 19-year-old Dakari Johnson of Kentucky ... and Brooklyn's Fort Greene, is trying to make people believe that even though he played behind three other Wildcat bigs, he's worth a pick. "They still have a lot of film to look at from me," said the seven-footer. "but also coming into this setting, and just working out in this setting, I can show them a lot of things they haven't seen before like my shooting."
"Obviously he’s not an elite athlete, but he makes up for it with good hands, good size, and understands where to be on the court and how to position himself," Polinsky said of Johnson, who grew up within easy walking distance of Barclays Center. The Nets have never had a Brooklyn native on the team since moving.
“It would be a dream come true,” Johnson said of the prospect noting the arena is near his first home, elementary school and his grandmother’s house. “My whole family is from down here."
One of the most intriguing prospects seen in recent workouts is not a teenager. Brown is nearly 23, a Stanford senior. While Lucas de Paula and Johnson are projected in the 40's by Draft Express, Brown, a 6'7" swingman is right in the Nets first round sweet spot at No. 31. A tough defender and 46 percent shooter from the arc, Johnson showed off a keen intelligence and maturity in interviews.
"Every team needs something different," said Brown who was seeking joking around with Lionel Hollins. "For me, I want to be a 3-and-D guy. So just going around allows me to showcase my work with multiple teams and whichever team likes me the best, I'll try to fit in."
The Nets will have hold more workouts next week, Monday through Thursday. Assuming they stick with the six-player format, that would put the number of prospects worked out and interviewed at 54, with a week before the June 25 draft.
- Video: 2015 Draft Workouts - Day 5 (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Nets host three for pre-draft workouts - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
A Brooklyn Homecoming in the Making - Alex Raskin - Wall Street Journal
- George Lucas De Paula cites Deron Williams as an influence - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game