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NetsDaily Off-Season Report #6


We're still about the Draft which is now 11 days away.  Rumors will fly and rightly so, word is that Draft Night will be insane, with trades of players and picks. It may take a day or two for the dust to settle.

The Nets will work out 24 players this week, bringing the total by week's end to 54 ... with another week to go.  There's no solid first rounder in this week's batch of players and a handful of second rounders.  The majority will go undrafted.  The final week could be interesting, with Rashad Vaughn and Joseph Young expected in.

But what have we learned this week? Anything?

Draft Sleeper of the Week

How could we have missed it?! (Slaps head). How could we have not seen this?!? All this sturming and dranging and speculating on the likes of Brazilian teenagers with braces!

What about Anthony Brown of Stanford? If you go by logic, by history, you'd have to say the 6'7" swingman checks all the Nets --and Billy King's-- boxes.

--Mature, articulate (x)

--Third or fourth year player (x)

--Big college program (x)

--Good defender (x)

And oh yeah, he's repped by Jeff Schwartz's firm, Excel Sports Management.

Brown has also shown that he has the character to recover from serious setbacks, as Draft Express lays out...

Anthony Brown was a highly regarded recruit out of high school, but spent most of his first two seasons as a solid, but unspectacular role player for the Stanford Cardinal. To make matters worse, his junior season was derailed due to a congenital hip condition that required surgery and forced him to sit out for the entire year. He was all but an afterthought by the time he suited up as a redshirt junior in 2013-2014.

What happened next took everybody by surprise. Brown emerged as a 46% 3-point shooter and was an essential component to Stanford's Sweet 16 run on his way to being named the Pac-12's Most Improved Player. No longer a surprise and finally playing up to his high school potential, scouts will want to see whether Brown's breakout season was something he can build off towards showing he's worthy of a NBA roster spot as a senior.

In that same vein, Brown showed a certain confidence (within a certain humility) in his comments to Nets cameras during the workout.

"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."

Although Draft Express hasn't put together one of their comprehensive video analyses on Brown, but it did a film study of a game between Stanford and Arizona and thus between Brown and Stanley Jones, projected as a high lottery pick and a good defender in his own right.  Brown held his own.

Other Draft Notes

Timothe Luwawu has until 5 p.m. on Monday to drop out of the draft, as do a number of international prospects. Luwawu, just turned 20, had wanted a first round guarantee. He apparently didn't get one. Jonathan Givony of Draft Express has removed Luwawu from this year's mock draft and inserted into 2016, when of course the Nets have no pick.

We hope Bobby Ray Parks Jr. gets a chance this week in his Nets workout. He won't be drafted, but just having the Philippines top young player in camp is getting the team's many, many Pinoy fans excited. That's a good thing.  Parks has been training in Indiana.

What are we hearing up top? It's GM poker for the next 10 days, with lots of feints, fakes, agent talk and unadulterated lies.

That said, the most likely scenario is that some combination of Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor up top. Then, Philly will take D'Angelo Russell. Despite the news about Joel Embiid possibly needing more surgery --and that IS the bottom line-- it's highly unlikely that Russell gets beyond No. 3.

The Knicks, we are told, want Russell badly and he would prefer New York over Philadelphia but that's not happening. That will leave Phil Jackson with a choice: Justise Winslow perhaps, Kristaps Prozingis maybe?  Willie Cauley-Stein?  The first of those three choices is the most likely because Winslow is the more NBA-ready.  The Knicks conundrum is that they are built around a 31-year-old superstar who they owe $100 million ... and has a bad knee. Porzingis may very well be the smart choice, but like all big men and like all international rookies, he will take some time. Besides, the fan base is so scarred by Andrea Bargnani right now.

ALL that said, don't be surprised if the Knicks make a deal on Draft Night. Don't be surprised if this isn't the most active Draft Night ever, beating last year's record. Draft picks are more valued than ever, considering players taken in the first round this year will be paid under the rookie salary scale for four years. Starting next summer, those deals, particularly if you strike gold, will be bargains, when compared to the TV - inflated salary cap.

A word to the wise about getting excited for the Nets picks. Unless they move up, they are unlikely to get a player who can help immediately.  Tony Parker and Toni Kukoc may have been taken next to last in the first round but so was Marquis Teague

The general belief is that this year's draft is not deep and historically, picks at Nos. 29 and 41 don't produce great players or in some cases players who outlast their rookie contracts.  Take a look at the draft five years ago.
For the record, 28 of the 60 picks in 2011 draft aren't in the NBA or never played in NBA. In 2010, number is 33 of the 60 picks.

The highest pick in the 2010 draft who's out of the NBA is Xavier Henry at No. 12. The highest pick in 2011 draft who's out of the NBA is Jan Vesely, No. 6.

Draft out.

D-League Reform

We paid a lot of attention this week to an article in the D-League Digest. In it, Gino Pilato interviewed Jed Kaplan, minority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies and managing partner of their D-League affiliate the Iowa Energy.  Kaplan thinks teams without D-League affiliates are, in his words, "crazy and they’re missing the boat.

"I feel at this point the only hesitation is what we’d have to do to get this started up. I don’t get a franchise that doesn’t see value in this."

The Nets, of course, had a hybrid D-League affiliate, then dropped of the league a year ago and are now considering going back in ... "in a couple of years," as Billy King said, a bit vaguely, a week ago.

Ownership and management had some issues with the way the league is run, and Kaplan, a leading D-League advocate, thinks there are needs for reform, including in salary structure.  Right now, players are paid an "A", "B", or "C" salary at $25,500, $19,000, or $13,000 respectively.  They can make a LOT more overseas.

Kaplan also doesn't like the idea that a team can scout, sign and nurture a D-Leaguer in their system, only to have another team swoop in and sign them. He has an idea there as well.

"Right now if you sign a player (to the D-League) somebody else can sign them," Kaplan said. "At least give the parent club the first right of refusal."

Kaplan and the Grizziles got stunk that way this past season, when the Miami Heat signed Hassan Whiteside after just a few games in the D-League. The Grizzlies got no compensation. Once the Heat moved on Whiteside, the issue --and the promising center-- was out of their hands.

Bottom line for Kaplan.  "If you look at how many impact players are truly developed (in the D-League), it’s like having another draft pick, or two or three per team," Kaplan said. "What is the value of that? It’s a lot more than what the hybrid costs."

That should resonate with the Nets brass.  Expect more info on Brooklyn's D-League plans soon.

What about Brook?

Despite the news this week that Jason Kidd may pursue Brook Lopez with the Bucks wealth of cap space, league sources still like the Nets chances better than anyone else's.  Nothing is every signed, sealed and delivered until it's signed, sealed and delivered, but the Nets hold several advantages including more money, more years and a higher comfort level. 

Besides, when he was coach of the Nets, Kidd wasn't that enamored of Lopez's game.  Be more concerned about those considering offering him a max deal three years ago -- the Trail Blazers and the Hornets. The Blazers become a bigger threat if LaMarcus Aldridge decamps, probably for Dallas. Robin Lopez is also a free agent this season and bringing his brother might keep him around.

But that's two weeks away!!  Be still, our hearts.

Westbrook's frames

Sports writers, never paragons of fashion, can critique Russell Westbrook's style all they want, but it's making him money and giving Nets fans a chance to further outfit themselves in black-and-white with his Westbrook Frames, which are debuting this week.  Westbrook Frames, in conjunction with the NBA, are offering frames in the colors of seven NBA clubs, including the Nets.

Do we think there's a market?  Well, there's a market for team-branded underwear.

Shoutout to Marc Stein

Marc Stein is one of our favorite writers.  He gets the story, gets it accurate and very often first. If he's writing something, we know he's vetted it and unlike some of his colleagues, it's never personal.  So that's why his tweet on Saturday was so appreciated.

Now some might say that he's gently tweaking our propensity for highlighting any celebrity wearing Nets gear. We don't care.  We just like that he mentioned us ... and where the hell is that vine?!?

Crane City

How long you might ask will there be cranes high in the sky over Barclays and down the streets bordering the arena?  Try like 2025.  No, we are NOT exaggerating.  Pacific Park, formerly Atlantic Yards, is in full swing, with no fewer than five buildings under construction in some form and more to come, as we have noted before and which the Times wrote about on Friday.

Here are new or updated renderings of what the neighborhood around the Nets home is going to look like, taken from the Pacific Park website.

And the planned park space...

We've also learned that Bruce Ratner and his Chinese partner, Greenland, have hired a number of well-known architects to design the towers.  SHoP, which won a boatload of awards for its design of Barclays, is doing three towers --of 33, 23 and 55 towers-- on the arena's edges, two of which are under construction.

CookFox, one of the city's most versatile architects, has the two 18-story buildings at 535 Carlton and 550 Vanderbilt, both on corners with Dean Street.  Kohn, Pederson Fox, a big international firm, has 615 Dean Street, a 27-story building between the two CookFox towers, and Marvel Architects, a newer firm, will be designing yet another Dean Street tower, just behind Barclays at 6th Avenue. It will also be 27 towers, with a school for 616 students at its base. Renderings for the last two buildings have yet to be released.

So what will Barclays Center look like when all the cranes are down?  This is the only image we've seen of the grand scale.  (It was shown in China, where a lot of the financing comes from ... and there's even a marketing campaign)

What? You don't see it? It's buried in that forest of towers at the left of the picture. Among those towers, by the way, is a huge office tower where the arena entrance plaza now sits and residential towers on the property now occupied by P.C. Richard and Modell's.

Think a project the size of Rockefeller Plaza, just mostly residential.

Final Note

We now think that even if Shekinah Young, Thaddeus Young's wife, isn't auditioning for a reality show with her tweets, producers of that genre might want to follow her.  There's TV gold there.  Consider the following tweets from her and him in the last few days alone and tell us we're wrong!

She also offers food reviews...

And updates on her conditioning...

And complains about hubby's clutter...

But she and the Nets forward share some, um, endearing moments as well.

Do NOT change, Mrs. Young!  Mr. Young either.