clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2015 NBA Draft Grade Wrap-Up: Brooklyn Nets

The grades are in!

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets had another eventful Draft Night, actively working hard to move up in efforts to nab a solid point guard for the future. How did it work out? Pundits and draftniks give us their opinions ... and this was before they signed the best of the undrafted, Cliff Alexander, to their summer league team.

Cumulative grade: B+


  • Chris McCullough (#29 pick), Freshman from Syracuse.
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (#23 pick from Portland) & Steve Blake.
  • Juan Vaulet (#39 from Charlotte).
  • Cliff Anderson (undrafted), Freshman from Kansas


  • Mason Plumlee & Pat Connaughton (#41 pick) in deal with Portland.

The Grades:


Brooklyn Nets: Both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (No. 23 via trade) and Chris McCullough (No. 29) deserve underrated labels. Hollis-Jefferson has areas where he needs to improve (shooting mainly) but all the pieces are there for him to be special. Argentina project Juan Vaulet (No. 39) won't be available for a while but he's nice to have late in the draft.

Grade: B+

Yahoo! Sports - Marc J. Spears

For a guy with a nonexistant jumper, Hollis-Jefferson could still be a high-value pick this low in the draft. Not only is he an elite defender capable of locking down point guards and wings, he also passes and rebounds well for his position and finishes deftly at the rim. Hollis-Jefferson has a good chance to have a Tony Allen-like NBA career even if his outside shot never becomes a threat.  Marc J. Spears' grade: A.

[McCullough] has some upside because of his length and athleticism, but it may be a while before he is capable of contributing. Not only is he recovering from a torn ACL that cost him the second half of his freshman season, the forward sometimes looked lost on the floor even before his injury. He averaged 9.3 points and 6.9 rebounds before getting hurt. Marc J. Spears' grade: C.

Yahoo! Sports - Ball Don't Lie:

The Nets shipped center Mason Plumlee, who was oddly in and out of the rotation last season, to Portland for Hollis-Jefferson and Blake. The Arizona product is a killer athlete, teammate, and he'll be a consummate pro, but he remains a terrible shooter with mechanics that need a complete overhaul. As we saw in Charlotte with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, even exacting attention to fixing these sorts of things oftentimes isn't enough.

McCullough was considered a lottery talent until he tore his ACL while at Syracuse, and it's possible that he'll miss all of 2015-16. Prior to the injury he still looked like a project, full of long arms but a wispy frame, but Brooklyn doesn't mind developing him at the low-low price of the penultimate pick of the first-round. Vaulet is an Argentinean athletic swingman who has quite a bit to do in order to develop an all-around NBA game.

Grade: B


Here it is, Billy King. I'm giving you an A-. The cost of Hollis-Jefferson was Mason Plumlee. But I think the team knew he'd be tough to re-sign, and in Hollis-Jefferson, the Nets got the most underrated player in the draft. Hollis-Jefferson can defend three to four positions, is a terrific athlete, a solid playmaker and a great teammate. Stacey Augmon might be his floor, but someone like Andre Iguodala could be his ceiling.

McCullough won't play next season as he recovers from a torn ACL, but had he been healthy (or stayed in school another year), I think he would've been a potential lottery pick. He's long, athletic, can stretch the floor and protect the rim. He's raw, and it's going to take a while, but he was worth the gamble at No. 29. The Nets also "bought" Juan Vaulet, Charlotte's pick at No. 39. He's an athletic swingman from Argentina who has some skills. However, his lack of a jump shot could keep him from panning out. He'll likely remain in Argentina for a while as a draft-and-stash player.


ESPN New York:

After a flurry of moves, the Nets emerged from Thursday night's draft with Hollis-Jefferson, McCullough and overseas stash Vaulet. Hollis-Jefferson, who the Nets acquired in a deal for Mason Plumlee, brings defense on the wing, but needs to vastly improve his outside shooting. McCullough could pan out to be something special as long as he recovers from the ACL injury that is likely to sideline him for the entire season. He could've been a lottery pick had he been healthy. Vaulet is not expected to be with the Nets just yet. It remains to be seen whether these moves pan out -- and it may take a while to find out -- but the Nets needed some athleticism and length, and they got some on draft night, so we'll be kind. Thumbs Up -- Mike Mazzeo

Grade: N/A

SB Nation:

The Blazers could lose LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews, which could free up minutes for young players. Enter Hollis-Jefferson, one of the draft's premier defenders. He has excellent lateral quickness and length, and plays with heart. He is an extremely poor shooter, but is a solid ball handler and his interior passing ability makes him somewhat unique for his size.

Fit: B | Opportunity: B

The Nets draft the hometown kid in McCullough, making this a perfect fit for him. He recently became a father and is closely tied to his roots, so this will probably be a comfortable situation for him. He's coming off a torn ACL, but is a terrific athlete who is capable of excelling in the pick-and-roll. He's raw overall, but should receive some opportunity to develop depending on how Brooklyn constructs their roster.

Fit: A | Opportunity: B


Brooklyn was high on Hollis-Jefferson throughout the process, and they ultimately got their man at the price of Mason Plumlee. That move could end up going either way, as both players are pretty flawed. It's hard to judge it either way. Plumlee could have acted as insurance in case Brook Lopez leaves, but Hollis-Jefferson will bring terrific, high-energy defense that Lionel Hollins will appreciate. Blake will act as insurance if they trade Jarrett Jack, but I'd still probably rather take a shot on Connaughton.

McCullough will ultimately hold the key to this draft, as he's a high-upside guy that could go either way. Is he a prototypical 4 in the NBA at 6-9 with a near 7-3 wingspan, or is he a guy who never really recovers from his knee injury and struggles to play with the speed of the NBA? Juan Vaulet is kind of a surprise to end up in Brooklyn given that most thought he'd end up in San Antonio due to the connection with Manu Ginobili's brother. However, he's a long, athletic wing that may eventually become something.

Grade: B-

Sporting News:

Hollis-Jefferson could be one of the sleepers in this draft. He is arguably the best defensive wing of his class and has the elite athleticism teams look for in a prospect. He's a fantastic rebounder and a great finisher around the rim.

If his jump shot wasn't broken, Hollis-Jefferson would've been knocking on the door of the lottery. He'll work his way into minutes by being a defensive specialist off the Nets bench.

That he cost Mason Plumlee and the No. 41 pick (sent to the Blazers for Hollis-Jefferson and Steve Blake) isn't as big a deal because of how poorly Plumlee played in the second half of last season and because of the Nets other first-rounder.

McCullough might be an even bigger sleeper than Hollis-Jefferson. He entered the draft too early -- a knee ligament tear ended his college career after 16 games -- but he showed so much athleticism and skill that he had people talking about him as a lottery talent.

Grade: A

Sports Illustrated:

In one of the biggest moves of the night, the Nets traded Mason Plumlee and Pat Connaughton to Portland for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Steve Blake. The Blazers needed a big man with LaMarcus Aldridge reportedly on the brink of leaving the team. Hollis-Jefferson is an elite defender; he has great length and quickness and a 7-foot wingspan. Like Justin Anderson, Hollis-Jefferson will have to work on polishing his offensive game. One-dimensional wing defenders are rare—Tony Allen is probably the best of the bunch. But if Hollis-Jefferson can add layers to his game with some kind of perimeter skills, he could stick in Brooklyn's thin rotation

Grade B-

You’re going to read "Chris McCullough" and "steal" a lot, as there will be many people pointing out that before McCullough’s knee injury he was projected as a mid-first-round pick. McCullough is an athlete. He excels in the open floor, has a decent jump shot and beats defenders off the dribble with long strides. He badly needs to add weight. There is no way a 200-pound power forward can survive in today’s NBA, unless he shoots like Stephen Curry. McCullough doesn’t.

Grade B+

Boston Globe:

Briefly: The Nets had a late first-round pick and took McCullough, who likely won’t play much next season but has potential. They sacrificed Mason Plumlee for Hollis-Jefferson, who should immediately become a rotation player and top-notch defender. This wasn’t a bad reward for a team that has traded a lot of picks to the Celtics. Vaulet was acquired from the Hornets and will likely be stashed.

Grade: B+

New York Post:

Yes, they lost Mason Plumlee and they did not get immediate help. But they landed Chris McCullough, recovering from a blown-out knee, and traded for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, viewed as a steal when originally snagged by the Blazers at No. 23. The Arizona product has a "broken shot," according to one exec, but if it gets fixed, with his defense, the Nets have something.

"I really like what the Nets did," Marks said of his old team. "I liked McCullough at 29. When picking that late, you’re looking for something that might pan out [later]. What he’ll be is your first-round pick next year. And Hollis-Jefferson is a big-time defender, a good athlete."


Toronto Star:

Armed only with the second-last pick of the first round, the Nets came away with stopper Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and a replacement for Mason Plumlee in Chris McCullough, who models his game after Plumlee, as well as a plucky Argentine.


Looks like the Nets did pretty good with the hand they were dealt, at least according to the draftniks. Not everyone liked the deal.  Nick Martin of Deadspin called it "dumb," arguing...

Brooklyn is giving Portland one of the better rim-runners in the league in Plumlee, who is entering his third NBA season, as well as a promising 3-and-D prospect in Connaughton. In return, the Nets are getting a point guard nearing the end of his career and an athletic wing who can only play defense.