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Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: "I want to be elite defender"

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets drafted Rondae Hollis-Jefferson last week based primarily on his defense and in discussing his skills with ESPN's Ryan Ruocco, he made a bold statement about fulfilling his promise.

"I feel like once I study more and take defensive concepts in, I'll be one of the elite defenders in this league," RHJ told Ruocco who as a YES announcer  will see a lot of the 6'7" wing from Arizona next season.

Hollis-Jefferson was asked what the Nets said they liked about him.  The 20-year-old said it was a number of things, not just his 'D.'

"[They] "loved how hard I played. The little things they need, they feel they can use a lot of help there," he said.

As for what he thinks he can bring, Hollis-Jefferson noted strengths and weaknesses.

"Defensive guy...good passer, playmaker. Find teammates. Have an okay midrange game. Working on outside shot." RHJ has been criticized for having poor shot mechanics.

Hollis-Johnson was taken by the Trail Blazers with the 23rd pick but traded to the Nets along with Steve Blake for Mason Plumlee.  He had joked that he didn't realize the trade rumors were true until he was asked to take off his Portland cap. At that point, he said, "I "wish I could've gone back on stage with the Nets hat for Nets fans."

RHJ had another "moment" Monday atop the HSS Training Center in Industry City.

Meanwhile, David Aldridge of NBA.com and TNT wrote in his Monday column that he thought the Portland trade was a better move than the Nets taking the injured Chris McCullough at No. 29.

FWIW, I wasn't crazy with taking Chris McCullough out of Syracuse in the first round; he's coming off an ACL injury and wasn't setting the world on fire before he got hurt. We'll see. But getting Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Steve Blake from Portland for basically Mason Plumlee is a pretty good deal.

As for the big surprise of the draft aftermath --the Nets securing the services of the undrafted big man Cliff Alexander, Mike Mazzeo tweeted that competition for the 6'9" Kansas PF was stiff.

By not taking a guarantee --and therefore not signing a contract other than a summer league deal-- Alexander could conceivably wind up a free agent in mid-July.