The Nets announced their summer league roster Monday, 19 players in all, not all of whom will play in both Orlando and Las Vegas. So who among them have best shots at making the big team's roster?
The two obvious choices are Cliff Alexander, the 6'9" power forward from Kansas who (somewhat) inexplicably went undrafted, and Ryan Boatright, the undersized (5'11") point guard out of UConn whose outside shooting could get him NBA minutes.
But there's another possibility as well, Khem Birch, the 6'10" shot blocker who played for the Heat's D-League team last year. Birch could be intriguing. He's a good defender and meets a need for an athletic back-up big man. A native of Montreal, he came out of high school with a reputation as a top recruit because of his defense. He bounced around in college, first attending Pitt, then transferring to UNLV, where he played for two years, averaging a double-double his junior year.
After going undrafted last June, he hooked up with the Heat but was cut just before the season opener. He wound up with Sioux Falls, the Heat's D-league affiliate. After a slow start, he finished up averaging a double-double in 33 starts and made the D-League All-Stars.
Who else? Josh Gasser from Wisconsin can shoot and JaVaughn Pinkston from Villanova can rebound. He's also a sentimental favorite, hailing from Fort Greene, a short walk from Barclays Center. There's also Jonathon Simmons, an established D-League scorer who played last year at Austin for the Spurs affiliate.
One piece of bad news though: Juan Pablo Vaulet, the Argentine teeenager who the Nets traded for in the second round had to leave Tuesday's FIBA U19 game in Greece after four minutes with soreness in his left ankle. It's the same ankle that has troubled him for two years. His coach, Sebastian Ginobili, Manu's brother, said the decision to leave the game was more cautionary.
Argentina, now 0-3 in the 19-and-under world championship is likely to see its run ended Wednesday when they face undefeated Team USA. After that, should they lose, they will play a consolation game on Friday. It's uncertain if Vaulet will play ... or at what point, he will be on his way to the U.S. -- and whether he will play, as planned in the summer league.