"It was an enlightened move to draft him. In 2 to 3 years, he is going to be a front line player in the NBA," Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim told SiriusXM NBA Radio Monday about McCullough.
These are things the Nets obviously want to hear. After focusing most of the franchise's former direction on immediate winning by spending large, the Nets are now working on a different technique to find success: getting younger, spending less, being "flexible" and "fiscally responsible."
This is where Chris McCullough comes in, who supposedly had a promise from the Nets months before the Draft. McCullough, 20, tore his ACL only 16 games into his campaign. He averaged nine points and seven rebounds. It's likely that he'll miss some - if not most - of the 2015-2016 season.
The Nets won't rush him. As mentioned, they grabbed solid talent with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in the first round, giving them young talent to develop this upcoming season while McCullough rehabs.
The Nets don't have a first-round pick next off-season, but team officials believe that a healthy McCullough can Band-Aid the loss of not having the pick. And of course, rookie contracts do not rise with the new TV deal next season, making rookies, particularly those taken late, a bigger bargain if they work out.
Yahoo! Sports stated that McCullough "has the physical attributes and upsides of a top-20 pick, but is a few years away from due to his lack of experience and torn ACL." Clearly with the 29th pick and some understood need for patience, the risk of taking McCullough seems pretty minimal, especially with the acquisition of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Billy King is known to take mature, four-year players, but clearly they were enamored by McCullough's potential. Like coach Boehim said, give him 2-3 years and he can be a ‘front line' player. The Nets certainly hope so. They can really use a break... or a few.