Juan Pablo Vaulet, the Argentine swingman who the Nets drafted two years ago, will travel to New York next week, the first visit he’s made since Sean Marks took over basketball operations in February. According to Argentine hoops sites, Vaulet will spend a week in New York, from December 27 to January 2, taking advantage of a break in Argentina’s Liga Nacional.
The time, according to the reports, will be spent “training” and getting medical “check-ups,” the former to determine his “evolution” as a player, the latter to make certain his surgically repaired right ankle is progressing. The week after Vaulet was drafted in 2015, he suffered a stress fracture of his ankle while playing for Argentina in a FIBA Under-19 tournament. He was brought to the U.S., where Dr. Martin O’Malley, the Nets foot and ankle specialist, surgically repaired the ankle at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
The Nets previous regime was high on Vaulet, internally referring to him as “the next Manu,” a highly exaggerated projection of his potential. After Billy King and Frank Zanin left the Nets organization, Vaulet told the Argentine media he didn’t hear from the organization for while as the new basketball operations staff dealt with rebuilding the Nets, both on and off the court.
The Nets see Vaulet, still only 20 years old, as athletic enough to play in the NBA, but have expressed concerns about his shooting. He’s averaging 10.1 points a game, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists for Bahia Blanca in the Liga Nacional, hitting only about 25 per cent from three. He’s making only 57 percent of his free throws, but that’s up over the last two years when he hit 52 and 50 percent. The Nets development team will likely work with him on his shooting while he’s in Brooklyn.
On his return to Argentina on January 2, he will go back to playing with Bahia Blanca. However, this is likely to be Vaulet’s last season playing in Argentina. Two weeks ago, the team’s owner said he’ll be too expensive going forward. So, the Nets will likely discuss the next steps in his development, too.
Vaulet does have a big supporter on the Nets, fellow Argentine Luis Scola. In a Media Day interview with NetsDaily, Scola described his teammate on the Argentine national team this way...
“He was on the (national) team. He didn't make it. He was the 13th player. He made all the preparations to the last week. We spent about a month together.
“He's a very good player. I really mean it. He has a few areas of his game he has to work on but he's extremely young. He really wants to work. His mind is in the right place. I do believe in him. He needs some work but he knows.”
The Nets sent two future second round picks in 2019 and 2020 to the Hornets along with $880,000 for his rights in 2015. He was taken with the ninth pick in the second round. The Nets will hold his rights in perpetuity.