No new hires this week. Some information on who they're working out with the Draft now four days away. Just as Alex Kennedy wrote about the Nets desire to move into the first round early in the week, so did Mike Mazzeo at the end of the week...
With less than a week to go before the June 23 draft, the Nets are believed to be encouraged about the possibility of adding a first-rounder, should they elect to do so, sources said. Basketball Insiders reported that people around the NBA expect the Nets to acquire a first, though it is unclear as to how they'd go about doing that at this point. Brooklyn only owns the No. 55 pick right now.
Our take is that if it happens, we won't know until Thursday night. The Nets GM has said he isn't getting into the Draft to grab a pick, but to take a player. That of course will depend on the volatility of the Draft. There are hints that indeed it's going to be a wild night. Already, medical reports have scrambled things. As one pundit tweeted.
Text from a scout on unpredictability of this draft: "Mock drafts are about to go up in flames."— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) June 17, 2016
We shall see, as we always too.
The rebuild so far...
As we noted this week, from what we've seen, the Nets are expanding the staff, not just replacing those who were let go. By our count, 17 staffers have been hired (as far as we know) and 11 let go. To summarize, as we do every week...
--Sean Marks, 40, General Manager, hired from the Spurs, February 18.
--Trajan Langdon, 40, Assistant General Manager, hired from the Cavaliers --after three years with the Spurs, March 8.
--Alton Byrd, 58, Vice President of Business Operations, Long Island Nets, hired from the Hawks, announced March 24.
--Andrew Baker, 26, Coordinator, Strategic Planning, hired from the Spurs in March, announced May 5
--Kenny Atkinson, 48, Head Coach, hired from the Hawks, April 17.
--Jacque Vaughn, 41, Lead assistant coach, hired from the Spurs, reported April 30, announced May 16.
--Natalie Jay, 33, cap and contract specialist, hired from the 8th Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals, announced May 5.
--Shelden Williams, 32, pro scout. Last job with the Tianjin Lions of the CBA, announced May 5.
--Charles Payne, 50, pro and college scout, hired from Stanford University, announced May 5.
--Jordan Ott, 31, assistant coach, hired from Hawks, reported May 13, but not yet officially announced.
--Adam Harrington, 35, assistant coach/director of player development, hired from Thunder, reported May 21, but not yet announced.
--Chris Fleming, 46, assistant coach, hired from Nuggets, reported May 24, but not yet announced.
--Will Weaver, 31, special assistant to the head coach, hired from the 76ers, reported June 7, but not yet announced.
--Zach Weatherford, 45, director of player performance, hired from the Naval Special Warfare Command, announced June 9.
--Dan Meehan, 34, head strength and conditioning coach/sport scientist, hired from the North Melbourne Football Club, announced June 9.
--Aisling Toolan, 31, director of physical therapy, hired from the Hospital for Special Surgery, announced June 9.
Also, Ryan Gisriel, 26, has been promoted from assistant to the General Manager to Director, Basketball Administration, announced on May 5, and Lloyd Beckett, 31, has been promoted from assistant trainer to trainer/physical therapist for the Nets. Aaron Harris, who had been No. 2 behind the departed Gary Sussman, has assumed the top P.R. role.
We expect the Nets to announce the complete coaching staff very soon.
Summer league invitations going out
Harrison Faigen, who covers the Los Angeles D-Fenders, tweeted that Josh Magette, who led the D-League in assists and steals will wear the black-and-white in Las Vegas.
Josh Magette will play for the Brooklyn Nets' Las Vegas Summer League team, per a league source— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) June 18, 2016
Here's what we wrote about him when he was invited to the Nets free agent camp.
--Josh Magette, is a 6'1" PG from Alabama-Huntsville, where he was a Division II first team All-American. He led the D-League this season in assists and steals playing for the L.A. D-Fenders, who lost in the Finals. He's 26. He's played overseas as well with teams in Greece and Germany. A pass-first point guard, he's willing to sacrifice his body going inside. Not much of an outside shooter.
Very much old school, as well as undersized and not very athletic, but he sure can pass...
His Nets tryout was a family affair, as his father tweeted.
Of course, what the news suggests is that the Nets are calling a number of players to invite them to play in the Las Vegas Summer League, which runs July 8-18. Invitations will be limited. The Nets can expect to send whoever they draft next week as well as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris McCullough, who was still rehabbing last summer; Sean Kilpatrick, and presumably Markel Brown, who the Nets are expected to re-sign.
Starting at the end of the Draft, the Nets will also be making calls to the undrafted prospects who they liked in workouts. In the past, they have offered small guarantees to get players like to join the club. Ryan Boatright got $75,000 last year. There's no limit to what the Nets can offer but those guarantees do get added to the cap.
Anthony Bennett has made a decision?
The Anthony Bennett situation remains uncertain. It does appear that the former overall No. 1 pick will play in New York next season. Then, Wednesday, he took part in training camp with the Canadian national basketball team.
The Toronto native was able to "to reach an agreement," that allowed the national team to get insurance for him to play with the team this summer, national team coach Jay Triano told the media. Bennett didn't speak to the media, but there was some speculation that the insurance deal was worked out with an NBA team.
The NBA team that was willing to take a chance on the 2013 No. 1 overall pick has yet to be released, but most likely it was ether the New York Knicks or the Brooklyn Nets, who both held workouts for the Brampton, ON native.
There was other news out of the Team Canada workout was how much Bennett has changed his body. Here's an Instagram image of Bennett by a tattoo artist.
As Triano told reporters, ""His body composition has changed," Triano said of the noticeably thinner Bennett. "Last year he couldn’t have practised like this the whole time, we had to play him in spurts and I thought today he was very good."
Lots of questions, but the Nets did have him in for two days in May and by all accounts, did well. One other thing this week's events suggest is that Bennett won't be available for a summer league tryout. He's getting ready for an Olympic Qualifying Tournament, just as Bojan Bogdanovic is.
Something to keep an eye on.
Boston's best asset is not the 2016 pick
There's a lot of sturm and drang about how the Nets will be giving up a high draft pick this week, the tortured result of the Nets trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. But Chad Ford, the ESPN draft guru thinks that's not Boston's top asset. Next year's swap with the Nets is, he says. Ford answered media questions during an ESPN 2016 NBA Draft media call.
"In fact, I actually think that the thing that the Celtics have, their No. 1 asset, is actually the Brooklyn Nets pick next year in 2017. They have the right to swap that pick. It almost looks like there’s no scenario in which the Nets are going to be good next year, and the 2017 draft looks absolutely loaded with talent, and that might be their best chip."
Indeed, while this year's draft is seen as top-heavy, next year's is seen as deep. With the Celtics on the rise and the Nets rebuilding, there could a 20-spot difference because of the swap. Then, as every Nets fan knows, the Nets have to give their pick outright in the 2018 Draft.
Draft Sleeper of the Week
This is our last sleeper. The Nets are hard to predict. They think they can move up, but wonder if it's worth the effort. That of course is dependent on who's available. A deal gets easier if someone they really like remains on the board when a team calls with an offer.
That said, our last sleeper is someone who's projected as an early second rounder, a pick the Nets might be able to pick up without dumping a player. It might take all the $3.4 million they (and every other team) has, but it would appear to be do-able.
Paul Zipser is German, a 6'8" small forward with a Nets connection. He played on the German national team for new assistant and German national team coach Chris Fleming. More importantly, he was seen as the top prospect at this month's adidas Eurocamp.
Here's what Draft Express had to say about his performance...
Zipser is one of the most experienced players in this group, having seen significant minutes in the Euroleague, EuroCup, German BBL and with his national team last summer alongside Dirk Nowitzki. That was immediately evident with the confidence, poise and aggressiveness he showed in the five on five games he participated in.
Zipser attacked the paint relentlessly off the dribble both off closeouts and isolation situations, showing an excellent first step and the ability to finish explosively above the rim. On the perimeter, he knocked down numerous open 3-point shots, mainly of the catch and shoot variety, but also showed the ability to hit a pull-up jumper in the mid-range area, which isn't normally a major strength of his game. Defensively, he guarded multiple positions in his no-nonense fashion, mostly operating at the power forward position, using his strong frame, but showing nice versatility switching onto players big and small all over the floor.
He was in New York this past week as well, as part of an Excel International road show for NBA GMs. We don't know if the Nets were represented but we find it hard to believe they weren't. Excel International is Jeff Schwartz's operation, run by Misko Raznatovic, who had been Mirza Teletovic's agent in Europe.
Here's an interview with DX's Jonathan Givony from last week.
Falling in love with New York City
Ronald Nored was one of the Nets first hires, as head coach of the D-League Long Island Nets. He's also the youngest hire at 26. He was, and is, an interesting choice. Nored played at Butler was the starting PG for Butler in their back-to-back runs to the NCAA Finals under Brad Stevens. Stevens loved his grit and BBIQ and hired him as an assistant for the Celtics affiliate in Maine.
Being a millennial, Nored has a heavy social media presence, including a blog that is very personal. Don't expect to find any hints of what the Nets are going to do Thursday night! This week, Nored did write about how a kid from outside Birmingham who thought Indianapolis was big city (HA!) is slowly falling in love with New York.
A lot of it is focused on the commute. "Riding on the subway allows for a lot of time to think," he writes. Oh yeah, particularly with the delays.
Also like a millennial, he's very much into logging how much exercise he gets on the walk from his home to the subway and then from the subway to the HSS Training Center and on all the positives and negatives of New York mass transit.
I have had to get used to riding in Subways that aren’t the most sanitary places in the world. I have had to take in some bad, bad odor amongst the good ones (FOOD!). I tweeted shortly after I moved here, "Two days ago I swore to myself I would NEVER eat on a subway. Today, I ate my lunch on a subway." The goods are: I don’t ever have to worry about traffic; I have a lot of time to listen to good music or podcasts; and there is no wifi on my ride to work so I can get a book out on the subway and get some quiet reading in.
This part of the New York Life really ain’t so bad. The City has a way of engulfing you and making you really enjoy it, even with the germs and smells.
It certainly does.
This is the week where Sean Marks starts to get some marks (pun intended). Pundits will grade his draft and if he makes a trade, the swap. The inside joke has been that the Nets have everything but players with the great location, the fabulous arena and training center and an owner who despite all the other issues is committed to winning and puts his money where his mouth is. Now it's time to start adding players, with the Draft and free agency.
Fans will have a better means to gauge Marks by the time of the next Off-Season Report. So we wish him and his new staff well.
We'll be watching Sunday as the Cavs and Warriors play out Game 7. One of two favorite ex-Nets will walk away with a ring. Either Richard Jefferson or Shaun Livingston (who already has one ring) will taste champagne. Here's to both of them, but we are rooting for RJ. He was close to being an all-Star but never was selected. He got to the Finals twice but didn't win. Was on the ill-fated 2004 Team USA that won only the Bronze. (We could say always the bridesmaid but never the bride, but that would bring back some bad memories.)
Any way, good luck, RJ. You deserve it.