As we’ve always said, it’s never too early to talk about the draft, but of course over the past several years, there’s been little to talk about. The Nets draft picture resembled the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula: vast, arid, and with little hope of refreshment.
Now, with the final payment on the Draft Night 2013 Celtics trade about to come due ... and the 76ers trade fresh in our minds, we thought we’d update just where the Nets stand going forward. There’s been a lot of movement.
Here’s what picks the Nets have ... and where their own picks went: Picks gained and lost.
—Gained: The Nets have the Raptors lottery-protected first rounder, which at the moment is the 26th. Picked up in the Justin Hamilton-for-DeMarre Carroll plus picks trade, 2017.
—Gained: The Nets can pick up the Pacers second round pick, but only if Indy doesn’t make the playoffs, part of what worked out to be a Thaddeus Young-for-Caris LeVert trade. At this point, it looks like the steadily improving Pacers will make the playoffs, so no pick. The protection stays in place through the 2022 draft. After that, it is “extinguished,” as they say in the trade and the pick will become unprotected in 2023 if it has already been taken.
—Lost: The Nets first round pick goes to Boston, unprotected, the last payment on the 2013 trade with the Celtics. Boston traded the pick to Cleveland as part of the Kyrie Irving deal. At the moment, the pick is No. 11. Who cares?
—Lost: The Nets second round pick is likely going to the 76ers. At the moment, it’s the 40th pick. The Nets agreed to swap picks with Philly as part of a 2014 salary dump that dispatched Andrei Kirilenko and Jorge Gutierrez to the 76ers for Brandon Davies and the 2020 pick outright. Then on Draft Night 2015, the Nets sent their swap rights to the pick south to the Hornets as part of the deal for the 39th pick in that draft. The swap rights were used to secure Juan Pablo Vaulet’s draft rights. The Hornets also received cash considerations of $880,000 and the Nets 2019 pick outright. There’s more machinations, but you don’t need to know them. Trust us.
—The Nets have their own first rounder, unencumbered. The last time they had their own first round pick was 2013.
Gained: The Nets acquired the Knicks second rounder in the trade that sent Trevor Booker to the 76ers for Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas.
Lost: The Nets sent their second rounder to the Hornets for their second round pick in the 2015 draft, which was the 39th pick and which was used to take Vaulet. As noted above, the Nets also sent the Hornets swap rights to their 2018 second rounder and cash considerations of $880,000. The pick has been moved twice since 2015 and is currently owned by the Magic. The Magic acquired the pick on Draft Night 2017 in a trade with the Grizzlies for Ivan Rabb.
—The Nets have their own first rounder but no second rounder.
Lost: As noted above, the Nets sent the 76ers their second round pick outright as part of the salary dump that dispatched Kirilenko and Gutierrez to Philly in December 2014. The pick has been moved once, on Draft Night 2017. It was used by the 76ers to help them acquire a first round pick.
—The Nets have both their own first and second round picks. The last time that happened was 2013.
The Nets hold the rights to two previous picks:
Juan Pablo Vaulet, a 6’7” small foward who doesn’t turn 22 until March and is still with Bahia Blanca in Argentina. He has had at least four ankle surgeries (both ankles) in Argentina and the U.S., three of them subsequent to his being drafted. He is currently healthy and averaging 8.3 points and shooting 48.6 percent in six games. A year ago, during the Argentine league holiday break, Vaulet traveled to New York for a medical check up and some training at HSS Training Center, even traveling with the team to two away games. No word on whether a reprise is scheduled for this year.
Aleksandar Vezenkov, a 6’9” small forward who turned 22 in August, taken with a Celtics pick acquired in the swap of picks in the 2017 Draft He is currently on the roster, but not playing for F.C. Barcelona. After Barcelona suffered a five game losing streak in October, its coach benched Vezenkov and another player. He has not played since. He was averaging 2.5 points in the Euroleague and 9.0 in the Spanish League before the benching. He did play for Bulgaria in the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament last month, averaging 13.5 points in two games. He is on the second year of a three-year contract. Hard to believe he’ll be back in Barcelona.