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THE PLAYERS: Turning nothing into something

BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

When Sean Marks took over as GM of the Nets, he made sure intentions were clear from the start, despite the tough hand he was dealt.

Brooklyn Nets were going to revamp the organization starting from the top down.

They were going to rebuild the team and try to acquire young assets. The horrid draft pick situation put a damper on things from the start, but Marks knew he could acquire talent somehow, some way.

“Well sure draft picks are one way to build a team, but there are several other places and other ways to go out there and do it, “Marks said at his introductory press conference. “Obviously you can go to free agency. I've seen it done around the NBA where you're building not only through free agency, you're building through the European market, you're building within your D-League franchise and developing your players there. Time will tell,”

Shortly after Marks was hired in February 2016, the roster looked like this:

Less than two seasons later, the team is about to look like this:

The team Marks took over was essentially in purgatory. It wasn’t a rebuild by any means and it wasn’t a playoff contending year either year. It was labeled a “bridge year” by some higher ups in the organization. Bridge to nowhere, maybe!

Now, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is the only one who’s on both lists.

Marks has been crafty and ruthless. He’s acquired talent and draft picks mostly through trades, despite the lack of assets... and draft picks.

Nets did not own their pick from 2013-2018 after the Celtics trade. Marks made his own “picks” by acquiring lottery picks and other talented players later in the draft.

  • D’Angelo Russell (traded Brook Lopez, 1st round pick) - No. 2 - 2015
  • Jahlil Okafor (traded Trevor Booker) No. 3 - 2015
  • Caris Levert (traded Thad Young) No. 20 - 2016
  • Jarrett Allen No. 22 - 2017

And now the Nets’ young core is shaping up. The average age of the roster is just about 24-years-old if you count Jeremy Lin. They now have eight players they can legitimately start rebuilding around. All under 25-years-old.

  • Jarrett Allen (19)
  • D'Angelo Russell (21)
  • Jahlil Okafor (21)
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (22)
  • Caris LeVert (23)
  • Spencer Dinwiddie (24)
  • Nik Stauskas (24)
  • Allen Crabbe (25)

Nobody is saying it’s going to be easy. Nobody said it would be easy. But at the very least, Sean Marks is making the most of the crappy hand he was dealt.

Fans know what it feels like to have some hope again. Perhaps for the first time ever, they have trust in the people running the ship.