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In latest mock drafts, Nets take guards and bigs

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Louisville vs Duke Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In truth, the only mock draft that matters is the one the Nets themselves put together prior to June 22 ... and it’s guarded like a state secret.

In his interview with WFAN just before he went on his European scouting trip, Sean Marks said things were progressing, but that the front office had not settled on one player.

“I think it's a little premature to say this could be 'the guy.' I think there's a group of guys that like all GMs, all organizations have said ‘look this group of four, five, six guys could potentially be there.’ Every team has its own mock draft. Maybe a guy we have at 16 is still there at 25, 26. And on the day of the draft, everything changes.”

Last year, we were told right after the draft that the Nets mock put Caris LeVert at No. 11 and Isaiah Whitehead at No. 18. They were taken at No. 20 and No. 42.

Of course, the Nets had to make trades to get them, acquiring LeVert’s rights in a Draft Day deal that sent Thaddeus Young to Indiana and trading up to take Whitehead, on Draft Night, using $3 million in cash and the No. 55 pick to Utah so they could move up.

This year, the Nets will go into the Draft with two late first round picks, the first the result of a pick swap left over from the 2013 trade with the Celtics and the second picked up in the Bojan Bogdanovic deal with the Wizards at the deadline. The final positions won’t be determined until the end of regular season, but probably somewhere between Nos. 24 and 27. They currently have one late second rounder as well.

So, with all those caveats in mind, here’s a survey of who’s got what in the latest mock drafts. Is there a consensus? Not yet, but of the six mocks we’re looking at, three have the Nets taking Oklahoma State’s Juwan Evans, a somewhat undersized point guard. Two have the Nets interested in 7-foot Gonzaga center Zach Collins. Collins is a freshman, Evans a sophomore.

Draft Express

Luke Kennard, Duke, 6’6” sophomore SG,

Juwan Evans, Oklahoma State, 6’1” sophomore PG


Zach Collins, Gonzaga, 7’0” freshman C

Andrew Jones, Texas, 6’4” freshman PG

Justin Jackson, North Carolina, 6’8” junior SF

Dwayne Bacon, Florida State, 6’8” sophomore SF/SG


Jarrett Allen, Texas, 6’11” freshman C

Donovan Mitchell, Louisville, 6’3” sophomore SG


Zach Collins, Gonzaga, 7’0” freshman C

Juwan Evans, Oklahoma State, 6’1” sophomore PG


Harry Giles, Duke, 6’11” freshman C

Juwan Evans, Oklahoma State, 6’1” sophomore PG

Evans doesn’t seem like a high priority for a team with Jeremy Lin and assuming they keep him, Spencer Dinwiddie. Moreover, the Nets prefer big point guards. Ask Yogi Ferrell.

We can see an interest in Collins, the skilled if young Gonzaga center.

As for some of the others expected to picked in the mid-to-late 20’s, we’d keep an eye on Donovan Mitchell from Louisville, the kind of combo guard Kenny Atkinson likes; Rodions Kurucs, the 6’9” small forward Marks personally scouted last week in Barcelona; Tyler Lydon, the 6’9” stretch 4 out of Syracuse; and Ivan Rabb, the 6’10” power forward from California, Marks’ alma mater.

As for the second round, it’s very much a crap shoot, particularly when the pick is likely to be No. 55 or 56. It’s Boston’s pick. (The Nets traded their own second rounder, the 31st pick in strong draft, back in 2012. It’s the final piece of the Joe Johnson trade). Not all the mock drafts go that deep this early.

Those who do have the Nets taking V.J. Beacham, a 6’8” SG from Notre Dame (Draft Express) and Alec Peters, a 6’8” PF from Vanderbilt ( If the Nets keep that pick, we’d think they’ll go with an international player, to help stock their stashed picks. It’s a Spurs thing and the Nets only have one overseas stash, Juan Pablo Vaulet.

Of course, as Marks said, everything changes on Draft Night. A trade could add to the Nets picks; the Nets could decide to trade one of their picks for a better pick in 2018, or combine picks, which Marks seemed to dismiss in his WFAN interview.

And remember, it’s still almost two months away.