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Draftniks see big dropoff after lottery

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2017 NBA Draft Combine - Day Two Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

How good is the 2017 NBA Draft? We’ve been told it’s one of the best in 20 years. That’s saying something. But now, there are hints that it isn’t all that it was cracked up to be. It may be very good up top, but nothing that great after

The wisdom, both publicly and privately, is that the lottery —those taken from No. 1 through 14— strong. After that, maybe not so much.

Scott Griffin is a sports radio guy in Birmingham, Alabama, where Gregg Polinsky, the Nets director of player personnel, aka chief scout, lives. He spoke to Polinsky recently.

It’s an opinion that some have been spreading for a while. Fran Fraschilla of ESPN tweeted this after the Pre-Draft Combine in early May.

His ESPN colleague, Chad Ford wrote basically the same thing on Tuesday.

Jay Bilas, another ESPN Draft analyst, repeatedly pointed out the night of the Lottery that this could be the “youngest draft ever.” One-and-done’s aren’t easy to project, he noted. Same holds true for teenaged international prospects who haven’t played a lot in big games. In fact, 10 of the 14 lottery picks in Draft Express’ mock draft are teenagers and the 11th turned 20 last week. All the top 10 prospects are freshmen.

Of course, not everyone agrees. Jonathan Givony tweeted last week that the top is so stacked that some good prospects will fall.

Does that mean the Nets, who currently pick at Nos. 22 and 27, should move up? Sean Marks has said he likes the idea of two first round picks and doesn’t think the Nets will try to combine their two picks in the 20’s to get a bit higher. “But you never know,” he said when asked during press conference with the media at season’s end.

Could they do a deal to get a higher pick? The Pistons have supposedly put their 12th pick up for bid, willing to deal it for an established player, and the Trail Blazer, who have the 15th, are supposedly interested in attaching one of their three first rounders in a salary dump of the four bench players. Neither would be easy.

In fact, on Wednesday, Moke Hamilton wrote that a player the Nets have had on their radar for a while now might be out of reach.

An interesting tidbit of information I got during the last week: the Nets are “sold” on Latvian Rodions Kurucs, who has joined Frank Ntilikina as the foreign prospect who’s been watched most. Heading into the draft process, Kurucs was thought to have a shot to slip to the Nets at No. 22, but I am hearing that he could go as early as No. 15 to Portland.

Portland? Hmm.