We as sports people do a weird thing when talking about a certain aspect of the sport we’re talking about. We use a cross-sport comparison to explain what we mean, which is sort of like a human-centipede situation, one end eating the other when the other is eating the one.
Specifically with the NBA draft, it’s discussed in baseball hit terms. A team that has more draft picks can ‘swing for the fences.’ A team at the end of the draft that needs to fill a specific need should just ‘hit a single.’
And hey, Sean Marks said he likes having a second pick in the first round because it gives him an opportunity to “take another swing.” And he’s from New Zealand where they play rugby.
The Nets are essentially Matt Stairs. They don’t have many at-bats but every time they are up to bat, they’ve got to hit a home run. And where they are picking in this draft, the pool of prospects gets muddy. It’s a mix of one-skill specialists, largely low-ceiling/well rounded role players, and wildly unpredictable potential diamonds-in-the-rough. So, to carry out the base hit analogy, down below is every prospect ranked between 16-33 on DraftExpress’s top 100 prospects and what type of base hit they are. I’ll also give you my favorite and most hated in each group.
(BTW my draft analyst credentials: I’m a Wizards fan (I know, I didn’t think we existed either) and I said to my Dad, JCC Harrisburg basketball legend Bruce Smeltz, during the 2011 draft that the Wiz should draft Kawhi Leonard with the 6th overall pick. They drafted Jan Vesely. I’m basically RC Buford without the silence)
SINGLE: The Ichiro Suzuki All-Stars
- Justin Jackson: SF | 6’8” | #16 overall in DraftExpress Ranks
- Tyler Lydon: SF/PF | 6’10” | #22 overall
- Derrick White: PG/SG | 6’5” | #25 overall
- Juwan Evans: PG | 6’0” | #29 overall
- Ivan Rabb: PF/C | 6’10” | #30 overall
- Alex Peters: PF | 6’9” | #31 overall
First off, there’s nothing wrong with a single. It gets you on-base and since the Nets do have two at-bats in the 1st round this draft, hitting a single and then swinging for the fences on the next at-bat (or reversing that order) makes a ton of sense. The single gives you someone you feel fairly confident will be a contributor while you gamble the next pick on the next DraymondManuDeAndre. That confidence brings with it both positives and negatives, its derived from their dependability but there’s also little room for surprises.
Favorite: Derrick White – Tall ball-handler that’s a great shooter. Could flip between PG and SG, creating an interesting All-Lanky backcourt with either Caris LeVert or (friend of the Glue Guys podcast) Spencer Dinwiddie. And both Dinwiddie and White played college ball at Colorado, so in between plays, they can discuss their favorite pita spots in Boulder.
Most Hated: Juwan Evans – Short (6’0”), bad shooter (49.4 FG% on shots around the hoop per The Ringer’s Draft Guide). If you’re at that size and cannot score at the basket efficiently, I’m not sure how valuable you could ever be. And worse than that, he’s shrinking! He measured as 6’0” without shoes in 2013, then at this year’s combine was 5’ 10 3⁄4”.
DOUBLE: The Daniel Murphy Mashers
- Jarrett Allen: C | 6’11” | #18 overall in DraftExpress Ranks
- Isaiah Hartenstein: PF/C | 7’0” | #19 overall
- Semi Ojeleye: SF/PF | 6’7” | #20 overall
- DJ Wilson: PF | 6’10” | #23 overall
- Terrance Ferguson: SG | 6’7” | #24 overall
- Justin Patton: C | 7’0” | #28 overall
- Mathias Lessort: PF/C | 6’9” | #32 overall
Trying to hit a double is the Nets sweet spot for this draft. Doubles are essentially singles but better (thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all-night). You can see what role double-level players would fit into, but there’s enough to tickle your imagination that you can project these players forward into starters and even potentially top-3 players on the team.
Favorite: Semi Ojeleye - I may be in love with Ojeleye. You could say I have a Semi-Hard On. I’m a sucker players who actually produce in college. Ojeleye is built like a mini-Karl Malone but shoots like Luke Kennard (Kennard: 43.8 3pt% on 5.4 attempts, Ojeleye 42.4 3p% on 4.9 attempts) while averaging 19 PPG and 6.9 RPG. The problem with Ojeleye is that he turns 23 in December and he’s 6’7” in shoes with a regular wingspan (6’9 3/4”). So you’re really stretching him out to be a 4 at that point, which he needs to be to make sense in the game today. His size is limiting, which is sort of the thing about size, it’s a limit.
Most Hated: Isaiah Hartenstein – I know this must be dis-Harten-ing (get it?) for Nets fans. Mock drafts have consistently placed the big German’s name next to the Nets, mostly because Nets assistant coach Chris Fleming is the German national team coach. But Hartenstein is the perfect example of something that happens every draft. For some reason, analysts will assign skills to a player even if they haven’t earned them. We are told that Hartenstein is a stretch 4/5 but he’s a lifetime 28.4% 3pt shooter, and even worse, 61.6% from the line. So really what he is is a tall person who takes too many long distance shots that don’t go in.
TRIPLE: The Stan Musial Monstars
- Zach Collins: C | 7’0” | #17 overall in DraftExpress Ranks
- Anzejs Pasecniks: C | 7’2” | #21 overall
- Caleb Swanigan: PF/C | 6’9” | #27 overall
- Frank Jackson: SG | 6’4” | #33 overall
First off, Zach Collins is not falling to the Nets. But I set the arbitrary parameters of this piece and by golly I’m sticking to them. Frank Jackson takes over the Many-Question-Marks-Young-Athletic-Guard Award from Hamidou Diallo. Athletic, efficient, strong-shooting guard with a pedigree but you don’t really know what he’ll become since he was a role player at Duke. All those strengths though add up to something super intriguing.
It’s probably ambitious to put Swanigan in as a triple but of all these prospects, he has the greatest potential as a scorer. He gets labeled as exclusively a low-post offensive threat, basically because he’s a chunky dude. But he averaged 2.4 3pt attempts a game last year and made 44.7% of them. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for Swanigan to become an 18 PPG scorer at some point in his career.
And I think the definition of an ‘NBA Draft Triple’ is an athletic, 3pt shooting, 7ft plus Eastern European who is only known through 38 second videos tweeted out of him hitting four 3’s in a row
I love all these guys but…
Favorite: Anzejs Pasecniks – A crazy mix of positives. This seems like a Marks pick. And it’d be fun to have Porzingis and Pasecniks battling it out for King of Latvian Basketball to add into the Knicks-Nets rivalry. Of course that depends on if Phil Jackson decides to trade Porzingis (HAHAHHAHAH KNICKS FANS).
Most Hated: Frank Jackson – I like him plenty but I’d rather see the Nets take a risk on these bigs than Jackson.
HOME RUN: The Final (Aaron) Judge-ment
- Harry Giles: C | 6’11” | #26 overall in the DraftExpress Ranks
The Nets have to take Harry Giles if he is sitting there at 22. A prospect like Giles is the reason why you get two 1st round picks, to take a chance on a player you normally would never have a shot at picking in the 20’s except for some major red flag against them. That red flag for Giles is obviously health. The only excuse for not drafting him is if his medical report reads like an inner monologue from Gary Busey.
It’s not only that Giles was once thought to be the BEST prospect in a class that looks to be one of the strongest in years. He fills a need for the Nets and the Nets are the perfect franchise for him to go to, with the organization being one of the biggest proponents of rest and minutes restrictions in the NBA. Giles would play behind Brook Lopez, coming in for 5 minute spurts. And with Brook in the last year of his contract, the Nets will want an in-house option to replace him. If Giles shows significant signs of improvement, it makes it that much easier to consider trading Brook for something.
It almost wouldn’t matter who else Marks took if the Nets were able to get Giles. Immediately he would become the most fascinating and important young player on the team. Every tiny baby step towards returning to his previous self would be consumed with glee by the fan base, that frankly, needs something to latch onto as the Nets play their final season under the cloud of the Garnett-Pierce trade. The path to relevance for the Nets is not a step-by-step process, they’ll have to take a risky leap at some point. At 22, jumping for a chance to get Giles is a smart risk for Marks to take.