Alas, this year, we called for answers too early. A lot of our writers turned in their responses to Reed Wallach’s questions before the Nets traded Brook Lopez and the 27th pick for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. So take a look knowing that we didn’t know but knowing there’s still some wisdom, we hope, that can be derived.
Everything changes on Draft Night, but this year, everything changed two days before.
1. What is the biggest need for the Nets to address in the Draft?
Net Income: Shooters. If you're running a motion offense predicated on open shots, you need shooters. The Nets took a lot of shots. Didnt make a lot. There's evidence Nets feel that way too. They've brought in dozens of them (literally) for workouts.
Reed Wallach: There’s more needs than needs filled at this point with the Nets, but I would say stretch four is something most attainable and a pertinent need at this rate. I wrote about my thoughts on some stretch four’s that should be available at the back of the first round here. Ultimately, I think the Nets need to keep gravitating towards getting guys that are talented but haven’t hit their potential yet, but more importantly long amorphous players; prospects that can be mixed and matched until Kenny Atkinson finds the right sport for them. A guy like Semi Ojeleye or (if he slips) OG Anunoby can play the three or four in different sets. Versatility is key when rebuilding.
Anthony Puccio: All options are open with Lopez becoming a free agent after this season. Trade rumors are bound to happen at the draft and/or at the deadline. If they're serious about a 2-3 year rebuild, drafting a big as insurance for Lopez might be the smartest route. Plus, they already have enough young combo guards.
Bryan Fonesca: Sean Marks said he was looking to address small forward. I think (and this is the easy answer) that you’ve got address the overall talent level. I know, I know…but at the end of the day, the record was the record (although a healthy Jeremy Lin probably would’ve meant around 30 wins). But as we see time and again, you need talent in this league. The Nets in particular need tocontinue to develop their own, but just take the best players available. I think positions matter less and less, especially since Lin is a combo guard and Brook Lopez now shoots three’s.
Richard Denton: When you've lost as many games as the '16-'17 Nets have, you'll be happy to take talent wherever you can find it, and the "Best Player Available vs. Need" theory doesn't apply. Yes, the Nets have plenty of combo guards who are above 6'5", with one of them holding down the power forward spot until he plucks a jumpshot out of That Ocean, too. Even when considering Trevor Booker's value as trade bait (and Quincy Acy, too), I'm still not ready to ignore wing players. One approach is to draft only big men, where our depth chart is a bit thinner, and don't stick a first-rounder behind Kilpatrick, or force you to abandon the rotation-opportunities needed to develop Joe Harris or Archie Goodwin. Though, if you're not someone who is hindered by "sunk costs," more competition is never a bad thing, and cutting fringe players on a basement franchise shouldn't be a hard decision. This all being said, I don't think I'll see the latter approach tested. If the Mock Drafts aren't blind guessing, the Nets are likely to see several interesting big man prospects around their picks, with OG Anunoby and Donovan Mitchell off the board.
Charles Maniego: The biggest need the Nets have is their lack of talent - from every position. They were 21-61, and any injection of upside or production would help the team tremendously. We saw how hopeful things were when Caris LeVert was cooking, when Isaiah Whitehead was Cycloning and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was attacking. Imagine having that excitement in 2-3 more youthful doses? It doesn't matter if the Nets go big, or small or in between, I feel. Any draft asset would help make the Nets' future less bleak and next season more exciting.
Michael Smeltz: Wing shooting and athleticism. Rondae is no longer that prospect, he's better as a slashing 4. Marks needs to come out of this draft with at least one semi-intriguing SG/SF who can shoot and dunk and do all the fun things we like to see basketball players do.
2. Should Brooklyn be looking to move up in the Draft? Is there a player/type that is available at a spot you think the Nets have the pieces to move up for?
NI: The Nets liked Donovan Mitchell a lot. He's slated to go 10 to 12. What would that take? A Lopez trade? An RHJ trade with one or both picks attached? Can't trade picks. FYI, Sean Marks has said he likes having two picks and didn't think combining the two picks to move up would work.
RW: For the right price sure. If there is a salary dump available and the Nets can take on a dead contract for another first rounder, I definitely think Sean Marks should think hard about it. If the Nets are going to move up, I don’t think it would be very high and probably outside the lottery. A guy to target could be Justin Jackson. Jackson has a sweet stroke and was an underrated defender on North Carolina’s championship team.
AP: They should, but they're already so limited with assets. It's going to take Brook Lopez, Trevor Booker or Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to lure in a pick. Booker is a great culture guy, but if you can get a pick for him I think you have to do it. I wouldn't give up on RHJ just yet. He's only 22-years-old.
If I had to say - it would be Harry Giles that I move up for.
BF: I think you can move up without using both draft picks. For what it’s worth, using both won’t get you tremendously far, probably like 15 ish at best, so I don’t think it’s worth it (unless someone really talented inexplicably falls).
You may need to move up for a guy like Justin Patton, but for that, just wait for Jordan Bell. Maybe Harry Giles goes early but Bam Adebayo could be there at 22, or vice versa. Nets like Donovan Mitchell, but instead of going up too far for him, Terrance Ferguson could be an option. If you trust your player development (and they do), there’s no need to move up unless you really love a guy. Don’t know if they do but the draft has enough talent where I wouldn’t, but then again I’d want to see how the board looks on draft night when 10-12 guys are off the board.
RD: Monday Morning quarterbacking never makes you feel empowered, unless you're Chad Ford with a red pen. When you become courageous enough to look back, the results are grim, if not a roll of the dice. Even in a deep draft, you need multiple first rounders. This need becomes ever more dire when top Free Agents won't meet with you, Jeremy Lin only signs with you because of your coach, and your RFA offers get matched. Ask yourself: would you really preferred to walk away with just Donovan Mitchell if you grab DJ Wilson at 22, and see comparable combo guard Jawun Evans at 27? What if Edmond Sumner falls to 57? I love rooting for our guys, they're great people, but I'm an outcomes-based evaluator. When you're a bad team, any first-rounder can be quality, so I surely choose a quantity of draft picks.
CM: I don't think the Nets should look to move up in the draft. The Nets realistically, only have assets to move up to 11 to the Hornets, and I'm still doubtful that teams like Charlotte, Detroit or Denver would want to move their picks for any of the Nets' assets. I'm all for Sean Marks trying to pry away late first round picks for menial assets, like the Lakers, Trailblazers or Jazz picks, but moving up may be too much of a finanical or developmental risk. With the draft so loaded with bigs, prospects like Justin Patton or Ike Anigbogu may fall to the Nets' range at 22. They have to keep that in mind as well.
MS: I would not move up because the two 1st round picks they have would not get them a top 9 pick, which is where I think the draft drops off a notch or two. I'd rather Marks take two chances on C plus to B minus prospects than take one chance on a B prospect. I would love though, the Nets using their cap space to get one of the Trailblazers picks, allowing the Nets to almost completely remake their bench with cheap, young talent.
3. What should the Nets philosophy be towards draft and stashing, which they have been rumored to be interested in?
NI: The Nets see stashing as a development tool but where? With new two-way deals and other improvements in DLeague team relationships with parent club, is it smarter to stash picks in Long Island or Spain's Canary Islands?
RW: I think that they should be open to it for sure. At this rate, the Nets should look at all avenues in terms of improving the long term outlook of the franchise. There are some draft-and-stash targets that will be around come picks 22 and 27, and while I think that fans would be deflated at a pick that won’t be over for two to three years, it may be what Marks does. Marks is looking at making a relevant team in three years (maybe even longer), not this coming season, so if he sees potential in a guy like Isaiah Hartenstein or Anzejs Pasecniks to be the successor to Brook Lopez when his contract expires, he may pull the trigger. I would not want Brooklyn to draft-and-stash two players because I think that getting players into the system now would help them, especially with how it seems the draft is going to shake out at this rate, but I trust Marks.
AP: At least one of the three picks should be used for a Euro stash -- maybe four -- since it's likely they find a way to get a pick earlier in the second round. I'm sure they have their eyes on several Europeans (maybe not all the scouting overseas was for Teodosic). I trust Marks and his people to find someone who can fit their vision.
BF: Personally, I’d rather stash a guy in Long Island, if I’m them, as opposed to overseas, just because you’d have him here, in your system, etc etc. I think the Nets will stash one guy, but it may be in Long Island as opposed to overseas, and with a D League team nearby, that’d be a great situation for all involved. Not that stashing overseas is bad, but you have your own minor
league team where you can see your ‘stash’ up against other NBA or near-NBA level talent, and up close in Long Island.
RD: With two-way contracts in Sean's creative toolbox, the only way I could justify a stash is if the player is so far away from contributing, but in that case, why are we drafting him? Had he stayed in this year's draft, I could see a case being made for Rodions Kurucs, who might struggle to get significant minutes with all the perimeter players on the roster, but I'd like to see an upgrade in competition from the second division of the Spanish league.
CM: The Nets shouldn't be opposed to waiting on their talent. The Nets probably won't be in title contention next sesaon or the season after that, so I don't see a rush in needing to bring players over that could receive more valuable playing time overseas or in the G-League rather than riding the NBA bench. It's probably preferred that "draft and stash" type players receive first hand coaching from Coach Atkinson and staff, but if Sean Marks sees player he likes that may not come over to the NBA right away - they should be worth the wait. Patience!
MS: I'm pulled in both directions on this one. The logical side of my brain says draft and stashing is incredibly smart, it allows a prospect to develop on someone else's dime and you get a more fully formed player when he finally crosses the Atlantic to play for you.
But as a Nets watcher, I hate it. Just about the only enjoyment I will get out of the Nets next season will be from seeing how the 1st round picks develop. That will be taken away if Marks takes two draft-and-stashers.
4. Who is your number one prospect for the Nets to take at 22 and at 27
NI: Isaiah Hartenstein and Terrance Ferguson. Hartenstein because the Nets need to find a long time replacement for Brook Lopez and Ferguson because he had 3-and-D potential.
RW: If Harry Giles or OG Anunoby slip to 22, that’s who I want no questions asked. In terms of who will probably be there: I want DJ Wilson and Frank Jackson.
AP: All depends who's out there, of course. If Giles is still out there at no.22 I think you have to take him, and maybe try for Isaiah Hartenstein at no.27. He does have a link to Nets assistant coach (and offensive guru) Chris Fleming.
BF: I like a lot of the bigs that are projected in that mid to late first round. I’m a big fan of Justin Patton having covered a bunch of his games, I really like what I’ve seen from Bam Adebayo, Harry Giles intrigues me a lot given his talent level and ceiling, though I’m not sure if any of those guys are there at 22 to 27. All three shouldn’t be. Isaiah Hartenstein is starting to grow on me, and Ivan Rabb is someone I really liked, having caught more Pac-12 games than I thought I would this year (late work nights, lol). As far as perimeter players, Jawuan Evans is someone I’ve liked. The Nets seem to really prefer bigger guards, but Evans looks like a solid player. He can score and distribute, he had huge games against North Carolina, Iowa State and Kansas, some damn good teams. He grew on me throughout the year.
RD: I've mentioned a couple of names already, and I promise I haven't uncovered any prospects that the rest of you haven't been reading over the last month. Semi Ojeleye and OG Anunoby (assuming his knee passes muster) would be my dream get. These are guys who are flexible enough to play the 3 or 4 and give us 5 three point threats in our starting lineup. Oh, and their dunk highlights are pretty rad, which counts when you need to play 2k18 in the dark while crying if Lin injures his hamstring again. Don't judge me, I doubt any of you survived 12-70 by more noble means.
CM: At pick 22, I like Anzejs Pasecniks. Yes, he has his flaws, namely his shooting (his FG% was higher than his FT%) and his rim protection abilities. But his mobility, size and energy are too enticing to pass up at 22. I know the popular answer to this question would be O.G. Anunoby, but I'm still super doubtful that he lasts until pick 22, despite what some mocks say. Maybe I'm just saving myself from disappointment if he doesn't become a Net?
At 27 I think the Nets swing for upside and look at Jonah Bolden. Bolden has been rising up draft boards (seemingly after people started to watch film on him recently) and he fits the part of a modern day combo forward. I've bought into the hype, sorry. He's long, he has really smooth jumper mechanics, and rebounds solidly. Bolden might have signed a new contract with Crvena Zvezda recently, but he has an NBA out. There may be a bit of an attitude issue with Bolden's decision to leave UCLA, but that will surely be addressed by the Nets' staff in interviews with the Australian draft prospect.
But in all honesty I'd be fine with anyone the Nets draft and be happily writing long breakdowns on their footwork or the weird side spin on their jumpers.
MS: I love both Anzejs Pasecniks and Semi Ojeleye. Both are athletic, three point shooting, physical specimens who, from what I can gather in short interviews, seem to fit into the #Culture that Marks is trying to build here.
5. Who should the Nets take a flyer on in the second round at pick 57 (if not more?)
NI: I suspect the Nets will try to use No. 57 to move up but if they keep it, Damyean Dotson, a 6'5" shooting guard out of Houston. Interesting back story. Not the guy you'd expect Nets to be interested in, but they brought him in for workout.
Something to watch for: Salary dump that would get Nets another pick.
RW: Frank Mason’s stock is too high. If he falls to 57 that is a flaw in the system because he is way too good for that. Tyler Dorsey is an undersized two, but can stroke it from three, and I love Monte Morris’ moxy from Iowa State. I can see him contributing in some capacity at the next level.
AP: Frank Mason but it's unlikely he slips that far down. He may not fit Kenny Atkinson's system of long combo guards, but he shot 47 percent from deep on 5.3 attempts per game. That DOES fit the system.
BF: Here is where I’d say you get someone young and stash them.
But I really like Sindarius Thornwell. He has grit, is a scoring guard that could also play defense, and I think he’s good enough to make a roster, and be much better than where projected. He might be gone by 57 but if he’s there, I’d take him. Honorable mentions to L.J. Peak, Josh Hart, Ed Sumner and Dwayne Bacon. Saw the first three up close against St. John’s and or in the Big East Tournament, and who wouldn’t want a jersey that reads Brooklyn and Bacon!?
RD: Eventually we'll have The Usual Suspects on the board, and at least one of the bigs is going to drop. It could be Tyler Lydon, Ivan Rabb, Harry Giles, Jordan Bell, Mathias Lessort, Thomas Bryant... you see my point. I could see us drafting some perimeter players, Jawun Evans and Terrence Ferguson, for example, and moving up in the second round to pick off any of the aforementioned stragglers. The big problem with this strategy, besides the inability to see the future, is that the cost of moving up. It took around $3 million and our pick to move up ten spots to select Isiah Whitehead. At the end of the day, I don't know who Marks likes, so outside of picking a name out of a hat, this is as close to a second round prediction as you'll see out of me. I would love for Edmund Sumner to drop, but typing that out now seems like a rather mean thing to wish on a person.
CM: At pick 57, I like Wesley Iwundu. Iwundu has ideal wingspan and athleticism, and he projects as more than just a 3-and-D player. He can handle the ball and pass well, shoot solidly and defend multiple positions. His numbers may not have been eye-popping, but he played within himself and did a litle bit of everything while at Kansas State. He's a little skinny for his size (6'7" with a 7'1" wingspan), but he could be a really exciting, skilled bench option going forward. I think he'd pair well in a bench unit with Isaiah Whitehead and Spencer Dinwiddie. He fits right into the Nets' "long and athletic" defensive scheme.
But the Nets have worked out so many second round-type prospects that they could be interested in acquiring another second rounder, anywhere from 31-50. A few others I like in the second round are Cameron Oliver for his interesting skillset, Sterling Brown and Devin Robinson for their role player potential and Aleksandar Vezenkov because I miss having a deadeye shooter like Mirza Teletovic.
MS: Cameron Oliver, the 3/4 from Nevada who can both dunk with ferocity and shoot 3's. There's a crazy amount of positive packed into a player who's projected to go in the late 2nd round.