After a draft that saw the Brooklyn Nets take Texas big Jarrett Allen at 22 and FC Barcelona’s Aleksandar Vezenkov at 57, AND officially discuss the week’s big trade, general manager Sean Marks spent about 12 minutes with the media.
After graciously shaking all of our hands, here’s what he had to say....
... and a recap
First things first, he spoke about the acquisitions of D’Angelo Russell and Timfoey Mozgov from the Los Angeles two days ago, a deal made officially during the second round, Marks is clearly ecstatic about the move.
“The trade overall, it’s about getting a couple of pieces to add to our young core,” Marks said. “D’Angelo Russell, obviously we know what he’s done in the league over his first couple of years being 21 years old. I think he’ll be a nice complimentary piece to what we’ve got with our young guys here. Timofey brings a system fit to the way Kenny (Atkinson) likes to play.”
On Russell’s maturity, which has come into question, Marks declared he was unfazed, and hinted at the level of excitement he said everyone in the organization feels.
“When you’re able to get a talent like that in your gym, we’re excited about that,” said the Net GM. “We’ve talked to Jeremy, Caris, Rondae and the other players, they’re excited about getting a young player with a lot of upside. I’m not concerned about the maturity and so forth, what I’m concerned about is what he brings and the culture and so forth – to develop him as a basketball player and as a young man.”
Marks is of the belief that Lin and Russell will not only co-exist, but excel. He honed in on the level of offensive firepower the new backcourt brings.
“Kenny and I talked about it a little bit, I don’t want to go into great detail, we’ll address that in a few days’ time, but having both those guys gives us a lot of versatility,” he said. “We have Jeremy, Caris and now D’Angelo, all that can break defenses down, handle the ball, the ability to shoot from the outside – we’re looking forward to that.”
Marks also adds Lin is not worried. In fact, he welcomes the opportunity to work with Russell.
“He’s (Jeremy) a very mature young man as you all know. What he will do to help develop D’Angelo will be terrific,” said Marks. “The rest of our guys look up to him, his work ethic, how he practices, how he plays – it intrigues people. I’m not worried about how they get along on the court. I’m sure they’ll be growing pains for the entire roster as the roster continues to grow and change.”
Now for the new blood.
Finding Allen, the 6’11” quick-footed athletic forward who the Nets selected at No. 22, was a big surprise for Marks, who didn’t plan on seeing Allen still on the board when Brooklyn picked.
He said, at that time, Allen was the best player available. That falls in line with the draft team’s strategy. Best player available.
“We’re extremely fortunate to get him,” he said. “He’s an incredible young man, very versatile, he has not even remotely scratched the surface of what he can do. If you look at how he’s improved through his very short time in Texas, it’s exciting for us. He fits exactly what we’re doing. We know his coach Shaka Smart very well – Shaka spoke very highly of him.”
“We interviewed Jarrett in Chicago,” he continued. “We were unable to bring him in for a workout, but we spent some time with him Wednesday. We were definitely surprised he was available. He was a guy we had very high on our board.”
When asked if he was much higher on the Nets big board than he was selected, Marks simply responded with a cool “yes.”
“I think he brings a lot,” Marks added, talking about what Allen offers. “Obviously the upside is huge for him. Versatility, we love the way he runs the floor. He’s a mobile big who can guard several positions, switch on pick and rolls – he fits this modern NBA where you see big guys that can move and really get up and down. He’s really just scratched the surface.”
As far Aleksandar Vezenkov, who the Nets drafted at 57 overall, a.k.a. the Manu Ginobili Spot, Marks simply referred to the 6’9” forward as an ‘elite shooter’, with no hesitation.
The Nets will introduce Allen at a press conference at 1 p.m. Friday.
After the Draft ended, the Nets began signing undrafted players to training camp deals. Milton Doyle, a 6’4” shooting guard out of Loyola Chicago, was the first to be identified.