Year 3 for the Long Island Nets is upon us. More urgently, the G League draft is Saturday afternoon and the Nets currently have three picks in this year’s draft after making two trades that cost them four of their original seven picks.
On Thursday, Long Island traded the 33rd pick of the draft for the “Returning Player Rights” — simple G League rights — to Agua Caliente Clippers for Marshall Plumlee, then on Friday traded the 32nd, 41st and 68th picks in the draft to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for Nick Zeisloft.
The Nets still have the 14th and the 22nd picks in the first round as well as the 29th in the second round of the Draft which is conducted by conference call, beginning at 1 p.m. The Long Island Nets GM, Trajan Langdon has been wheeling and dealing and don’t be surprised if that continues tomorrow.
Who might the Nets take in the Draft? Only Langdon, who’s GM in Long Island as well as assistant GM in Brooklyn, and his No. 2, Matt Riccardi, have an idea.
While a former Net, Willie Reed, may wind up as the top pick in the Draft, don’t look for the Nets to take another chance on the 6’11” center. His last tenure with the Nets, in Sean Marks first days as GM, didn’t go well and he left the team early, reportedly after an argument with then interim coach Tony Brown. He was later arrested for domestic violence.
There are other possibilities, other connections, however.
One name in particular to watch is New Mexico State’s Jemerrio Jones, a 6’5” defensive minded guard who the Nets worked before the NBA Draft last May He is in fact the only G League Draft eligible player who we can say for sure worked out for Brooklyn.
There are also a few other local products on the G League Draft Eligibility List.
Jamal Branch, a 6’3” guard and Orlando Sanchez, a 6’9” power forward are both from St. John’s, and Taaj Ridley another power forward who played college ball for Iona, are all on the list. Sanchez has an additional advantage. The 30-year-old played for Kenny Atkinson and his assistant Jordan Ott when they coached the Dominican Republic’s national team three years ago.
Depending on how low he drops —or if the Nets move up— Micah Seaborn, a 6’5” point guard prospect who played at Monmouth University could an interesting choice. So is Illinois alum Leron Black, a 6’7” forward. Seaborn’s 23, Black 22.
There are also a few former NBAers trying for comebacks. Hakim Warrick, the 6’9” power forward who played with Carmelo Anthony at Syracuse then had an eight year career in the NBA, wants back in ... but he’s 36. DeJuan Blair, who played for the Spurs and Mavericks, is also on the list. The bulky 6’7” forward is now 29.
Since becoming the Brooklyn Nets GM, Sean Marks has used the draft process to work out as many prospects as possible. He uses this time to gather data for the following year’s draft plus to get information on future prospective Brooklyn Nets as well as Long Island Nets for the upcoming season. That has created a huge database for the Nets to work with. G League prospects should expect the Nets know a lot about them.
Already, the Long Island roster is filling out and there’s no guarantee any of those picked will make it past training camp which begins on Tuesday.
In addition to two-way contracts Theo Pinson and Alan Williams and the two players they traded for this week, the Nets are expected to have several of their NBA training camp invites on hand for G League camp. That could include Nuni Omot, the 6’9” Baylor forward; Jordan McLaughlin, the 6’1” point guard from USC and two international prospects, 6’9” power forward Drew Gordon, who played in Russia last season, as well as 6’5” Australian swingman Mitch Creek.
Plus the Nets will have at least four returning players returning: Tahjere McCall, a 6’5” defensive specialist; Shannon Scott, a 6’3” point guard; Kendall Gray, a 6’10” center and Thomas Wimbush, a 6’7” forward.
A G League team can only carry 10 players. So it will be competitive.