It’s not that the Draft will be anti-climactic, but after the Nets big (and roundly praised) trade, it a little bit of an after thought. Unless they make a trade and move up ... and/or get lucky and take this year’s Donovan Mitchell or Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn will likely come away with two players who won’t be in the rotation. One, in fact, could be a stash.
And according to one draftnik, Nets fans should start boning up on Isaac Bonga, the 6’9” small forward from the Frankfurt Skyliners!
After the Dwight Howard deal, the Nets have two picks, the 29th and 40th, both acquired in the DeMarre Carroll deal from last July. They traded the 45th yesterday. Everyone believes they want to move up, but with so little cap space left —somewhere between $4.4 million and $6.4 million, they’re unlikely to take on a salary dump and a pick. If they move up now, the more likely scenario would have them include someone from their current roster in a deal.
All that said, there’s no real consensus among draftniks on who the Nets want at either position or even who will be available. A number of players are expected to still on the board at the end of the first/beginning of the second, prospects like Hamidou Diallo, Josh Okogie, Grayson Allen, Jacob Evans, Dzanan Musa, Elie Okobo, Keita Bates-Diop, maybe Chandler Hutchison.
Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated reports in his mock draft that the Nets are “locked in” on one player and suggests it could be Isaac Bonga, an 18-year-old swingman from Germany. The son of Congolese immigrants, Bonga doesn’t even turn 19 until November. He can even play some point.
“The Nets are said to locked in on a player they like at 29, and have rebuffed potential trades including this pick. Bonga mysteriously pulled out of the NBA’s Global Elite Camp in Treviso and is thought by some to potentially have a guarantee in the late first round. Those signs point to the Nets. Bonga’s thought to be stashable with Frankfurt for another season, but could also potentially come to the NBA next year in the right situation.”
There is a Nets connection. Bonga is the youngest player to make the German national team in 40 years. The coach who pushed him? Chris Fleming, the Nets assistant coach, who was until recently the German national team coach.
Woo also thinks the Nets have interested in 6’9” Kentucky SF Jarred Vanderbilt, the five-star recruit who spent most of last season on the Kentucky bench with injuries.
The Nets are rumored to have interest in Vanderbilt, and buzz has circulated for weeks that he received a promise to remain in the draft. Intel on his predraft process has been scarce, although his health is thought to be a reason why he did not work out for teams. It’s unclear if Vanderbilt even interviewed anywhere at all, and he also withdrew from the combine. Some think it’s possible that he’s the player Brooklyn wants to select at 29. Given his significant injury history and fragile legs, he would seem to be more desirable on a second-round deal devoid of the lengthier financial guarantee he’d command in the 20s. It’s possible the Nets could be targeting him here instead.
Musa and Diallo are the two players who show up on the latest mock drafts (some of which will be updated later today). Sports Illustrated, Tankathon and NBADraft.net all have the Nets taking the 6’9” Bosnian at one or the other positions. ESPN, The Ringer, The Athletic, The Sporting News and the New York Post point to Diallo, the 6’6” Kentucky product from LeFrak City in Queens.
One prospect long linked to the Nets, Moritz “Moe” Wagner has moved up of late, perhaps out of the Nets range. Too bad. The 6’11” forward has said all the right things about Brooklyn.
“I used to be a Nets fan because I was a Boston fan because of Kevin Garnett. When he came to the Nets, I still kind of stayed a Boston fan but I had (feelings) for the Nets because of Kevin Garnett,” said Wagner, who counts ex-Michigan teammate and current Net guard Caris LeVert as a mentor. “And I thought the whole Jay-Z thing was cool.”
Will they buy a pick? It’s complicated. It would appear that after agreeing to provide Charlotte with an undetermined amount of cash considerations, that’s no longer likely. But since the deal can’t be completed until after July 1, it would appear they can still pay for a pick now. We’ll know soon enough.
- NBA Draft: Three players the Nets could take at No. 29 - Greg Logan - Newsday
- The draft sleepers Nets are eyeing if trade-up goes bust - Brian Lewis - New York Post