In an interview Friday morning on WFAN with Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno, Sean Marks talked a bit cryptically about how he wants flexibility come July 1 —”for us, there are some things out there” — and how that might have factored into his decision not to use his assets to move up on Draft Night.
And in a separate interview with the FAN’s Mike Francesa, Kenny Atkinson raved about the Nets two picks, Dzanan Musa and Rodions Kurucs.
Marks says he was “very close” to trading up in Thursday night’s draft but that he’s “excited” about Musa. who he took with the 29th overall pick ... and he wants flexibility come July.
“You’re trying to figure out is the cost to trade up worth it,” Marks said. “And like most teams, you want to do it on the clock because you’re thinking: ‘Is my guy there? Is my target there? And what’s it going to cost to get there?’
”So at that point, we didn’t feel like it was worth it. We weren’t ready to give away the asking price. And at the same time, these two guys -- Rodi (second-round pick Rodions Kurucs) and Dzanan -- we’d been targeting, so we’re definitely glad to have them in our family.”
Marks declined to detail what the offer was, but said as well, “It depends on what you’re willing to sacrifice. We like our solid vets on the team.”
Marks also couldn’t answer specific questions regarding the Dwight Howard trade and proposed buyout, but intimated the Nets will be active come July 1 when free agency opens.
“As always, everyone has a lot of things on their plate or on the table, whether they act on them or not,” Marks said when asked if he wanted to preserve assets, not jeopardize another potential deal in the coming days?
“And for us, there are some things out there, whether it’s pending. We’ll just have to wait and see in July, whether it’s how we use our cap space and how we move forward with that. We have flexibility in the future, which is important.”
On luring free agents, Marks mentioned Brooklyn’s system, coaches, culture, recommendations from former players, the city of Brooklyn and “committed ownership.”
“There are a lot of positives where this team can be in a year, two years,” he added.
As for Musa, Marks had high praise for him but admitted there is work to be done.
”Everyone’s talked about the offensive skill set that he has,” Marks said. “He’s been playing at a very, very high level in Europe for a long time, and his story is pretty intriguing, where a young kid leaves home at 11 years old by himself, and next thing you know he’s grinded his way and made a name for himself over there.“
Atkinson had similar words for both picks in talking with Francesa.
“He’s a scorer. He can create too in the pick-and-roll. He’s got an edge to him. He’s got personality,” Atkinson said. “These guys playing at 18 years old in these men’s professional leagues grow up fast. Both of these guys played in tough leagues. He’s an aggressive scorer. He’s not just a jump shooter. His body has got to get better. We got to get him in the weight room, got to get him stronger.”
Atkinson also gave an assessment of their second-round pick, Rodions Kurucs.
”Kurucs is almost like a Mike Dunleavy type,” Atkinson added. ”He’s a perimeter player that can shoot it. He can put it on the floor a little bit. He can definitely play some four, but also slide to the 3 too.”
Atkinson also talked about how figuring out if a player is “coachable” is a big factor in Draft Night decisions, but that even with all the scouting and intelligence-gathering, you don’t know till they walk on the floor for practice.
“The first part of development is picking the right horse,” Atkinson told Francesa. ”The guys that don’t develop, you can’t get through to them. You have to have great collaboration between management, scouting, and coaching.
“During the season, we’re not watching the Serbian League or the Spanish League. We really rely on our scouting team to come up with these answers. Is the guy coachable? How tough is he? We have standards. There’s stacks and stacks of intel reports in our office just trying to figure out who these guys are,” he added. “We need guys that are coachable and I think these guys are. You never know until you get them in your gym. It doesn’t matter who you draft.”
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