We don’t have anything official yet, but if social media accounts are correct, Brooklyn’s summer league roster is shaping up as quite the international contingent. Although Sean Marks said last week that he wasn’t sure if his two draft picks would play in Las Vegas, there’s word that at least one of them will play.
Brooklyn Nets second-round pick Rodions Kurucs will play in summer league, according to sources. #Nets— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) June 27, 2018
So far, we count seven players from seven countries on four continents who’ve been linked to the Vegas roster. That’s out of 13 players we’ve been able to identify — including the draft picks and four players from the Nets and their G-League affiliate on Long Island. Here’s some thumbnails of the internationals...
—Dzanan Musa of Bosnia, the Nets first round pick, is a 6’9” swingman who sees himself as a guard in the NBA and thinks he can play the 1, 2, or 3. Musa has played for the Bosnian national team since he was 16 and was also the star of their U14 and U16 teams, winning the MVP of the 2015 FIBA Europe championship, which brought 50,000 fans to the streets of Sarajevo. He told his Bosnian coashes this week that he will not be available for the FIBA World Cup qualifiers which begin Thursday.
—Rodions Kurucs of Latvia, the Nets second round pick, is also a 6’9” swingman who says he can play the 2, 3 or 4, although his likely NBA roles is at the stretch-4. Kurucs has yet to play for the Latvian senior men’s national team, spending his international time on the junior teams, most recently the U20 squad. He, too, informed his coaches this week that he will be focused on his Nets commitments and will not play in the U20 European championships next month.
—Tyler Davis, a 6’10” junior forward from Texas A&M and Puerto Rico. Davis was seen as a potential second round pick, but suffered a concussion this season which hurt his draft stock. A high character guy with a strong workout ethic, he turned his body from round to ripped, as one Houston sports blog put it. A hard worker in the post, he averaged 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds, hitting better than 60 percent of his shots in his three year career. Also not a shooter, taking only 26 shots from deep, and only one since his freshman year. A member of the Puerto Rican national team.
—Yuta Watanabe, a 6’9 senior shooting guard from George Washington and Japan. Watanabe is a shooter. He made 36.4 percent of his three’s on his way to a 16.4 point average his senior year. He also grabbed 6.1 rebounds and is seen as an underrated defender, voted the Atlantic 10’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. Watanabe is attempting to become just the second Japanese-born player in NBA history after 5’9” point guard Yuta Tabuse who played four games for the Phoenix Suns in 2004. Watanabe provided NBA Japan with an inside look at the Nets workout routine. A member of the Japanese national team.
—Shawn Dawson, a 6’6” swingman from Israel. The 24-year-old is the son of an American basketball player. He has played in Israel his entire career, not attending a U.S. college. He’s had tryouts with the Pelicans and Wizards. He is an efficient scorer even if his 3-point shot is not that deadly. He can play multiple positions. He’s 24 and a member of the Israeli national team. He got a release from his FIBA World Cup qualifying team commitments this week as well. According to reports out of Israel, he was given an injury waiver even though he’ll be playing in Vegas.
—Ding Yanyuhang, a 6’7” swingman from China, where he’s one of the CBA’s top domestic players and a friend of Jeremy Lin. He was invited to join the summer league team, according to reports, after he came to Brooklyn for medical attention and decided to work out with Lin at HSS Training Center. He was expected to sign with the Dallas Mavericks (who are going to China in October for a preseason tour. Ding, 24, has been the Domestic MVP in the China Basketball Association the past two seasons, averaging 26.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game this year for Shandong.
—Juan Pablo Vaulet, a 6’7” swingman from Argentina. Drafted by the Nets in 2015, Vaulet has suffered injury after injury, requiring two ankle surgeries in the three years since he was picked. He was originally proposed as a summer player player back in 2015, but suffered a stretch fracture of his ankle at the FIBA U19 tournament in Greece. He left the Argentine team last week with ankle soreness. In an interview with NBA Mexico published Thursday, Vaulet confirmed he will be available.
In addition to the internationals, the teams will reportedly feature a couple of undrafted American college players and four members of the Nets from last season, two from the 15-man roster.
—Theo Pinson, a 6’6” combo guard from the University of North Carolina who’s likely to play the point in the NBA. He reportedly has an “Exhibit 10” deal which guarantees him $50,000 and preserves his G-League rights. Pinson, who has a near 7-foot wingspan, is a defensive specialist and a player who Roy Williams used to guard everyone from point guards to bigs. In fact, Pinson went up against Marvin Begley III in the all-important Duke-UNC contests. He’s not a shooter, taking only 179 three’s in his four year career ... and making 26.9 percent of them. Pinson did average 10 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists, showing his versatility. A member of North Carolina’s 2017 NCAA championship team. Pinson was ranked the nation’s 10th best high school player in 2014, three spots ahead of D’Angelo Russell and four ahead of Isaiah Whitehead.
—Jordan McLaughlin, a 6’2” senior point guard from USC. McLaughlin is a top floor general and a good outside shooter as well. He may have a camp invite as well as one to the summer league. Over the course of his four-year career with the Trojans, McLaughlin shot 38 percent from three and averaged 5.8 assists, including 7.8 this past season, third nationally. An all-around, if undersized, player, McLaughlin finished his USC career second in assists, third in steals, fourth in points and fifth in three-pointers made.
The four Nets who’ve said they expect to play are Caris LeVert, entering his third year for the Nets; Jarrett Allen, who’s entering his second year, and the two two-way players from last season: Milton Doyle and James Webb III. Isaiah Whitehead, still recovering from post-season wrist surgery will not play.
Team can carry up to 15 players on their summer league rosters. So it appears there are a couple of spots left to fill, if they aren’t filled already. Play starts on July 6 when the Nets take on Magic in an internationally televised game on NBA TV.