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Reading tea leaves about Nets Draft thinking

TCU v Kansas State Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

With Draft interviews now in full force, it’s hard to tell just who the Nets like for the 19th spot in the first round ... or the 55th spot in the second, if they keep it. But there are some suggestions of who they are prioritizing in their discussions.

This week, two prospects —Maryland big Jalen Smith and TCU sharpshooter Desmond Bane— have said the Nets were among their first interviews ... and in the case of one of Bane, he believes he was Brooklyn’s first interview.

Bane, in fact, seems to be lobbying for a job, as Brian Lewis reports Saturday.

“I believe I’m their first interview as well. It was very early on, and the interest was significant,” Bane said Wednesday via Zoom. “I spoke with the Nets very early on in the process, and the interview went great. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are going to be huge focal points of the team, so you’ve got to have guys like Joe Harris who can run around off screens and occupy defenses and make shots away from the ball.”

Bane, who like Harris is a 6’6” shooting specialist with an expanding game, said that he models his game on the Nets wing.

“That’s actually the guy that I study a lot in the NBA, just because we’re similar size, we played four years, he’s a tough guy, makes shots off a lot of different movements, can play off of handoffs and things like that. So that’s somebody that I really try to model my game after. He’s had great success in the Brooklyn organization and I feel like I could have similar success.”

Indeed, there are a lot of similarities between the two. Like Harris, Bane was a four-year college player and arguably the 2020 draft class’ top shooter. He averaged 16.6 points, 6.3 boards and 3.9 assists as a senior, hitting 44.2 percent from 3-point range. And of course, Harris is a free agent and the Nets could be looking for Joe insurance.

Besides, Smith and Bane, a scan of social media indicates the Nets have talked to at least three other prospects, two others in the first, Tyrell Terry, the Stanford point guard, and Precious Achiuwa, the Memphis power forward, plus one slated for late first or early second, Memphis wing Isaiah Joe.

Bane talked about what he can bring to the Nets, starting with his 43.3 percent shooting percentage from 3 over his four years at TCU.

“That’s where a lot of my value comes from,” said Bane. “Shooting is obviously a necessity in today’s game. You’ve seen it all throughout the playoffs: The teams who’re making shots and who’re defending are the teams who’re advancing; and those are two things I feel like I do very well. I see both of those things translating to the league and providing value early.”

Bane has been linked to the Nets by The Ringer in particular with their Kevin O’Connor seeing the advantages he could bring to Brooklyn...

The Nets will be competing for a championship next season, which means they should be prioritizing smart players who can play right away. Bane makes obvious sense since he’s one of the draft’s top shooters, decision-makers, and team defenders.

The prospects are interviewing by Zoom, getting measured and examined at the NBA arena nearest them and creating a Pro Day video through HomeCourt, a scouting app whose investors include Joe Tsai and his Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund as well as Steve Nash and Harris.