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Would Nets draft another big? Jalen Smith thinks he can help and Nets have interest

Maryland v LSU Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Nets would seem to have enough big men. Jarrett Allen, who did very well in the “bubble” —leading the playoffs in rebounds per game— and started for the most part. DeAndre Jordan showed he still has some stuff left, particularly in the passing lanes and on defense. Nicolas Claxton, although being brought along slowly, showed sparks in his 187 minutes of NBA action. And there’s a lot of rumors that Kevin Durant, who Steve Nash believes can play all five positions, will play minutes at the 5.

Not to mention the report that KD is trying to lure Serge Ibaka to Brooklyn.

Who’s a 4 and who’s a 5? In a Steve Nash-Mike D’Antoni offense, that might not matter, but one has to assume there will be a premium on bigs’ rim-running, passing out of the post and catch-and-shoot, whether mid-range or from deep. So all that said, would the Nets take a chance on a big in the NBA Draft, now five days away?

Jalen Smith, the 6’10” (7’2” wingspan) big out of Maryland, hopes they will. He likes the idea of playing with KD and playing on the same court, KG —Kevin Garnett— finished his career.

“Just being able to play with KD, that’s a dream come true.” he told reporters on a Zoom call Thursday.

“Growing up, I’ve always been a huge Kevin Garnett fan,” added Smith. “I just love the way he plays. I watched him because I feel as though we have the same body frame, same height, weight.”

Smith played two years at Maryland, developing his body and 3-point shooting. Smith was All-Big Ten as a center last season, playing out of position, averaging 15.5 points, 10.5 boards, 2.4 blocks, shooting 36.8 percent from 3, as Brian Lewis wrote Friday.

Here’s some highlights...

Now 225 pounds with room for more, particularly in his lower body, the 20-year-old’s 10 pound weight game let to a change in his nickname at College Park. It morphed alongside his body. His freshman year, Smith was “Stix.” By last year, he “Logx” or “Thix.”

“They gave me those nicknames because of the bulk I was putting on, the muscle. That’s why they started saying I was logs rather than sticks, because logs are a lot thicker than sticks,” said Smith, who’s still working on his lower body.

Smith won’t say if he’s worked out with any team, but there are indications — strong ones — that he is indeed on Brooklyn’s short list.

“I spoke with the whole front office. They’re great guys,” Smith said via Zoom. “They were just telling me how much film they’ve been watching on me, things that they see I need to improve on.

“They just said the main idea of coming into the league and getting ready to work, and no matter what obstacles are ahead of me, [is] that you’ve got to be able to hit it hard and don’t back down. That was the main emphasis of what they told me.”

Smith also noted that he’s been telling NBA types about his defense as well as offense.

“My lateral quickness, that’s been a main focus this offseason, making sure everything is more fluid, working on my footwork. Being able to guard a lot of guards that came through the gym during the summer has been helping me a lot.”