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DRAFT WATCH #3 - Muddled view of mediocre draft

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On Thursday, the 14 teams that missed the playoffs will get their consolation prize: the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery! But like everything else in this season of pandemic, it will be different, conducted by Zoom call on ESPN, for starters. Moreover, teams have been unable to meet with or work out prospects but instead are conducting conference calls with them. But it does appear there will be a Draft Combine, or more than one, as Woj reports.

Don’t expect the Draft, scheduled for October 16, to look the same either. There will be remote location views from the players’ homes and wherever Adam Silver is. No Barclays Center apparently this year. The WNBA Draft back in April is a good model for what we’re likely to see.

The Draft is also beset by something else that’s different: a lack of talent. It was mediocre before the pandemic and as things got worst, more and more prospects dropped out and returned to school. The result is a draft that is likely to rank among the worst in the last decade. As ESPN’s Jonathan Givony writes Tuesday...

While there’s some consensus among teams surrounding the top three prospects — including guards Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball, along with big man James Wiseman — we won’t have a clear picture until the final draft order is established. This was already considered a wide-open class back in February, and now teams will be selecting with less information than ever before.

Still, even with 19th overall pick, acquired from the Sixers last year, the Nets are confident in their scouting. They’ll note that Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen were taken even later than this year’s pick, LeVert at No. 20 in 2016 and Allen at No. 22 in 2017. Rodions Kurucs and Nicolas Claxton look pretty good for second rounders, too.

So with all that in mind, here’s everyone’s latest mock draft starting with ESPN, who released theirs Tuesday. The Nets selection? No consensus other than it appears the draftniks think the Nets are likely to draft big with a few suggesting a 3-and-D candidate. ESPN has them taking Jalen Smith, a 6’10” power forward who reminds some of Serge Ibaka.

There’s no real consensus on who the Nets might pick although some names have been mentioned as possibilities in more than one draft. The most frequently mentioned include Smith, Saddiq Bey and Patrick Williams both 6’8” small forwards with a defensive mindset and Alexej Pokusevski of Serbia, a skilled 18-year-old who stands 7’0” tall but only weighs 195 pounds.

And in the second round, where the mocks descend to No. 60, there’s no consensus, either. However, the most intriguing name linked to the Nets in the 13 mocks we surveyed is Kenyon Martin Jr., an athletic 6’6” forward who’s the son of the Nets great.

A caveat: Some of the mocks only include first rounders and several of the mocks are dated and most have the Nets at No. 20, not 19. That’s because before the “bubble,” that’s where the Nets pick sat. The 76ers poor performance in the “bubble” got the Nets up to No. 19. We went with the Nets pick on the mock draft whether it’s listed at No. 19 or 20.

And of course, a team’s priorities can change. Last June, the Nets had two first rounders and the first pick in the second round. By the end of Draft Night, they had two second round picks ... and lot of cap space for Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan. So ya never know.

ESPN

19. Jalen Smith, 6’10” PF, Maryland, sophomore

55. Kenyon Martin Jr. 6’7” SF, IMG Academy

NBADraft.net

20. Daniel Uturu, 6’10” PF, Minnesota, sophomore

55. Omer Yurtseven, 7’0” PF, Georgetown, junior

Sports Illustrated

20. Jaden McDaniels, 6’9” SF, Washington, freshman

55. Kaleb Wesson, 6’9” C, Ohio State, junior

The Athletic

20. Saddiq Bey, 6’8” SF, Villanova sophomore

55. Yam Madar, 6’3” PG, Haopel Tel Aviv, (19)

The Ringer

20. Aleksej Pokusevski, 7’0” PF, Serbia via Olympiakos (18)

Bleacher Report

20. Jaden McDaniels, 6’9” SF/PF, Washington freshman

Tankathon

20. Alexsej Pokusevski, 7’0” PF, Serbia via Olympiakos (18)

55. Sam Merrill, 6’6” SG, Utah State, senior

CBS Sports

20. Patrick Williams, 6’8” SF, Florida State, freshman

NBC Sports

20. Kira Lewis, 6’3” SG, Alabama, junior .

The Sporting News

20. Aaron Nesmith, 6’6” SG, Vanderbilt sophomore

55. Romeo Weems, 6’7” SF, DePaul freshman

Yahoo! Sports

22. Jalen Smith, 6’10” C, Maryland, sophomore

55. Isaiah Joe, 6’5” SG, Arkansas, sophomore

24/7 Sports

21. R.J. Hampton, 6’5” New Zealand Breakers (19)

FanSided

18. Patrick Williams, 6’8” SF, Florida State freshman

The Draft Lottery will take place at 8:30 PM ET on ESPN Thursday following Bucks-Magic game.