It was only three days ago that we updated our survey of mock drafts, but after Thursday night’s Draft Lottery, some of the bigger, more popular media sites have posted new mocks ... and in more than one, the Nets come away with surprising picks.
If you missed last night’s Zoom Lottery, the Timberwolves, represented by D’Angelo Russell, won the big prize, followed by the Warriors, Hornets and Bulls. The T’Wolves jumped two places to No. 1, the Bulls went from No. 7 to No. 4, and the Hornets had the biggest leap of all, going from No. 8 to No. 3. There were big losers as well in the ping pong sweepstakes. The Cavaliers went from No. 2 to No. 5 while the Hawks, Pistons and Knicks all dropped two spots.
Spencer Dinwiddie, never reluctant to annoy Knick fans, tweeted out a three-letter comment on New York’s fall ... “L.O.L.”
The Nets of course weren’t in the lottery. They control Philadelphia’s pick, which is now at No. 19, thanks to Philly’s disappointing run in the “bubble.” As of now, there’s no real consensus on any pick that low, what with the scrambled picture up top. That said, Saddiq Bey of Villanova keeps getting mentioned.
Teams can only interview prospects via Zoom and the Draft Combine remains muddled. There’s even been some reports that the Draft, scheduled for October 16, could slip. Still, the media that updated their mocks overnight suggest that Brooklyn could be looking at prospects who, for whatever reason, have dropped in the past weeks.
Perhaps the most surprising mock, from a Nets fan’s perspective, is The Athletic. Sam Vecenie thinks that Cole Anthony, who had been seen as a high lottery pick at the beginning of the college season, could fall to the Nets.
Anthony is an extremely divisive prospect who teams have a wide range of opinions on. Some people do think of him as a legit lottery-level talent due to his on-court toughness, ability to get separation and shot-making ability. Those teams see him as a potential starting point guard. After all, he did average 18.5 points and 4.0 assists as a freshman. Other evaluators see him in a much lesser light. They worry that he’s a 6-foot-2 shooting guard who isn’t an elite shooter and who wants to dominate the ball a bit beyond what his skillset would allow.
Vecenie thinks Anthony, the son of Greg Anthony, is best suited to be a back-up shooting guard and notes that that the Nets could be in need of one depending on how things shake out in the off-season. But he also suggests that the Nets could move the pick.
The Nets are firmly entering a contention window next season, and likely wouldn’t mind adding a veteran if they could use this pick to do so. Don’t be stunned to see this pick in trade negotiations.
ESPN’s new mock also has the Nets getting a prospect who would’ve been a reach a few months back: R.J. Hampton, the 6’5” Dallas teenager who decided to ply his trade in Australia’s National Basketball League, playing for the New Zealand Breakers (in Sean Marks hometown of Auckland.) Here’s what Jonathan Givony wrote overnight...
Hampton is one of the best athletes in this draft — with an explosive first step and the ability to play above the rim with ease — and he has significant upside to grow into long term.
Hampton had been seen initially as a consensus top five pick coming out of high school, but had injuries while Down Under and questions arose about his strength and toughness. Givony and Mike Schmitz wrote of that back in May...
Can stand to toughen up both as a finisher and defender. Shot only 3.6 free throws per 40 minutes despite his athletic tools. Gets taken advantage of by stronger guards defensively.
SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell updated his mock as well and links the Nets to Saddiq Bey, the 6’8” Villanova 3-and-D wing. Over the course of the last six months, no prospect has been more frequently linked to Brooklyn than Bey. As O’Donnell writes.,,
Bey is one of the best pure shooters in the draft. The 6’8 wing shot 45.1 percent from three-point range during his breakout sophomore season at Villanova. His combination of size and shooting makes him a viable option in the first round, but it’s fair asking what else he’ll bring to the table. Bey doesn’t jump off the page athletically which hurts him defensively and as a creator. As long as his college shooting numbers translate to the league, he should have a long career.
Bey is also the choice of NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith. His update notes that Bey, as a junior, is a prospect who could help a contender because of his maturity...
An overachiever. Bey is a two-way player who stood out on both sides of the ball for #10 Villanova Wildcats this season … Knock down shooter from both mid-range and beyond the arc … Held his own in limited post opportunities this season … Strong and determined defender who can successfully defend 2s, 3s, and (college) 4s … Physical on both offense and defense.
Same with NBC Sports Tyler Byrum and Chase Hughes...
A power forward turned wing that really found his confidence from behind the arc during his sophomore season at Villanova. Not a guy that is going to reside in the post often but has post moves in his arsenal that can help him generate space.
The other prospect frequently attached to the Nets in mock drafts is Patrick Williams of Florida State who has the size if not the polish of Bey. Gary Parrish of CBS Sports thinks that he’s more a project but worth the risk for the Nets...
Patrick Williams is probably more of a long-term investment than he is an instant-impact rookie considering he’ll barely be 19 years old on the night of the draft. He’s a project. But the 6-8 forward measures well and was a key piece on a Florida State team that won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title. He performed strongly down the stretch while scoring in double-figures in five of the Seminoles’ final seven games. So, again, it’s possible he won’t help an NBA team much next season. But what Williams could become in a year or two is enough to generate attention in the back half of the first round, where somebody will be getting a player with enough upside that the decision to select him could pay off provided that the franchise that selects him is patient enough to wait on the return.
Also in the “no surprise” category is Sports Illustrated’s overnight mock. Jeremy Woo thinks the safe pick is Terrell Terry, the 6’2” freshman guard out of Stanford. Count Woo among those who also think the Nets may deal their pick...
Guards who can stretch defenses and play on or off the ball are somewhat en vogue right now, and while Terry needs to keep adding weight, his skill set should play up comfortably in time. He’d be a strong option for Brooklyn here, where he wouldn’t be forced into big minutes immediately, but could have a chance to contribute as a role player sooner than expected. The Nets may also look to trade this pick as they accelerate toward contention in the Eastern Conference.
Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman thinks the Nets might go international as they have repeatedly in the Sean Marks era. He even suggests that the Nets could stash the pick...
Unlikely to find an immediate contributor at No. 19, Brooklyn can use the draft to make sure it’s taking care of its future. A 6’6” passer and playmaker, Bolmaro just signed a three-year deal with Barcelona, so even if he’s not ready to come over to the NBA, he’ll continue to develop in a favorable situation overseas.
Problem is that if you stash a first rounder, his salary —in this case, $2.5 million— stays on the cap as a cap hold under until he comes over. And as the Nets learned with Rodions Kurucs and 2017 stash Aleksandar Vezenkov, Barcelona may not be an ideal place to develop NBA talent. Plus, he’s likely to have a significant buyout. NBA teams can only pay $725,000 towards a buyout.
Tankathon which updates its mock with great regularity thinks the Nets would be best served by taking Jalen Smith, the 6’10” Maryland power forward who some have compared to a young Serge Ibaka.
Would the Nets consider trading the pick? Of course. They traded the 17th and 27th picks a year ago June to clear salary cap space for Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan. Instead, they went with Nicolas Claxton, a long-term prospect, at the top of the second round, getting him at a bargain price. Now, they’re faced with molding their core for a championship run. A pick even in what most think is a mediocre draft could have some value. Finally, we assume the Nets will have decided on their head coach by October. He too will have a say.
Like everything else, it’s unsettled. Stay tuned.