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PICKS: Nets take LSU’s Cam Thomas at No. 27, Day’Ron Sharpe at No. 29

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2021 NBA Draft Photo by Stephen Pellegrino/NBAE via Getty Images

With trade rumors still swirling, the Nets took Cam Thomas, LSU’s shooting guard who averaged 23 points a game this season, at No. 27. Thomas, 19, is a 6’5” freshman. Then, Brooklyn turned around two picks later and took Day’Ron Sharpe, the 6’11” North Carolina freshman, with a pick acquired earlier in the night from Phoenix.

Here’s what ESPN’s Jonathan Givony wrote of Thomas in the last mock draft. Thomas had been projected as high as the late teens.

While only 19, Thomas has some of the best scoring instincts in the draft and will likely need little time to acclimate himself offensively thanks to the aggressiveness and skill he brings on that end of the floor.

Sam Vecenie of The Athletic was less enthusiastic (even though he had Thomas going to the Nets at #27.

Thomas will need to be so good at scoring that he overcomes his weaknesses. And here’s the thing: That threshold for scoring in the NBA is exceptionally high. Having said that, Thomas genuinely might meet it, given that he finished fourth in the country in scoring as a teenager and has all sorts of creativity as a scorer.

Here’s some highlights...

Here’s what ESPN wrote of Sharpe, who was close to a consensus pick for the Nets in mocks.

If they don’t move out, adding depth at center with a player they can develop into a meaningful contributor in the long haul may make some sense. Sharpe has helped himself in the pre-draft process, shedding weight, showcasing much better floor-spacing potential than previously advertised, and impressing in private interviews with his boisterous personality.

Vecenie wrote of Sharpe...

He’s one of those dudes who just seems to know what he’s doing out there at a high level. He makes really high-level reads and rotations. Some of the passes he makes for his size display a feel that isn’t normal for a big. He’s light on his feet and is the kind of athlete who tends to outperform the traditional valuations of explosive athleticism. But he’s pretty rough on defense right now.

His highlights...

While the picks have been officially recorded as the Nets’ selections, there were continuing rumors that the Nets were involved in trade talks. Adrian Wojnarowski seemed to be hinting at the possibility just before the Thomas pick.

After the Draft, Sean Marks touched on the possibility of a Dinwiddie S&T, but played it coy.

“It’s difficult to discuss the hypotheticals. It sounds like you know more about the upcoming trades and so forth than I do,” Marks said jokingly when asked about rumors. “But we’ve been focused on the draft right now.

“Spencer obviously being a pending free agent, we’ll have to wait for the right time to talk to him and talk to his agents and his people, and we’ll figure out what’s best for both Spencer and the Nets. And if there’s something to be done where he’s returning, terrific. If there’s not and he’s moving on, look, we wish Spencer all the best. He’s been nothing but a pro his entire time here and to be quite frank, he deserves the right to be a free agent.”

The trade rumors didn’t bother Thomas. In his post-draft interview at Barclays Center, Thomas said he appreciated being drafted by a contender...

According to reports the last few days, the Nets were engaged in talks to move off DeAndre Jordan’s contract which has two years and $19.7 million left. There were also suggestions that the Nets could ultimately become part of the Lakers-Wizards trade that sent Russell Westbrook to L.A. In one rumored scenario, the Wizards would send Kyle Kuzma to Brooklyn as part of a Spencer Dinwiddie sign-and-trade. Neither had materialized by the end of the Draft.

The first rounders are different in a number of ways. Thomas is more in-your-face while Sharpe is more low-key. As Mike Scotto tweeted, Thomas does not lack for confidence. He quoted from a podcast earlier this month...

In the second round, the Nets took Kessler Edwards, a 6’8” defensive-minded swingman out of Pepperdine at No. 44, and Marcus Zegarowski, a 6’2” shooting guard with range out of Creighton, at No. 49, and RaiQuan Gray, a 6’8”, 260-pound big man out of Florida State at No 59. Zegarowski is the younger brother of Michael Carter-Williams.

Of the three, Edwards appears to be the most NBA-ready, primarily because of his defense.

After the Draft, David Duke Jr., a 6’5” shooting guard out of Providence, said he’s been invited to Brooklyn’s training camp. Like Edwards, he has a reputation as a stopper.

Counting Jevon Carter, acquired in the Suns trade, the Nets wound up with seven new faces. Not all of them will make the Brooklyn roster, but with two-way contracts and direct signings to Long Island, there will be opportunities.