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Biggest certainty for Nets fans on Draft Night: It won’t be boring

Sean Marks has a history with Draft Night: he’s very aggressive and this year may not change that.

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NBA Draft 2022 at Barclays Center in NY Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Nets have a history of being very active, sometimes shockingly so, on Draft Night. History teaches us that in-depth looks at who the Nets might take at X,Y, or Z are foolhardy.

Take a look at Sean Marks draft history:

  • In 2016, the Nets had no firsts and a deep second at No. 55. On Draft Day, they traded Thaddeus Young for the No. 20 pick which became Caris LeVert. They used cash to move from No. 55 to No. 42.
  • In 2017, they had the 22nd and 27th pick in the first and the 57th pick in the second. They included the 27th pick in the Brook Lopez-D’Angelo Russell trade and went with a stash at 57.
  • In 2018, they had a first rounder at No. 29 and two seconds at No. 40 and 45. They used the first and the higher of the seconds, trading away the lower one which became Hamidou Diallo as part of a salary dump involving Dwight Howard and Timofey Mozgov.
  • In 2019, they had two firsts at Nos. 17 and 29, both of which they traded away in salary dumps needed to sign Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan. They also had a second at No. 31. No. 17 became Nickell Alexander-Walker, No. 29 which became Mfiondu Kabengele as well as a second at 31, which became Nic Claxton, and added a late second at No. 56.
  • In 2020, they traded away the rights to the 19th pick, which became Saddique Bey, for Bruce Brown and Landry Shamet in a four-team deal.
  • In 2021, they made a last minute trade that sent Shamet to Phoenix for the 29th pick, giving them two firsts at Nos. 27 and 29 who became Cam Thomas and Day’ron Sharpe as well as three seconds at Nos. 44, 49 and 59. To everyone’s surprise, they used all five picks.

Last year, they sat things out in both rounds. That was the exception that proved the rule but in the final measure, Marks gets a lot done on Draft Night. So, put down your mock draft. The Nets hardly ever stick to the script at Barclays Center in late June.

This year, the Nets will have two firsts, the Suns at No. 21 and their own at 22 as well as their own second at 51. What will they have by midnight the morning of June 23, who knows.

John Hollinger told his fellow Athletic writer Alex Schiffer this week that he thinks the Nets will trade one of those picks to fill a need.

I think the Nets would probably prefer to use No. 21 and trade No. 22 if you gave them truth serum, but you don’t know what deals are going to be available to you on draft night and it’s difficult to trade for a contract given their tax situation. Could they turn pick 22 into a future protected first from another team? That would probably be their favorite option, given that they could also use that pick in a trade if need be.

As Sean Marks noted at his April 23 press conference, the Nets have the fourth largest stash of draft picks — 11 firsts, all unprotected; a first round swap and eight seconds, also all unprotected — in the NBA between now and 2029. They can afford to use some to shore things up.

But as Hollinger also mentions, the Nets will need to fill roster spots with the lower-paid to avoid going deeper in luxury tax territory where they would face new and loathsome roster restrictions. “Few contracts are more team friendly than those of late first-round picks,” Hollinger said.

Both Hollinger and Schiffer note the Nets’ purported interest in Rayan Rupert, the 6’7” wing from France who Marks personally scouted twice Down Under earlier this year. Hollinger also adds Noah Clowney, a 6’10” Alabama forward who has the makings of a good shot.

In talking about someone who reportedly could have yielded another first, Schiffer said he doesn’t believe Cam Thomas has much of a market.

I don’t see a trade market for him, though he could be a throw-in to a deal of sorts, too, but he is reminding me of a young Andrew Wiggins or Rudy Gay, where he is good for an empty 20-plus (or in this case 30-plus) mostly in games the team is punting on. When Thomas is hitting shots, it resembles a clinic. When he’s missing, it’s like watching me out there, because he doesn’t know when to turn it off and make plays.

Could we see a big deal on or just before Draft Night, one that would alter the team’s roster and future? Marks has done a lot of that, dealing Lopez for D’Lo, signing the Big Three, We don’t know, but it is not out of the range of possibility. Ya never know...