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Draft Watch #4 - Would Nets take a player with foot issues? They have before

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Duke v Tennessee Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

The Nets are not averse to taking chances at the Draft. In fact, some of their best bets have been on players who, for whatever reason, others steer clear of. Caris LeVert had three foot surgeries. Jarrett Allen supposedly didn’t love the game enough. Nic Claxton was too skinny, etc., etc.

Now, in the latest mock drafts, some other risky business has emerged. Dariq Whitehead, Duke’s 6’7” wing, was Mr. Basketball USA and Naismith Prep Player of the Year in 2022 while taking home MVP honors at the McDonald’s All-American Game. He spent five years at Monteverde Academy, the Sarasota basketball factory. Now, in our latest survey of mock drafts, the Newark native is the most popular choice for Brooklyn at Nos. 21 or 22, being named in five mocks out of the 15 we follow. Leonard Miller, the 6’10” wing from G League Ignite who had been the most popular choice in our earlier surveys, is mocked to the Nets in four.

What’s the risk with the Duke freshman? Injury, much like LeVert. Over the last year, he’s had two foot surgeries, the most recent 10 days ago. Like LeVert, the more recent surgery was performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, the Nets official hospital, by Dr. Martin O’Malley, the Nets official foot and ankle specialist. That’s a good thing.

“He will begin his rehab process in two weeks and should be ready for full participation at the start of NBA training camp,” Dr. O’Malley said in a statement. “a revision operation with bone grafting for a fifth metatarsal Jones fracture.”

Does that give the Nets an advantage? More than one mock thinks it does. as it had with LeVert. As of now, teams have adopted a wait-and-see attitude, not being able to work out the 18-year-old who is one of the youngest players in the Draft. At Duke, he was basically a shell of his high school self, averaging 8.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game in his lone season while shooting 42.1% from the field and 42.9% from 3-point range.

Here’s one scouting report...

Overall, the latest mocks haven’t changed much in their assessments of the Nets interest. Other than Whitehead’s rise, the same names dominate: Miller; Kris Murray, the Iowa wing; G.G. Jackson, the South Carolina PF; Noah Clowney, the Alabama big and Jett Howard, the Michigan wing. One are all on more than one mock.

A couple of other notes: Emoni Bates, the 6’9” high school wunderkind who had been mocked to Brooklyn in the second round, has dropped. And although the Nets have a surfeit of wings on their current, mock drafts overwhelmingly have them taking wings.

ESPN

21, Keyonte George, 6’4” shooting guard, Baylor, freshman

22. James Nnaji, 6’11” center, F.C. Barcelona, 18 years old

51. Colin Castleton, 7’0” C/PF, Florida, senior

NBADraft.net

21. G.G. Jackson, 6’9” forward, South Carolina, freshman

22. Noah Clowney, 6’10” center, Alabama, freshman

51. Keyontae Johnson, 6’5” small forward, Kansas State, senior

The Athletic

21. Dariq Whitehead, 6’7” wing, Duke, freshman

22. Jaime Jaquez Jr., 6-6 guard, UCLA, senior

51. Jaylen Clark, 6’5” wing, UCLA, Junior

The Ringer

21. Jordan Hawkins, 6’4” shooting guard, UConn, sophomore

22. Leonard Miller, 6’10” forward, G League Ignite, 19 years old

51. Jaylen Clark, 6’5” wing, UCLA, Junior

Sports Illustrated

21. Kris Murray, 6’8” forward, Iowa, junior

22. Jett Howard, 6’8” wing, Michigan, freshman

Tankathon

21. Jett Howard, 6’8” wing, Michigan, freshman

22. G.G. Jackson, 6’9” forward, South Carolina, freshman

51. Mike Miles Jr., 6’2” point guard, TCU, junior

CBS Sports

21.Kris Murray, 6’8” forward, Iowa, junior

22. Colby Jones, 6’6” wing, Xavier, junior

SB Nation

21. Dariq Whitehead, 6’7” wing, Duke, freshman

22. Kris Murray, 6’8” forward, Iowa, junior

USA Today

21. Brice Sensabaugh, 6’6” wing, Ohio State, freshman

22. Dariq Whitehead, 6’7” wing, Duke, freshman

Yardbarker

21. Leonard Miller, 6’10” forward, G League Ignite, 19 years old

22. Rayan Rupert, 6’7” guard, New Zealand Breakers, 18 years old

Bally Sports

21. Dariq Whitehead, 6’7” wing, Duke, freshman

22. Leonard Miller, 6’10” forward, G League Ignite, 19 years old

Clutch Points

21. Kobe Bufkin, 6’4” combo guard, Michigan, sophomore

22. Jett Howard, 6’8” wing, Michigan, freshman

New York Post

21. G.G. Jackson, 6’9” power forward, South Carolina, freshman

22. Kobe Bufkin, 6’4” combo guard, Michigan, sophomore

Newsday

21. Noah Clowney, 6’10” center, Alabama, freshman

22. Kris Murray, 6’8” forward, Iowa, junior

amNY

21. Leonard Miller, 6’10” forward, G League Ignite, 19 years old

22. Max Lewis, 6’7” wing, Pepperdine, sophomore