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Pincus: Nets overall pick stash is top 5 in draft power rankings

Draft picks are becoming the NBA’s new crypto. Alluring but real players. Still, they’re good to have and the Nets have a lot of good ones.

2023 NBA Draft Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Earlier this month, Sam Quinn of CBS Sports reported on the value of traded first rounders, saying the Nets were far and away the tops in that category. Now, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report goes a bit further, grading all 30 teams by the value of all their picks: traded firsts, but also, their own firsts, protections and swaps and even seconds. In his evaluation, the Nets are No. 5.

Writes Pincus of Brooklyn’s stash.

The Brooklyn Nets have a complex set of books with expensive obligations owed to the Rockets for James Harden (two unprotected firsts). But Brooklyn pivoted well when the relationship soured and replenished its draft capital in the Kevin Durant deal with the Phoenix Suns.

Of the team’s five incoming firsts, four are entirely unprotected. They can hold onto those selections and develop over time or cash them out via trade for a star player (Lillard?). The list of seconds is adequate (5-8), but Brooklyn’s list of firsts reflects an overall net positive to give the franchise a top-5 ranking.

As has been reported, have a total of 11 firsts through 2030, eight of which can be traded at any time, and as few as five or as many as eight second round picks, based on various contingencies. Here, from Pincus is the full lay out...


Own: 2029, 2030

Incoming: 2025 (Suns), 2027 (Suns), 2029 (Suns), 2027 (Sixers, protected), 2029 (Mavericks)

Swaps: 2025 and 2027 (higher to Rockets), 2026 (one of Nets, Rockets, Thunder), 2028 (two of Nets, Suns, Sixers (protected))

Traded Away: 2024 (Rockets), 2026 (Rockets)


Guaranteed: Five

Contingent: Three

The only teams Pincus ranks higher are the Jazz at No. 4, the Knicks at No. 3, the Spurs at No. 2 and the Thunder at No. 1. Who’s he got at No. 30? The Phoenix Suns, of course.

Draft picks, particularly first rounders, are becoming more valuable under the new CBA as teams fill out expensive rosters with the lower paid rookies. Not only can that strategy save money, but it can keep teams out of the luxury tax and under CBA “aprons.” More than one pundit has noted how unlikely are big, draft pick-heavy trades for superstars, swaps like those that sent Durant to Phoenix or Rudy Gobert to Minnesota.

The Nets have since the end of the season used three second rounders — two acquired in the Kevin Durant deal, one acquired in the Kyrie Irving deal — to shed more than $25 million in cap space with the trades of Joe Harris and Patty Mills. And they used the Suns’ first rounder acquired in the Durant trade to take Noah Clowney or Dariq Whitehead if you choose. The two were taken back to back. They are the youngest and second youngest firsts in Nets history.