The Brooklyn Nets are in great shape going into the 2021 Draft, which will happen on July 29th.
Even though the narrative around the team is that they don’t have picks because of the James Harden trade, that would be incorrect.
The Nets have four picks in this draft, one in the first round and three in the second round.
This gives General Manager Sean Marks many options on draft night, whether to keep the picks and add young talent or use the picks as trade value to bolster the roster with already NBA-proven players.
Select Young Talent
The first option, just like all drafts, has an immense amount of upside but also a massive downside. The Nets are in the Finals window, and when you have a team of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Harden, your goal every year is to win the NBA Finals. That did not happen this season because of the Nets’ lack of depth and being too top-heavy. Adding depth to this team is a must this offseason, and the draft is the perfect place to start.
The Nets would be adding young, hopefully hungry, players to the roster who could benefit from being on a team that will make a long run in the playoffs. These rookies would not have to be stars right away and play simple roles. Now the issue is how long it would take for the rookies to find their roles and be successful in them. The Nets want to win now, and waiting for rookies to get up to speed in the NBA might take too long, putting the Nets in the same situation as last season. The upside is that signing rookies could save the Nets money for free agency and possibly find a hidden gem who could play a massive role for the team.
The Talent That Could Join the Nets
As of right now, there is just a lot of speculation and Mock Drafts floating around the NBA media universe. Luckily, Nets Daily put together an article showing all the Nets’ possible draft picks through many different Mock Drafts. Ziaire Williams is a freshman forward from Standard, Day’ron Sharpe, a freshman center from North Carolina, and Jaden Springer, a freshman guard from Tennessee, seem to be the names that show up the most at pick 27.
These three players play into the Nets’ needs, are young with upside, played for top tear College teams (meaning they could be more NBA ready), and are all hard workers on the defensive side of the ball. All three of these players came into college with high recruits but in a bizarre year. They could prove to be diamonds in the rough over a long season.
These high upside players could be pivotal, as the Nets took a chance drafting Caris LeVert, which turned out pretty good. If the Nets draft a freshman in the first round because of the upside, they will most likely draft more NBA-ready players in the second round if they keep the three picks.
Draft Night Trades
In last year’s draft, the Nets pulled off moves for Landry Shamet and Bruce Brown, who played significant roles this season. Marks decided to take proven talent over unproven, and Nets will likely do the same this year.
The likelihood of the Nets trading for Myles Turner or Ben Simmons is slim unless they can figure out a sign-and-trade with Spencer Dinwiddie. The more realistic option is to use the draft capital to move up and down the draft order using their picks and maybe Shamet to complete the trade.
Jarret Culver is a name that stands out, with the Minnesota Timberwolves saying all that it would take in the trade is a second-round pick. The Nets have three of those, and Culver is a former lottery pick who can blossom into something as a backup guard for Irving and Harden.
Draft night can be unpredictable and crazy.
The Nets could hear rumors about another team drafting someone they like forcing them to move up, or the player they want is taken, so they move back.
The Nets will be looking for players who can make impacts now, and that can be through a trade or drafting someone they think very highly of.
Along with all that, drafting rookies to rookie contracts would be very good for the Nets cap flexibility going into free agency.
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