The Brooklyn Nets traded DeAndre Jordan, and a bunch of second-round draft picks to the Detroit Pistons, and in return, they got Sekou Doumbouya and Jahlil Okafor.
Even though this looks like a salary dump trade from the outside, along with moving off an aging player that no longer has a tole for the Brooklyn Nets, this trade has a lot more to it.
ESPN Sources: Brooklyn is trading C DeAndre Jordan, four future-second round picks and $5.78M to Detroit for Jahlil Okafor and Sekou Doumbouya. Pistons plan to work through a buyout on two-years, $20M owed Jordan; Nets will save $47M in salary and tax on deal.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 3, 2021
First off, both Doumbouya and Okafor are former lottery picks, Okafor going 3rd overall in 2015 and Doumbouya going 15th in 2019. On top of that, they are both relatively young. They are both under 25, and this young age allows them time to figure out what makes them a good NBA player.
Out of these two players the Nets acquired, Okafor might have the most challenging time getting a role on the team. Okafor is not a good shooter from outside the paint; he is also not the best rebounder. Along with that, his defense was never anything special coming out of college, and it has not improved.
The Nets just drafted Day’Ronn Sharpe, who plays a similar style of offense which a much better defensive motor.
No one could have seen Sekou Doumbouya be this good this soon. He was so raw—jumper, handle, effort. Yet he's already excelling in those areas as a Pistons rookie. Looks like a young Siakam. It’s a testament to Sekou’s work ethic to improve so much in such a short amount of time. pic.twitter.com/UdDhupOvOA
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) January 17, 2020
The player Nets fans should be most excited about in this trade is Doumbouya. Doumbouya is just 20 years old, standing a 6’8″ with a 6’11” wingspan and a great defensive work ethic. His offensive game is extremely raw, but he won’t be asked to score on a Nets roster that has scoring all over it. This will give him time to develop that part of his game and learn how to improve his game from the scorers on the team.
Doumbouya joins the Nets as one of the team’s better defenders, and even though his stats are not excellent, he was on the Pistons, which doesn’t help. He only posted a 114 defensive rating per 100 possessions, 0.5 steals, and just 0.2 blocks per game. The plus side to this is that he only averaged 17.2 minutes a game in two years with the Pistons and never got constant time. His height, length, and just raw athleticism should shine for the Nets because he would be asked to live up to his lottery pick projection but play a small role within the team.
Doumbouya has the opportunity to fill in the wing defender role. Even though Doumbouya might not see a bump in his minutes, it might decrease; his role will be very similar to what Jeff Green did last season. Green was used as a primary perimeter defender for the Nets last season, and because of his size, he fits right into the Net’s switch-heavy defense. Still, there might not be enough minutes because of the lack of offense, which is a focal point for the Nets, and the signing of Paul Milsap and LaMarcus Aldridge.
However, Doumbouya could see the same usage as Bruce Brown last season, where Brown came in for defensive positions and stayed in the game when he played well. Also, behind Durant, who will likely get some great days, Joe Harris is the next small forward. This gives some opportunities for Doumbouya to shine, and if he does could see his role increase.
This trade is kind of perfect for the Nets, as they traded away a large contract and aging player for cheaper and younger players. Even though Okafor does not seem to have a role, this might be the best move for Doumbouya in his young career. He will have time to grow and learn offensively and impact the defensive end of the court.
If Doumbouya can find something constant offensively, Blake Griffin and Millsap might start to lose some minutes.
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