Draft Notebook: Nets looking for center, point guard

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Philadelphia
Mason Plumlee could provide nice depth at center with Brook Lopez coming off an injury.

The Nets have the 22nd pick (for now) in Thursday’s NBA draft at the Barclays Center. It is the fifth time they are picking at No. 22 and hoping for better success than previous picks, like Marcus Williams (2006), Viktor Khryapa (2004), Zoran Planinic (2003) and Tate George (1990).

Notable selections from that spot include Kenneth Faried (2011), Courtney Lee (2008), Jared Dudley (2007) and Jarrett Jack (2005) — and that is what the Nets are striving for, a rotation player who can provide some athleticism or shooting, or a combination of those two attributes.

Signs seem to indicate a point guard since C.J. Watson is likely opting out of the contract signed last summer, leaving Tyshawn Taylor as the primary backup to Deron Williams. Taylor will participate in the summer league in Orlando, but GM Billy King indicated he wants some competition and this could be a cheaper way to achieve that since the 2013-14 NBA salary scale calls for the 22nd selection to make $1,082,200

The Nets also have a need for more defense from the center position if they seek a backup to Brook Lopez, especially after he had a screw removed from his surgically-repaired right foot. Or they could seek offense from the forward positions currently occupied by Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace, who struggled all year for consistent offense.

Another possibility is that Brooklyn takes a European forward who will come over in a few years, closer to the end of Wallace’s four-year contract that he signed after King traded the 2012 first-round, lottery pick to Portland.

 

Previewing the Pick

SF Giannis Adetokoubo, Greece » The Nets will be adding one Euro-stash in Bojan Bogdanovic, and may look in this direction with the pick. The 18-year-old, with a Nigerian passport, is regarded as someone with a large wingspan and his staying in Europe could help with the Nets’ salary-cap situation, while he potentially could serve as a replacement for Wallace.

C Gorgui Dieng, Louisville » The Nets don’t need an offensive-minded center, assuming Brook Lopez recovers from the foot surgery and Andray Blatche re-signs. However, defense is a need and that’s what Dieng does. He was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year, and he also has a decent mid-range game.

C Mason Plumlee, Duke » King has never selected a player from his alma mater in his previous 12 drafts, but that could change if he goes in this direction. Despite good size and an ability to rebound, scouting reports indicate his footwork gets him in trouble with opposing defenses and his ability to run the floor is regarded as average.

PG Shane Larkin, Miami » King has stated he likes some competition for the right to backup Williams and Larkin could be someone capable of stepping into the role expected to be vacated when Watson opts out of his contract. Larkin’s three-point game has improved and, according to Synergy Sports, his 514 possessions on pick-and-rolls ranked second in the country, which must make new coach Jason Kidd salivate. The downside is his size, but the Nets got beat in the postseason by a player, Nate Robinson, whose size also was a question eight years ago. Problem is, Larkin is projected to be a top-15 pick.

F Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga » Olynyk was the most improved player in the country after redshirting his junior season. Despite not being a great athlete, according to NBA.com, his versatility in the post and range at the three-point line is highly regarded. He has been projected by some as a lottery pick, so getting him might not be realistic.

SG/SF Jamaal Franklin, San Diego St. » Franklin was among the first players to work out for the Nets and is the only Division I player to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. Scouts love his explosiveness, his passing and rebounding. They don’t like his perimeter game, which has made some refer to him as a ‘tweener’ without a position, but those are things that can improved on.



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