NBA Draft 2012: 5 Players New Jersey Nets Should Target

Danny Paskas@DannyPaskasSenior Analyst IApril 3, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: 5 Players New Jersey Nets Should Target

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    Where the New Jersey Nets wind up picking in this year's draft remains a mystery. In a best case scenario, they would have two first round picks. The first one would be a top three pick and the second one would land right out of the lottery at No. 16.

    For this to happen, the lottery gods must reward the Nets with one of the top three picks and the Houston Rockets must hold on to the eight spot in the Western Conference and sneak into the playoffs.

    In a worst case scenario, the lottery goes wrong, and instead rewards the Nets with a pick out of the top three which in turn would go to the Portland Trailblazers due to the terms agreed upon in the Gerald Wallace trade. Also, the Houston Rockets will fail to make the playoffs which would allow the Rockets to keep their pick from this year.

    In this case, the Nets will be left without a first round pick.

    Due to the many scenarios involved, the Nets should have their eyes on the high picks as well as the mid first round picks.

    With that in mind, here are five players the Nets should target.

Anthony Davis

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    Anthony Davis is not really a player a team targets for, he's a player a team automatically takes if available.

    Davis is without a doubt the draft's best player and surefire No. 1 pick. Whatever team is lucky enough to land the first pick, Davis will be their selection.

    In his freshman year at Kentucky, he averaged 14.4 points, 10 rebounds and 4.6 rebounds per game as he led the Wildcats to the NCAA Championship.

    Along the way, Davis set the record for blocked shots in a season for the SEC, was a 2012 NCAA Consensus First team All-American, the Defensive Player of the Year, the Associated Press Player of the Year. He also won the Oscar Robertson Trophy, the Adolph Rupp Trophy, the Naismith Trophy and the John R. Wooden Award.

    He was also the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player.

    Basically, if there was a college basketball award to be had this year, it went to Davis.

    He is a player that no team passes on.

    The Nets can use Davis as a small forward or a power forward. He can be used strictly for defense since he is able to leave his impact on a game without even scoring a point as he showed in the NCAA Championship game when he had just one field goal but also had 16 rebounds, three steals, five assists and six blocks.

Thomas Robinson

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    Decision time will come if the Nets land the second overall pick. They will be faced with taking small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or power forward Thomas Robinson.

    Since the Nets already have Gerald Wallace and Gerald Green, assuming Wallace opts in to his player option next season and then Green re-signs, New Jersey's small forward depth chart is suddenly in good shape.

    It is in good enough shape that drafting Kidd-Gilchrist would not be an instant upgrade that a No. 2 overall pick should provide. Kidd-Ghilcrist would not even start over Wallace in his rookie season.

    At power forward, the Nets are in a bit of trouble. Kris Humphries is only signed till the end of the season and is surely going to command a raise on the free agent market. Especially after two seasons of averaging a double-double.

    This season, Humphries is averaging career highs with 13.4 points, 11 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.

    Due to his play, Humphries may have become too expensive for the Nets.

    Because of this, Kansas' Robinson would make the most sense to draft at No. 2. Robinson is just as skilled as Humphries on the rebounding/defensive side and already more skilled on the offensive side, all while being a cheaper option.

    This year at Kansas, Robinson averaged 17.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.

    Robinson led Kansas, a team that was supposed to be in rebuilding mode, all the way to the NCAA Championship game. He did play well in the game, scoring 18 points and grabbing 17 rebounds in the losing effort. 

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

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    Kentucky's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could be the perfect fit for the New Jersey Nets if they get the third pick and Anthony Davis and Thomas Robinson are off the board.

    Kidd-Gilchrist could be the Nets small forward of the future and would make them really think of what to do with Gerald Wallace and Gerald Green.

    If they are able to get Kidd-Gilchrist, it would not be worth signing Wallace to more than two years as Kidd-Gilchrist will be ready to take over the starting job in his second season.

    This year at Kentucky, he averaged 11.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. He is a great defender and is relentless at attacking the rim. He actually plays similar to Gerald Wallace with the same recklessness in his game, risking his body many times per game.

    Even with all the talent on Kentucky, Kidd-Gilchrist stood out, looking like the best player on his team during the tournament game against Indiana when he had 24 points and 10 rebounds.

    Since he held back his game at Kentucky, sharing the spotlight with Davis and Terrence Jones, people will get to see a whole new version of Kidd-Gilchrist's game at the next level. 

John Henson

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    If the New Jersey Nets are able to get the Houston Rockets pick in the draft, John Henson from North Carolina would be a great fit, especially if they do not re-sign Kris Humphries.

    This year as a junior, Henson averaged 13.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game. In the three NCAA Tournament games he played, he averaged 12 points, 8 rebounds and two blocks.

    Henson is very lanky and is still getting used to his new-found height since growing six inches in his senior year of high school. While he can play at the next level, he needs to add muscle to be a difference maker.

    But even without adding muscle, Henson can be productive early in his NBA career with his rebounding which is one stat that translates well from college to the NBA.

    When he adds muscle, he will be a problem as he already comes with a 7'4'' wing span and decent ball-handling skills.

Kendall Marshall

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    Kendall Marshall could be the New Jersey Nets backup point guard plan. If Deron Williams leaves, Marshall could be the starter. If Williams stays, Marshall can become a second excellent ball handler who can play with Williams at times or strictly come in to spell him.

    At 6'4'', 195 lbs, Marshall is a pass-first point guard with good size. This year as sophomore at North Carolina, he averaged 7.8 points and 9.7 assists per game.

    He is always looking to set up his teammates, has a high basketball IQ and is a solid defender. He does though lack an offensive game as he lacks a consistent jump shot. But, that can be learned at the next level.

    In the two NCAA Tournament games that Marshall played in he led North Carolina to two wins behind his 21 assists.

    The Nets fared pretty well with another pass first point guard who did not have a jump shot coming out of college who also wore No. 5.