New Jersey Nets: Top-10 Draft List

Stephen DyellCorrespondent IJune 20, 2009

WESTWOOD, CA - JANUARY 15:  Alfred Aboya #12 of the UCLA Bruins battles for position with  Jordan Hill #43 of the Arizona Wildcats during the college basketball game at Pauley Pavilion on January 15, 2009 in Westwood, California. The Bruins defeated the Wildcats 83-60.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The New Jersey Nets have the 11th pick in the 2009 NBA draft and here is the top ten list of draft talent Nets should be thinking about. Not all players are meant for the 11th pick, as talks of the Nets trading down are heating up, worth noting some players that could be taken later.

Jordan Hill

NBA Position: Power Forward
Class: Junior
Ht: 6-10 Wt: 232

Though projected to go in the top five, reports of him falling keep coming in as the days to the draft are numbered. The Nets would be lucky to get two steals in two years by picking up Hill, as he has tons of promise behind him.

Positives: Nets add what could be their starting forward, which they have been lacking since Kenyon Martin took his pay check and left. Big wingspan alongside Brook Lopez creates havoc for smaller guards creating an easier defensive duty for Devin Harris.

Negatives: If Hill is just another below-average forward, the Nets' list of young bigs with no starting talent rises to five, creating a giant logjam of who gets playing time.
To be successful, he must add muscle on his body, or he will be bullied by bigger forwards who don’t necessarily need to have talent, but just the body frame to outwork Hill. 


2. Jonny Flynn

NBA Position: Point Guard
Class: Sophomore
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 196

The Nets were in search of a talented backup point guard since the days of Jason Kidd and finally found one in Keyon Dooling. Dooling played so well that he earned playing time alongside Harris, leaving Carter and others to fill in the third point-guard spot.

Flynn is one of the fast risers in the draft, but the Nets should definitely aim for him, as his style could benefit greatly playing behind Devin Harris, as they have the same speed and slash ability to get to the rim.

Positives: Creates depth for the future, as you have two young point guards and also add a devastating scoring coming off a bench that was quite lackluster in scoring other than a few players on the team.

Negatives: Wasting a top-10 talent on a third-string point guard rather than aiming to fill holes in the three and the four positions. The Nets would be drafting best player available rather than player of need, which could backfire much like Atlanta and their point guard situation. 


3. Earl Clark

NBA Position: Small Forward
Class: Junior
Ht: 6-10 Wt: 226

The hometown boy playing in his home state would be great marketing for a team that markets their players for the most money possible. He would be a nice fit if he could earn playing time over Hayes and Simmons, as he fills the hole lost in Richard Jefferson.

Positives: Clark is long and athletic and can be a scorer when he wants too. He has great ball-handling skills for a player of his size which can really benefit the Nets.

Negatives: He remains turnover prone even with the good handles. His passes are often predictable, and many believe he shoots too much from where he shouldn’t be shooting from, like beyond the arc.

Nets also already have Williams, Anderson, and Yi stuck between the three and the four, and adding another non-positional player creates a logjam.

James Johnson

NBA Position: Small Forward
Class: Sophomore
Ht: 6-8 Wt: 257

Built much like Clark, Johnson is more known as a power forward, as he played that position in college but is better suited for the three in the NBA, due to his build. He is an obvious target for the Nets, as he is an athletic leaper who can rebound and put up easy points down low.

Johnson is also a great passer, which will help move the ball around for those easy looks the Nets tried to get so often last year from beyond the arc.

Positives: Johnson fills the need of a big small forward and is known for his hustle, which the Nets lacked, as well as an upbeat player, which they haven't had since the days of Hassan Adams. He could be that spark off the bench or even find his way into the starting lineup by December.

Negatives: Yet another player stuck between two positions. Much like Earl Clark and already NBA-proven Donte Green, he settles for three pointers when other shots or drives are necessary. He has trouble getting to the free-throw line in college, and it can only be harder to earn calls in the league.

Omri Casspi

NBA Position: Small Forward
Class: International
Ht: 6-9 Wt: 211

Though Casspi isn’t a player you might take at 11, the Nets have had strong interest in him since he became a household name in Europe. Casspi plays a lot like former Nets player Boki Nachbar and has the same physical attributes as well.

He also brings more European flavour to a Nets team that markets international players to the max, from Ed to Yi.

Positives: Casspi plays with tons of passion, as he feeds of being the first Israeli to play in the NBA. Much like a chip on his shoulder, he seems like the type of player that won’t give up until he’s reached his potential, whether that is a sixth man or maybe a future All-Star, and that looks good on him. His size is also an advantage, as his arms are one of the longest in the draft for his height ,and he also is tall for a small forward.

Negatives: He has poor ball-handling skills for having so much offensive talent as a forward. Casspi’s one-on-one matchups in the NBA may be a challenge for him, especially if they match him in size, as his quickness off the dribble isn’t up to par.


6. Terrence Williams

NBA Position: Shooting Guard
Class: Senior
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 213

A hustle player who could be security if Rod Thorn does pull the trigger this season with Vince Carter, Williams looks to be a good pick if you were drafting 15th. Williams has great court-vision, much like Carter, but is not as good of a passer.

He definitely could benefit from good defensive coaching, as he has all the materials to be a good defensive stopper. He looks to be a better Antoine Wright, but hopefully he comes in with real three-point range.

Positives: Terrence has an NBA body and is NBA conditioned, which benefits him greatly come game 50 of the season. Looks to be a scoring threat, as his confidence is high on both sides of the ball. He's a great three point shooter on a team that’s best shooters is bigs.

Negatives: Much like his college teammate Earl Clark, Williams settles for shots rather than forcing something that could benefit another player on the court. That brings into question on how high Williams' basketball IQ actually is and whether he can learn to play the game while improving on certain situations.

Tyler Hansbrough

NBA Position: Power Forward
Class: Senior
Ht: 6-9 Wt: 234 

After four years of college and a National Championship, Tyler looks to make his name in the NBA. Hansbrough could have a shot at starting for a Nets team lacking a four, if that is his actual position as he is stuck between a four and a five. The experience is there, but at age 23, the room for potential is tight for someone who is a freshman. Seems like it’s much like the Sean May situation, where you aren’t built for the NBA, but because you were successful in college, teams took a shot on him.

Positives: A proven winner can get the job done night in and night out during his college days. He is well spoken and is a player you can really promote to a community. Hansbrough knows what the critics say about his game but is confident that he will make it work, and that is a test to his work ethic. Seems like a guy like Lawrence Frank would enjoy coaching and giving playing time too.

Negatives: Lots of negatives are said about him, especially on the defensive side. He lacks speed, which doesn’t seem to hurt him offensively but is really exposed defensively. His age is also another negativ,e as four years in college and limited growth has many saying that he really hurt his draft stock, which might make him a little bit too high at No. 11 but still a good option to trade down for.

8. Chase Budinger

NBA Position: Small Forward
Class: Junior
Ht: 6-7 Wt: 206 

Budinger has been on the Nets' draft list since his freshman year but has not seemed to improve his draft stock. After stepping out of the draft last year, the Nets still have the hole in the three position, and Chase could be the main man for that job. He is a very smart basketball player whose head is farther advance than his game is.

Positives: Another well spoken individual whose unselfish game would fit well with the Nets. He isn’t a dominate scorer, but if he can learn to take it to the basket consistently, he could be a really decent role player for the Nets, as they lack players who can dominate getting to the rim outside of Devin Harris.

Negatives: In his three years at Arizona, his leadership ability has been questioned, especially in clutch times. He isn’t an offensive threat all the time, and he isn’t a very good defender either, which often comes into question of why he should be earning playing time if he really isn’t doing much of anything.

Ty Lawson

NBA Position: Point Guard
Class: Junior
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 197

Coming off a NCAA Championship, Lawson would be a prime candidate for the third string backup position behind Harris and Dooling. Lawson is a true point guard, which would be a nice switch between Harris and Dooling's scoring ability, but he also could learn a lot from Harris, due to the speed of the two.

Positives: Many people say Lawson’s work ethic is off the charts, and watching him overcome an injury to win a championship shows his commitment to his team. Lawson is one of the better three-point shooters in the draft and arguably the best shooting point guard in the draft as well.

Negatives: Size comes into a factor as you enter NBA contact. Standing just six feet could be a problem if Lawson cannot use his speed to his advantage, as the contact could be too much for his petite frame. The system he was in is also a difficult way to evaluate his talent, as many of his teammates will also be joining him entering the NBA this year, which begs the question if he made them better or if were they just that good to begin with.

10. Derrick Brown

NBA Position: Small Forward
Class: Junior
Ht: 6-8 Wt: 225

A sleeper in this draft, Brown is stuck between positions, but many believe he will come out as a true three. One of the best defenders in the draft is a position that goes unnoticed but is necessary to win in basketball. Though he will not go 11th, he is definitely an option for the Nets if they are looking for defence and work ethic.

Positives: Brown excels at defence and the potential for him in that category is extremely high. Some see him as the next Paul Millsap, as he may be an undersized four. Being a relative unknown in the draft could do him good, forcing him to earn more than the others and be appreciative of where he lands.

Negatives: Brown's scoring ability is below average, as he is predictable. He will never turn into a first, second, or third option in terms of scoring on the court and will have to rely heavily on his defence to stay in the league.