With the upcoming draft fast approaching the New Jersey Nets have some tough decisions to make. They are a team that seems to be caught in the middle. Are they a team that wants to rebuild? Or, are they a team that wants to reload?
Last year after trading away the face of the franchise since 1998 in Jason Kidd, it looked like they would be in rebuilding mode. However, Rod Thorn and Kiki Vandeweghe appeared to have pulled a fast one, acquiring two first round picks and future all-star, maybe as early as this year in Devin Harris.
The Nets do have a pretty solid core to work with in Devin Harris, Richard Jefferson, Vince Carter, and Josh Boone. Nenad Krstic, who showed real promise looked on his way to becoming a 15 and 10 guy before tearing his ACL. If Sean Williams can develop some sort of consistency coupled with an offensive game he should provide that spark off the bench every team needs.
New Jersey has to decide if they believe in Marcus Williams enough to keep him as their backup point guard or whether it’s better for both parties to go their separate ways. Also, they have to decide on Boki Nachbar, who has enjoyed his best years in the league as a Net, coming off the bench providing offense.
All that being said, the Nets biggest needs are reliable big men that are good post scorers and shooting.
New Jersey has three picks in this year’s draft, No. 10, 21, and 40. Here is my take on No. 10.
Out of three mock drafts, two have New Jersey taking Italian Danilo Gallinari, while the espn.com most recent mock has Brook Lopez falling right into their hands at 10. Here are my thoughts on these players.
Danilo is very intriguing, he is a 19-year-old 6’9” small forward out of Italy who led his Eurolegue team in scoring and was second in rebounding this year. He can run the floor, is a good shooter, and is said to be very versatile.
ESPN analyst Fran Faschilla had this to say about him. “Where he plays is a full level above the Big East and ACC (conferences). He’d be one of the top three, four players in college basketball.’’
Scouts compare Danilo to Hedo Turkoglu. If the Nets get something close to Hedo, it would have been a very successful draft on that pick alone.
Like most Europeans, Danilo will have his defensive struggles, when asked about this GM Kiki Vandeweghe had this to say, "Listen, that's going to be one of the questions," he told the Star-Ledger. "No question about that. It's something he's going to have to learn to do."
With that being said, I believe if the Nets drafted him, he would be an offensive spark off the bench while providing insurance if/when they trade Jefferson.
If Lopez falls into New Jersey’s lap at 10 they probably would be ecstatic. Lopez would have an immediate impact, possibly claiming the starting center role.
Brook Lopez is a legit 7’0” true center out of Stanford. In his sophomore year he was the team leader while averaging 19 points and 8 rebounds per game. In a lot of mock drafts he was projected as being as high as No. 3.
Lopez has the ability to run the floor, which will fit right in with the Net’s offensive philosophy. He also has a decent post game, a mid range jumper, and jump hook.
On the defensive side, Brook has great lateral movement as a seven footer, which helps him to guard players on the perimeter. Down low, he plays very controlled, not committing silly fouls while displaying good shot blocking ability.
I think either one of these players would be a good pick. However I would lean toward Brook Lopez at the moment. Lopez looks to me that he could come in and fill a spot that the Nets have been missing for years.
With the huge free agent class of 2010 and the impending move to Brooklyn this team has to start to build something, and quick. If the Nets hope to lure LeBron they have to be under the cap while at the same time having a competitive team.