New Jersey Nets: A Look Ahead at Draft Prospects

David GlazerCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2010

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 14:  John Wall #11 of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the final of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at the Bridgestone Arena on March 14, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Nets are on a countdown to 10 wins to avoid the fate of the worst record ever.  In light of their historic failure, there are essentially guaranteed to finish with the worst record in the NBA.  For the Nets, the good news is that there really are some major talents available in this draft who would fit nicely.

With the worst record, the Nets are guaranteed to get at least one of the top four picks.  Right now, the top four prospects are:

  1. John Wall
  2. Evan Turner
  3. Derick Favors
  4. DeMarcus Cousins

The difference between Favors and Cousins is relatively small.  So it would come down to a matter of preference as to style and team fit.

The top pick is John Wall.  He is the next Jason Kidd.  He has incredible floor vision and is fearless.  He is clutch and has shown the ability to score in the paint.  He needs to work on his jump shot and cut down on his turnovers.  There is no one who does not think that Wall is the best player.

Evan Turner is a 6'7" stud wing who can play either shooting guard or small forward.  He has a great handle and has shown the ability to come through in the clutch.  Ohio State is a title contender with him and only average without him.  Even though Wall has the better potential, Turner has been the better player this year.  The only real knock on Turner is that he needs to improve the range on his jump shot.

Derrick Favors is a power forward.  He is explosive athletically.  He rebounds and blocks shots with ferocity.  He is smooth around the basket and defends well.  He will only improve as he gets older and stronger.  The only real knocks on him are that he needs to do a better job of setting up in the post and that he is only 6'9".

DeMarcus Cousins is thick and strong.  He is dominating in college because there are no players capable of defending him in the SEC.  He is relatively quick as well.  He has excellent rebounding instincts and a soft touch in the paint.  Cousins has the ability to play both PF and center.

Among these four prospects, the only one who does not fill a need is Wall.  However, he would enable the Nets to trade Harris for a scoring wing such as Rudy Gay.  Or the Nets could play both Harris and Wall together.  Wall is 6'4" and strong.  He could guard opposing shooting guards.  No matter what, the Nets are guaranteed to get a tremendous athlete who can play in this year's lottery.

However, that is not all.  The Nets also have the 26th pick and the 31st.  The biggest problem with projections is that a lot can change in the NCAA Tournament.  Some players who could declare might stay.  However, with a little educated guess work, here are some of the potential prospects at 26:

  • Devin Ebanks, SF
  • Quincy Poindexter, SF
  • Paul George, SF
  • Willie Warren, G
  • Gordon Hayward, SF
  • Damion James, SF
  • Elliot Williams, G

It appears that most of the players currently ranked in the 20s are small forwards.  The good news is that the Nets need a small forward.  The bad news is that none of these players are sure things.  Of this group, I would hope that Quincy Poindexter is available.  He is a great athlete who already understands the difference between a good shot and a bad shot.

At 31, the Nets should look for a player with a legitimate NBA skill.  A great rebounder or a pure shooter should be the target with this pick.  Keep an eye out for someone like Trevor Booker or Gani Lawal.  Both are very good on the boards and good athletes.  Booker is a little short and Lawal has no jump shot.  As such, they are exactly the type of talented players who fall to the second round.

The great news for Nets fans is that with a stud rookie and a smart free agent signing, the Nets can immediately become playoff contenders in the East.

There is some hope.