2011 NBA Draft: Will Drafting Bojan Bogdanovic Help the Nets Land Dwight Howard?

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2011 NBA Draft: Will Drafting Bojan Bogdanovic Help the Nets Land Dwight Howard?
Bogdanovic is a force to be reckon with in the Euroleague

The ever sneaky GM Billy King should be locked up for the theft he committed to open the second round of the draft.

The New Jersey Nets bought the 31st pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves for cash considerations and a 2013 second rounder, using that pick to land Euro star Bojan Bogdanovic. ESPN analyst Chad Ford immediately labelled the pick a steal for the Nets, perhaps one of the biggest steals of the night.

The 6'8" forward from Croatia finished second in the Euroleague in scoring last season, averaging just under 19 PPG.  He was also the league's regular season MVP.  Such demonstrated talent would easily have secured him a spot in the first round if not for his contract issues.

At the moment, Bogdanovic would need to be bought out in order to play in NBA. With the lockout looming, he would most likely opt to stay in Europe for another season regardless.

But that does not phase the Nets, nor did it stop them from pouncing on the opportunity to draft his rights.

Assured that the team would be able to add needed depth to their frontcourt with the 36th pick, the Nets drafted Bogdanovic as an asset, a trading chip.

Already locked into Travis Outlaw's ugly contract for the next four years, the Nets have no need for the sharpshooting Bogdanovic on the wing. Especially with the emergence of Damion James, one of last year's bigger steals.

Instead, the Nets will patiently hold onto the rights to Bojan until they can use him to land a big name, like Dwight Howard.

At the moment, Howard's two most likely trade destinations are the Lakers and the Nets.  While the Lakers may have the more attractive pieces for the present, the Nets can offer more to build around in the future, like Bojan.

The centerpiece of any Howard trade scenario involving the Nets would undoubtedly be Brook Lopez, an emerging elite center.  On top of other players like Kris Humphries, Damion James or Anthony Morrow, the Nets would include draft picks to help the Magic rebuild.

The rights to Bogdanovic are the most coveted of all their draft assets at the moment.  Plenty of teams will want a shot at him next year when his contract expires.

Bojan definitely increases the Nets' chances of landing a big name in the same way Derrick Favors helped the Nets trade for Deron Williams.  Both players have tremendous upside and tons of value as a trading chip.

The Nets should be very pleased with themselves for buying this pick and secretly committing a robbery.

 

Brandon Putre is a Featured Columnist for the New Jersey Nets. Follow him on Twitter @cortezisreal


For more 2011 NBA draft coverage, stay tuned to Bleacher Report for NBA draft results and NBA draft grades.


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