Prospects Nets Fans Should Watch in March Madness 2021

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 18, 2021

Prospects Nets Fans Should Watch in March Madness 2021

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    In less than 24 months, the Brooklyn Nets have added Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden to their roster.

    Absurd as that talent collection is, the Nets can, should and will keep looking for ways to enhance it. Some options might be available ahead of the March 25 NBA trade deadline or on the buyout market that follows. One that will definitely be on the table is the chance to add a first-round talent at the upcoming draft.

    Brooklyn will surely be drafting from the back end of the first round, but there's talent to mine from that range. In fact, much of this supporting cast is constructed of players who slipped all the way to the second round, including Joe Harris, DeAndre Jordan, Bruce Brown and Nicolas Claxton.

    The Nets need a little luck to get this right, but the payoff could be significant.

    Brooklyn fans wanting to gauge who might be available when their team is on the clock should keep an eye on these draft prospects preparing to play in March Madness.

Greg Brown, SF/PF, Texas

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Brooklyn's historic collection of star power could shape its draft approach in one of two ways. It could either sacrifice some potential in the hopes of finding a reliable role player, or it could feel emboldened to bet big on a risk-reward star.

    Greg Brown might be the single best option behind Door No. 2.

    His elite athleticism opens up so many intriguing possibilities. Squint, and you'll spot a switchable stopper who's electric in the open court, an alley-oop-waiting-to-happen as an off-ball cutter and no worse than serviceable from three-point range.

    Of course, the 19-year-old isn't that kind of player yet and quite possibly never will be. His handles and decision-making need a ton of work—he has just 10 assists against 60 turnovers—and his three-ball may never come around.

    Still, he's super fun to watch, and unacquainted fans can get their first glimpse when his third-seeded Texas Longhorns square off with 14th-seeded Abilene Christian on Saturday (9:50 p.m. ET on TruTV).

Aaron Henry, SF, Michigan State

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Brooklyn has one of the most explosive offenses in NBA history. It also has one of this season's worst defenses, ranking 25th in efficiency.

    Getting a perimeter stopper like Aaron Henry would help stop some of the bleeding.

    "Since they're already loaded with scorers, the Nets could target Henry for his physical defense and ability to check ball-handers, wings and forwards," B/R's Jonathan Wasserman wrote.

    The 21-year-old backs down from no one and is as tough as you would expect from someone who's spent the past three seasons with Tom Izzo. He also has flashed some intriguing growth at the offensive end, although his three-point shot leaves plenty to be desired (28.2 percent this season, 32.9 for his college career).

    His 11th-seeded Michigan State Spartans are stuck in the First Four where they will tussle with fellow No. 11 seed UCLA on Thursday night (9:57 p.m. ET on TBS).

Davion Mitchell, PG/SG, Baylor

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Scouts' opinions on Davion Mitchell could substantially vary. If that drops the Baylor guard into Brooklyn's price range, that would be a gift.

    His defense will definitely translate. He's on the short list of the best on-ball defenders in men's college basketball. His hands are always active, and he's a quick lateral mover.

    The questions revolve around his offense, namely which of his many improvements this season will prove sustainable. He was a borderline NBA prospect coming into this campaign after averaging 9.9 points and 3.8 assists while shooting 32.4 percent from deep last season. Now, he's a near-lock to land in the first round after upping those averages to 14.2, 5.4 and 46.2, respectively.

    Nets fans can run their own Mitchell assessments when his top-seeded Baylor Bears start their title pursuit Friday against 16th-seeded Hartford (3:30 p.m. ET on TruTV).