This is the first of my prospect profiles for my Brooklyn Nets NBA Draft guide, this time at the up-and-coming Brook-Lin website. Here’s the first two pieces in my Nets-wide coverage/guide/musings about Next Thursday’s draft.
(I wanted to call this piece “Guards of the Galaxy” but that may turn some people off. And it’s not that clickbaity too.)
This year’s NBA Draft features potential game-changing guards. Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and others have potential to be long-term NBA starters. Unfortunately, the Nets aren’t slated to acquire those players.
Outside of the lottery, in which 8 out of 14 players are point or shooting guards, the crop is relatively thin this year. That’s especially true for point guards, where DraftExpress’ latest mock draft has no first round point guard drafted outside the lottery.
Even with a shallow crop, the Nets could look for a guard with their 22nd or 27th pick. Outside of Jeremy Lin, the Nets are lacking playmakers. Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead are solid young players, but they project as combo guards rather than point guards.
At the shooting guard spot, the Brooklyn Nets may want perimeter threats. Brooklyn ranked 26th in the league in three-point percentage in 2016-2017. Judging from their previous signings, they’ll look for taller guards that can defend multiple positions and create off the dribble.
Let’s get started!
High Hopes for the Brooklyn Nets
Donovan Mitchell and Luke Kennard are two guard prospects currently slated in the latter portion of the lottery, jumping up draft boards recently. Previous mock drafts had both ranked in the 20’s, right in the Nets’ range, but now they seem out of reach.
Donovan Mitchell is an explosive shooting guard out of Louisville. Mitchell’s stock rose after the Draft Combine, where he posted eye-opening physical measurements. While Mitchell stands at 6’3”, he boasts a 6’10” wingspan with ideal quickness and verticality. Mitchell delivers highlight dunks, along with an improving jump shot. Mitchell also has great defensive upside, due to his length and motor. After Avery Bradley’s success this season, many NBA GM’s could be salivating over Mitchell’s upside. DraftExpress and The Ringer both have Mitchell slated at the 12th pick.
Luke Kennard is a cold-blooded scorer, likely the best pure shooter in the draft (don’t tell Malik Monk.) But Kennard is more than just a shooter. He’s creative off the ball as a cutter, and attacks off the dribble fluidly. Kennard’s ballhandling lends well to a secondary ballhandler role. The Duke product may struggle on defense, but his offensive upside would fit any team scheme. At worst, Kennard will be a bench shooting assassin. DraftExpress pegs Kennard at pick 11 while The Ringer has him ranked at pick 15.
The Brooklyn Nets Sweet Spot
Originally an Alabama, then Arizona commit, Ferguson spent his one-and-done year abroad in Australia. (Insert joke about “gap year to find who I really am” here.) At this point, Ferguson is all upside after an uninspiring year for the Adelaide 36ers. The Dallas native was ESPN’s 11th ranked player out of high school, above other notable prospects T.J. Leaf, Jonathan Isaac and Jarrett Allen.