Fallen Angels Draft

Fallen Angels Draft

By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

In what can only be termed a fallen angels draft, the Nets moved in to scoop up some \’heavenly bodies\’ on draft night in the hopes that they would help restore this once-proud franchise to its previous standing amongst the pantheon of the NBA. In the process of doing so, the Nets also loosened their last remaining ties with their recent glorious past — marked by the Kidd era — in jettisoning popular, leading-scorer, 28-year old SF Richard Jefferson, in a lightning-move, for up-and-coming 20-year old, 7-foot PF Yi Jianlian. As reported, the talented, but oft-injured and underachieving SF Bobby Simmons was also included in the deal from Milwaukee for salary-matching purposes, but no draft picks were exchanged in the transaction.

With the 10th, 21st and 40th picks in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Nets braintrust selected fundamentally sound, 7-foot Stanford Center, Brook Lopez [arguably the highest rated Center in the draft]; prolific-shooting, 6-foot-10-inch California Golden Bears\’ Power-Forward Ryan Anderson [who averaged 20ppg and 12rebs in the highly-competitive PAC-10]; and crafty, high-scoring Memphis Swingman Chris Douglas-Roberts [a \”deceptively\” good big-game player]. These underclassmen all will make their way to East Rutherford on Monday for a press conference.

Only time will tell if all of these moves meet with approval by the basketball deities on high, but RJ for Yi was a \’shocker\’ for many who won\’t soon forget the disappearance of their beloved K-Mart. No, I\’m not talking about the neighborhood K-Mart Department Store that closed down, but the venerable Kenyon \”K-Mart\” Martin that was lured into the Denver night by the current Nets [and former Denver] GM, Kiki Vandeweghe.

This time, however, RJ disappeared faster than a \’snowman in summer.\’ It was like one moment he was here … a … a … and the next he wasn\’t! I\’m not sure the KGB works this fast, but management\’s earned my respect. What better time to jolt a fan base than on the day that you\’re bringing aboard three new faces? After all, no big-contract is safe when the team only wins 34 games.

As for poor Richard! It likely hasn\’t sunk-in. He probably hasn\’t seen a newspaper and still thinks he\’s a Net?!! Jefferson doesn\’t know that he\’s been put on the Orient Express to Milwaukee with a one-way ticket. Panic and confusion must reign amongst the old-guard fan faithful that still think Jason Kidd is leading the team. Could Vinsanity be next?*

Like when Keith Van Horn was ridden out of town by Jay [J-Kidd] to open up room for Richard Jefferson. So, too, now RJ must move on to make room for Yi Jianlian, draft picks and the People\’s Republic of China. It is the law of the NBA jungle: Win or Go! So long, Richard, it was nice knowing you!

If that wasn\’t moving quickly enough, now, while a new era dawns upon the franchise on the way to Brooklyn, it is time to examine what Kiki hath wrought. Draft pundit Jay Bilas said Kiki should \”wear a mask\” for his draft day larceny in swiping B-Lo, Private Ryan and CDR (another Alex English?) out from under the noses of others. Who are we talking about?

Oh, yeah, the draft … I almost forgot. Yeah, let\’s get to that. Well, you see, it was like this. Simple math dictated someone pretty good would fall to the Nets at the tenth spot. How good, depended upon how stupid others were in drafting ahead of New Jersey. [Some don\’t understand math].

Turns out that the Nets got lucky and 7-foot Brook \”B-Lo\” Lopez fell into their laps. [Lord knows the Nets needed some help in the middle with Krstic on the mend, Collins exiled to Memphis and Diop possibly out the door].

If that weren\’t enough, the Nets were smart AND lucky enough to pounce on 6-foot-10 PAC-10 sharpshooter and California Sophomore PF Ryan \”Private Ryan\” Anderson with the 21st pick. He can make a difference by spreading the floor and knocking down open shots. [How many big men do the Nets have that can do that?] There\’s also more to his game than many might think. He would have likely been gone had the Nets waited any longer to take him. [Is he another youthful Larry Bird in the making?]

Finally, the Nets invested their 40th pick in the popular, crafty, high-scoring, 6-7 swingman Chris Douglas-Roberts from Memphis who some had going in the first — possibly as high as number 21. [Will he help? A: Possibly! Will he make you forget RJ? A: Hardly!]

That brings us down to the enigmatic question of the day: Will Yi make the Nets faithful forget RJ? A: If Yi develops into a Dirk-Lite+ under Kiki\’s wing like Dirk Nowitzki had, anything\’s possible!!! With all of the foregoing having been said, I bid you: Good [Draft] Night!

NBASCOUT is an independent freelance sportswriter that covers the NBA and the New Jersey Nets. He is not affiliated with the National Basketball Association. Copyright 2008 by NBASCOUT, all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the express written consent of the author. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily this website. You may e-mail NBASCOUT in care-of his wife, who writes for children, at kathyforkids@cs.com

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