War Room Stories

On The Clock: Random Thoughts About The Draft


By: NBASCOUT / Special to netsinteractive.com

The Nets will have many good options come draft night. The key for New Jersey is to remain flexible and fluid.*

At the end of the day, you have to go with your best judgment. Gut feelings are often correct.

All said, however, the Nets have done a good job working out and evaluating talent. They also will be preparing for any scenario.

How many GMs make the \”safe\” pick because it\’s about their jobs? How many are secure enough to risk a mistake and hit big?

The Nets can do a number of things on Draft night. They can risk failure and make the big score. They can move down and add insurance. Or, they can stay put and do the safe or expected.

If I\’m still not sure in which direction to go, I might move down a little and let someone else bear the risk. In this manner I can add value to my participation in the draft that may compensate for or mitigate the consequences of any risky decision.

The rights to another player and/or multiple picks that can be used for a highly regarded fall back insurance player that plays the same position can often back up a risky move in the draft and make it more palatable. You feel more confident swinging for the fences when you know you\’ll get extra at bats.

I recall that during the 2006 draft, the Nets were in need of a point guard to become the eventual heir to Jason Kidd and, as usual, the priority power forward to replace Kenyon Martin. The Nets had the 22nd and 23rd picks in the draft.

There was talk from the Nets about packaging those picks to move up (usually, but not always, a bad move) somewhere into the 10 to 15 area for a chance to draft PFs Hilton Armstrong, Cedric Simmons or Saer Sene, all of whom are certifiable busts (so far). This was because the Nets felt that they couldn\’t move up enough to crack the top ten in order to snag PF/C Patrick O\’Bryant (another major disappointment who went #9). Armstrong and Simmons were highly regarded then as was O\’Bryant.

Randy Foye was the consensus stud point guard and character pick of the day that went to Minnesota at #7. I thought Rajon Rondo was the stud, sleeper value pick that might likely fall to where the Nets drafted with the only question mark being his free throw shooting that could possibly be improved. I just didn\’t happen to care for any of the above-mentioned big men touted as worth moving up for. I thought the Nets should stay put.

As the draft unfolded, Rondo was still there on the board as the middle of the draft was about done. I listened to the announced rumors that Phoenix wanted to move their 21st pick for cash and I felt so strongly about him that I would have made a deal along these lines with Phoenix for their pick.

As the 20th pick turned out to be Renaldo Balkman – not Rondo – for the Knicks, I thought New Jersey would almost surely get the opportunity to pick Rondo though the higher rated Marcus Williams (who was also on my radar but lacked Rondo\’s quickness) was also falling due to character concerns. I didn\’t want the Nets to risk losing Rondo.

I felt so strongly about it – that the Nets should acquire the 21st pick for cash and select Rondo – and then fall back with Marcus Wiliams as an insurance pick. (Insurance picks are something that rarely, if ever, occur during the Thorn era for philosophical reasons).

I agreed with also filling the most glaring need for the best available power forward with the remaining pick. However, when Rondo was taken one pick ahead of New Jersey\’s 22nd selection and it was announced that Phoenix acquired a future first-round pick from Boston for Brian Grant, the Draft rights to Rajon Rondo and cash considerations, my annoyance with New Jersey\’s failure to spot some cash for a player worth taking boiled over.

The Nets are no longer cash poor. Therefore, I might suggest backing up your decision should it be swinging for the fences and worrying about striking out. Remember, the Nets were once in the hunt for Monta Ellis and couldn\’t buy a second round pick. They could have bought one to acquire Paul Millsap to back up Josh Boone.

Addendum Update:

Rumors that Memphis is looking to acquire Minnesota\’s 16th pick for their 25th and 28th. Does that mean Memphis is willing to deal Gay or that Minnesota will package these two picks along with their 4th pick and the rights to Rubio in order to move up and acquire the 3rd pick from the Nets to tab Turner or Johnson? … Or is it a smokescreen to grab another player?

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Rumor has it that Miami is looking to sell their 18th pick to clear cap space. Does New Jersey want to buy? Does New Jersey want to stockpile the 18th pick from Miami along with the 4th, 25th and 28th pick from Minnesota along with the rights to Rubio in exchange for the Nets 3rd pick?

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Rumor has it that the Detroit Pistons want to add DeMarcus Cousins to their roster. Joe Dumars is a very good evaluator of talent.

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If their desired big men go first or second in the draft, will New Jersey draft Turner or Johnson or slide down further to get another big?

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 2010 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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