Day 20 of our 2017 NBA Draftmas special focuses on the draft needs and targets of the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets have lost 60 plus games in each of their last two seasons, running through three different head coaches in the process. Under first year head coach Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn surprisingly ranked 12th in points per game and predictably 29th in points allowed. There is clearly plenty of room for improvement moving forward.
The Brook-Lin connection of Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin had the opportunity to keep this team somewhat relevant, although Lin only played in 36 games this season. If he can return healthy for the 2017-18 season, their offense will have a chance to crack the top 15 in points per game for a second year in a row, as Lin was averaging about 15 points and five assists per game after the injury.
27-year-old guard Sean Kilpatrick was another key to Brooklyn’s offense, as his per 36 minute averages were about 19 points, six rebounds and three assists per game on 42 percent from the field. His shooting ability would be a vital asset to any team, which makes him prime candidate to be used as trade bait, as the Nets need as much defensive help as possible.
The most encouraging sign for the Nets moving forward are their young assets Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (22), Spencer Dinwiddie (23), Isaiah Whitehead (21) and Caris LeVert (22). All four received ample playing time, as they each averaged a tick over 20 minutes per game in 2016-17. This experience is integral for their development individually as well as, as a team. Hollis-Jefferson has a very bright future as his per 36 were about 14 points, nine rebounds and three assists, showing that he can be a true impact player in the near future. Guards Dinwiddie, Whitehead and LeVert have shown promise as all around players who can play make, rebound and score, although none project to be All-Star caliber players of the future.
Picks & Needs
The Nets agreed to swap their 2017 first round pick with the Boston Celtics in the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett trade in 2013, as well as to send their second round pick to the Atlanta Hawks in the Joe Johnson trade in 2012.
They managed to acquire the 22nd pick in the draft by trading Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough to the Washington Wizards, which gives them three total draft picks, including two firsts and one second.
First Round: 22 (WAS), 27 (BOS)
Second Round: 57 (BOS)
Brooklyn has a plethora of needs, including new management, but that’s a conversation for another day. Their roster is arguably the weakest in the NBA as the only player to ever make an All-Star team is Brook Lopez, who as a 29-year-old, is entering the tail end of his prime. The team will swap first round picks with Boston in 2018 as well, so tanking is not an option. The Nets will need to add as much young talent as possible in order to brighten the future of this abysmal franchise.
Targets & Thoughts
Pick #22: Caleb Swanigan, Forward, Purdue
The sophomore from Purdue is a long, strong forward who stands 6-foot-9 weighing 250-pounds. His statistics were astounding, as he averaged about 19 points, 13 rebounds and three assists per game on 55 percent from two and 45 percent from three. His offensive versatility at the forward position would be a perfect fit with Brooklyn who are desperate for impact players.
The Big Ten Player of the Year is absolutely NBA ready. His jump shooting, free throw shooting, rebounding, playmaking, and leadership abilities will propel him to becoming an effective player at the next level. He reminds me of Zach Randolph, as he lacks athleticism, although makes up for it with his strength, jump shooting and rebounding ability.
Pick #27: Isaiah Hartenstein, Forward/Center, International
Hartenstein is a 7-foot, 250-pound big man whose combination of size, strength, and skill set will make him a versatile asset to any team. He has the potential to become a great inside-outside player as he excels at scoring in the low and high post as well as hitting the jumper. His playmaking ability makes him stand out, as he sees the floor extremely well and can execute any pass with ease.
The German international didn’t receive very much playing time overseas which has dropped his draft stock, although he should not be over looked. His offensive and defensive versatility along with his size and athleticism could make him one of the best players to come out of this draft.
Pick #57: V.J. Beachem, Forward, Notre Dame
Beachem is a 6-foot-8 senior from Notre Dame. He averaged about 15 points and four rebounds on 42 percent from the field. His senior season was not his best, as in his junior year the forward averaged 12 points and four rebounds on 48 percent from the field, and most notably 44 percent from three, showing he can be an elite three-point specialist.
Beachem struggled in the NCAA Tournament this season, scoring only 11 points in two games. This lack of production severely hurt his draft stock, although his shooting ability, length and college experience would make him a great second round pick for the Nets, as they are in need of all the help they can get.
Brooklyn is desperate to add as much talent as possible, and with a slew of young guards, their best bet is to add the most talented and versatile big men available. Big Ten Player of the Year Caleb Swanigan would be an instant impact rebounder and offensive player due to his size and above average jump shooting ability. International prospect Isaiah Hartenstein is one of the most talented players in the class, although is overlooked due to his lack of exposure and experience as he did not play many minutes overseas. He would make for a perfect fit with the Nets who could use another 7-footer to eventually overtake Brook Lopez or veteran forward Trevor Booker. Notre Dame senior V.J. Beachem is a great shooter who can eventually replace Sean Kilpatrick in the future.
Thanks for checking out the Brooklyn Nets 2017 NBA Draft profile and tune in tomorrow for day 21 of our NBA Draftmas special to see what the Toronto Raptors may do.
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