Nets

Brooklyn Nets 2017 NBA Draft Profile

Day 20 of our 2017 NBA Draftmas special focuses on the draft needs and targets of the Brooklyn Nets.

Summary

Nets

The Brook-Lin connection has the ability to keep the Nets relevant. (Photo by Brook-Lin.com)

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

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Former general manager Billy King made one of the worst trades in NBA history by acquiring former All-Stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for a slew of future first-round picks. (Photo by Zimbio.com)

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

Nets

Caleb Swanigan was unanimous Big Ten Player of the Year. (Photo by Hardwood Houdini)

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.

Nets

V.J. Beachem shooting ability alone should get him drafted in the second round. (Photo by Madison.com)

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.

 

Conclusion

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.

 

NBA Draftmas Day 18: Atlanta Hawks

NBA Draftmas Day 19: Oklahoma City Thunder

 

Featured Image by Zimbio.com

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NCAA Tournament Teams to Cheer For

Tournament Time: Who You Should Cheer For

As Dick Vitale would say, “It’s tournament time baby!” I don’t know who is more excited, the fans or the players. Even if your team didn’t make it to the dance, there is still a lot to cheer for.

I know the term bandwagon fan carries a lot of negative connotation, however for bragging rights, you want to be cheering for the right teams. Now fair warning, these might not be the teams that have the best statistics or record. Half of the battle is figuring out how the bracket is set up, which has a large impact on how teams do rather if it is admitted or not. Here are the teams to root for if yours didn’t make the cut.

The underdog: Middle Tennessee State

The beauty of tournament time is that anyone can win on any given day. Pay attention to the season statistics but also expect the unexpected when the final buzzer sounds.

Middle Tennessee State is that Cinderella team that could get out of the first round and surprise us all. The Blue Raiders are 20-1 in its last 21 games and they only have three underclassmen. So if they want it to happen, this is the year to do it.

Their team is ranked in the top 50 for overall defensive efficiency. All four of their losses this season have been relatively close and they only allow 63.3 points per game (ranked 21st). Let’s not forget MTSU beat Michigan State last year and could very well do the same to Minnesota.

NCAA Tournament Teams to Root For

Giddy Potts of Middle Tennessee State (DNJ.com)

Giddy Potts is leading the charge for his talented squad. Potts is averaging 15.8 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game. What makes him special is his work effort and ability to score at all three levels consistently.

He was named MVP for their conference tournament after putting up 30 points against Marshall. Potts is the guy who will hit contested threes, but burn his opponent with a quick first step if they close out too hard.

Potts may be getting buckets, but he isn’t out on an island. He has the help of JaCorey Williams who is shooting 54.1 percent from the field right now.

Reggie Upshaw and Tyrik Dixon are also contributing large minutes and statistics for the Blue Raiders.

After beating Minnesota, the Blue Raiders will take on either Butler or Winthrop. Butler is a good tournament team and known for upsets in the past, but Middle Tennessee State has proven to be a tough team.

Keep an eye on notre dame

The Irish have proven to be a wholesome team over the duration of this season. They are coming off a close loss to Duke which should propel them throughout the tournament.

The key to success for Notre Dame is sharing the ball. They are 37th in the nation for assists, averaging 16 per game. They have strength at all positions and when they share the ball, they can’t be stopped.

NCAA Tournament Teams to Cheer For

Bonzie Colson of Notre Dame (Photo Credit to Zimbio.com)

If Bonzie Colson is having a game for himself, Notre Dame is just as good as any team in nation. Duke may have won the ACC tournament but Colson put up 29 points and pulled down nine rebounds in a stellar performance.

Colson isn’t putting on a one man show though. Matt Ferrell is a special point guard dishing out 5.5 assists per game and shooting 41.3 percent from behind the arc.

The Irish are killer from behind the arc because of Ferrell and a few other key players. Steve Vasturia and V.J. Beachem are shooting over 36 percent from three-point range. This will be tough to guard for their opponents.

The Irish often are over looked when it comes to tournament time. Last year they made it to the Elite 8 and lost to UNC. This year they have a better record coming out of regular season play and more experience.

Arizona deserves a lot more respect than they’re getting

All of the talk regarding the PAC-12 has been about UCLA mostly because of Lonzo Ball and his father’s interesting comments. Most recently LaVar Ball said he could’ve beaten Michael Jordan in his hay day and his son is better than Steph Curry. One could see why the press would jump on that. UCLA is also ranked 78th in adjusted defensive efficiency according to pre tourney data (kenpom.com) which is a weakness for sure.

However the real team to watch from the PAC-12 is Arizona. They just won the conference tournament, and beat Oregon and UCLA to do so. They likely won’t see any true competition until the Sweet Sixteen if they play to the best of their ability.

Right now it’s the combination of Lauri Markkanen and Allonzo Trier that are making offense flow for the Wildcats. Markkanen is a freshman with the skills to play inside and out. Trier is basically doing it all from scoring and rebounding to distributing the ball. Both guys are shooting over 40% from behind the arc.

The team itself is highly efficient from three point and on offense in general. Their top five player of Allonzo Trier, Lauri Markkanen, Rawie Alkins, Dusan Ristic and Kadeem Allen are all shooting over 37% from three-point land. They are also all over 44% from the field. Not only that, they also allow only 65.4 points per game on the defensive end.

The west is a tough region but the Wildcats have the personnel to do some damage.

Iowa state could go far in the midwest

Lots of people are saying that Kansas has a cake walk to the National Championship game. Everyone seems to forget that Iowa State has gone 10-2 in its last 12 games including a road win against Kansas.

They beat Miami early on in the regular season. They only lost to Baylor by two early on, then beat them by three in late February. The Cyclones also beat Kansas in overtime in early February as previously mentioned. To sum up, they have the heart and the gumption to beat some high caliber competition.

NCAA Tournament Teams to Cheer For

Monte Morris flexes on the baseline after a big play (Photo Credits to YouTube)

The team itself is comprised of a bunch of guys who put up good numbers. They aren’t anything out of the ordinary, they just get the job done. Monte Morris leads the team with 16.3 points per game but the next few guys are all putting up anywhere from 12-16 points on average.

After a win over Nevada, they will likely see a very good Purdue team.

When it comes down to it, all the statistics in the world can only tell so much. March is the month of madness for a reason.

 

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