The NBA Draft is under two weeks away, which means NBA Draftmas is back. Each day, The Game Haus will review a team’s past season, their team needs and targets. Draftmas continues today with the Brooklyn Nets 2018 NBA Draft profile.
The 2017-18 season continued a string of rough seasons for the Nets as they finished 28-54, sealing their third straight losing season. While divisions do not matter much in the NBA, it is worth noting that the Nets finished an NBA worst 1-15 in their division, the next worst was 4-12. Let us all not forget that the East was a very average conference overall.
Overall, the Nets need a lot of help. Their team has become like the island of misfit toys with a collection of players who were high draft picks but no one wanted them. They either have not lived up to their potential or have said things that were considered bad for their teams and got them shipped. Between D’Angelo Russell, Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas one would think that this team has a lot of young talent.
Sadly, that has not been the case as Okafor and Stauskas barely played. While Russell seems to be getting better, he still averaged 3.1 turnovers per game.
While this season was another bottom of the barrel year for Brooklyn, they did have some positives that they can hopefully build on for next year. As stated above, Russell is starting to flash some of the talent they hoped he would when he came over from LA. Also, two of their last three first-round picks, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Jarrett Allen, played well last season.
Stats wise, the Nets were surprisingly decent on most major areas. While they finished in the top half of the league in points per game, they were also 29th in field goal percentage at 44.1 percent. They also finished ninth in the league in both rebounds and assists. However, they also finished 25th in turnovers, last in steals and 28th in points allowed per game.
This team has some small pieces, but needs help in just about every area.
Picks and needs
The Brooklyn Nets have three picks in the 2018 NBA Draft.
First round: No. 29
Second round: No. 40, No. 45
It is likely that the Nets feel comfortable with Russell at point guard and Allen at center. Other than that, if they don’t trade up for an earlier first-round pick (too bad the Cavs are at their original No. 8 pick), then it is likely they will take the best player available.
Targets and thoughts
Pick No. 29: Jacob Evans, SF, Cincinnati
He may not be flashy, but he has been climbing up everyone’s boards lately due to a great combine. As many people have pointed out nationally, Evans does not excel at any one thing, other than maybe defense. But, he is the type of player the Nets could definitely use.
His 6-foot-5 frame is a little on the smaller side, and that might make Brooklyn move him to shooting guard if they believe that Hollis-Jefferson can continue to be their starting small forward. This would work for Evans as he not only handled the ball well enough at Cincinnati (only 1.8 turnovers per game), but also could shoot from behind the arc well, making 37 percent of his attempts. This is something that Hollis-Jefferson has struggled with as he is a career 23.7 percent shooter from 3-point land.
Lastly, Evans plays great defense. Cincinnati was a top-five defense in his last year there, and coach Mick Cronin is known for creating defensive-minded players first, then advancing their offensive skills. Evans will bring his 1.3 steals and one block per game to a Brooklyn Nets team that struggled in most defensive categories last season.
Pick No. 40: Ray Spalding, PF, Louisville
When looking at the Nets’ roster, one will see that there is not a single player listed as a power forward currently. While Okafor or Allen could potentially swap back and forth, it clearly was not the plan last year and should not be this year. Spalding has been shooting up draft boards as he boasts a big frame and people are starting to be less afraid that he was a one-year wonder.
While the team did not struggle with rebounds as a whole, Allen, their big man at center, did as he averaged only 5.4 per game. Spalding would bring in a high field-goal percentage at 54.3 percent, good rebounding at 8.7 per game, a surprising amount of steals with 1.5 and good rim protection with 1.7 blocks, which is also higher than Allen’s. Spalding could come in and be a consistent big man that would help with defense and also bring some more offense in the paint.
Pick No. 45: Rawle Alkins, PG/SG, Arizona
The backcourt for Brooklyn was unspectacular last season. Looking at Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert and Nik Stauskas, there is a clear need for a guard. While Alkins may not light the world on fire, he is going to bring explosiveness and scoring instincts.
Alkins will attack the basket with his speed and can pull up from behind the arc when a shot is available for him. He is a decent shooter overall with a field goal percentage of 43.2 percent and 3-point percentage of 35.9 percent. This pick will most likely be a project as he is young. If he can develop, he could be a very nice role player on a team that lacks talent in many different areas.
The Brooklyn Nets have a long way to go before they start making the playoffs, even in a bad Eastern Conference. That being said, adding players like Evans, Spalding and Alkins would help them continue to stock up talent and find out who can fill the pieces that are missing.
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