The NBA Draft is coming up on October 16, which means The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. Each day, a new team will be analyzed for their past season, their team needs and projected targets. Today, the Brooklyn Nets will be evaluated.
This season was always going to be more than a test than anything for the Brooklyn Nets. They acquired Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the offseason, but limited Irving’s minutes before shutting him down in February while Durant sat out entirely as he rehabbed an achilles injury.
The Nets had the entire year to figure out what pieces will work around Durant and Irving, who can be trade bait and whose salaries they can dump. Even though nobody would have blamed them for throwing this year away, Brooklyn still managed to ear the invite to the NBA bubble in Orlando, making the playoffs.
After head coach Kenny Atkinson resigned, Jacque Vaughn took his place in an interim capacity. The Nets may even want to add a superstar head coach in the offseason to replace him and further their chances of reaching the Finals in their first year with Durant.
In short, the 2020-2021 season was the only thing on Nets’ fans, players and front office this season. So here is a look at what/who they need to target to make next year even better.
The Brooklyn Nets have two picks in the 2020 NBA Draft
First Round: Pick No.15
Second Round: Pick No. 55
Perimeter Defense- The perimeter defense was lacking last season, as the Nets ranked 22nd in the NBA, allowing 37.4 points from three pointers per game. A three-point and especially wing defender should be on the shopping list, even if defense will not be their identity going forward.
Blocks & Steals– Brooklyn ranked 23rd in blocks and 28th in steals in 2019. Again, with Durant and Irving coming back, defense will not be the Nets’ identity next season. But, this team need is less about a commitment to defense and more about creating more possessions so Durant and Irving can continue to score. Increasing the block and steal numbers are a good way to get more shots.
Round 1, Pick No. 16: Ty-Shon Alexander, SG (Creighton)
Now, this could be a huge reach or it could be the exact right move. Either way, Ty-Shon Alexander is the exact kind of guard the Nets should be looking for.
Not only does he score, but he takes pride in his defense as well. Averaging 1.3 steals per game in college, he also defends well off of the ball. Hitting just under 40 percent of his threes, he is a true three-and-D guard, which is normally a moniker saved for wing players.
If Irving, with his league-best handles, can create space with his dribbling or feed it to Durant, then Alexander can lock up his man to prevent double-teaming while also being a threat from deep if the opponent leaves him alone. A fine pick, if Brooklyn takes the reach over losing him to another team.
Round 2, Pick No. 55: Austin Wiley, C (Auburn)
A late pick is the perfect excuse to take one of the many, many centers/big men in this draft. The talent pool is incredibly deep, even this late in the draft. And many other teams will be taking swings on big men, so Brooklyn may as well take their shot too.
Austin Wiley will likely be available with this pick, and if so the Nets should snap him up. Last year, he averaged 10.6 points and 9.3 rebounds, just under a double-double. Standing just under seven feet, he also blocks 1.6 shots per game which is another team need for Brooklyn. A backup center for DeAndre Jordan is necessary, and Wiley could learn not only to play, but how to put on and use more weight from him.
Again, there is little to no risk by picking any available power forwards or centers this late in the draft, because many teams will have spent a much higher pick on one. Wiley works, but any block-focused center could work just as well. This is a pretty cut-and-dry decision the Nets should not overthink.
Featured image courtesy of Brooklyn Nets
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