2014 NBA Draft: 5 Players Brooklyn Nets Should Target
5 Players The Brooklyn Nets Should Target In This Year's Draft
The Brooklyn Nets leveraged their whole future to win in the present.
The Nets won't have a pick until 2015 after acquiring Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in subsequent summers. Brooklyn also sent their 2014 second-round pick to the Boston Celtics back in 2011 to add the services of Marshon Brooks. The Philadelphia 76ers currently own the rights to the Nets' second rounder.
Without a draft pick this year, it'll be up to Nets GM Billy King to work the phones or owner Mikhail Prokhorov to open up his wallet for the team to secure a young piece.
It'll be up to the management team to pull the right strings to fill some of the team's most glaring needs. Brooklyn is currently in the bottom third in the NBA in points per game, averaging 97.5 per contest. The Nets are also second worst in the league in rebounding, pulling down just 39 boards per game.
Age is clearly going to be an issue moving forward for Brooklyn moving forward. Six members of the Nets' rotation are over 30-years old, with Deron Williams turning 30 in June. The front office knows that better than anyone.
Pierce's contract comes off the books this summer, and it will be interesting to see whether the team brings him back or looks elsewhere to fill the small forward position. Shaun Livingston also becomes a free agent this summer, while Andray Blatche, Andrei Kirilenko and Alan Anderson can exercise player options.
If the Nets are able to acquire a pick at all, the most likely scenario is Brooklyn getting a pick in the second round, with first-round picks at a premium more than ever and the team owning limited tradeable assets.
With all these factors in mind, here are the players who the Brooklyn Nets should target in this year's NBA Draft.
5. Melvin Ejim
Ejim is exactly the type of player that the Nets need. The Iowa State forward can possess the ball, knock down jumpers and is more than willing to hit the boards. Ejim led the Big 12 in rebounding last season and is the conference's leading scorer with 18.9 points per game this season. He has shown freakish athletic ability on the fast break and could be a prime alley-oop partner with Williams for years to come.
4. Roscoe Smith
The former Connecticut forward needed a change of scenery to showcase his talents, and after sitting out a year, Smith has brought a hard-nosed mentality to the UNLV Rebels. The junior has 15 double-doubles on the season and is fifth in the nation in rebounding at 11.1 rebounds per game. The Nets would welcome a guy willing to crash the boards as hard as Smith.
3. Markel Brown
Brooklyn could use a spark plug on offense. Oklahoma State guard Brown could provide that for the Nets. He's not a force with the ball, but he could potentially provide Williams with an explosive slasher in space. Brown's shooting ability has improved each season, topping out with a 47.2 field goal percentage this season. He has been a main contributor on strong teams and did not slow down with Marcus Smart's suspension last month.
2. C.J. Fair
The small forward position will be the Nets' biggest question mark heading into next season. With Pierce's contract situation in doubt and Kirilenko's decision to stay or exercise his option, Fair could become a good gamble for Brooklyn in the second round. He's not even the most physically-gifted forward on his own college squad (Jerami Grant), but Fair has a polished offensive game from 18 feet and in and is a scrappy defender.
1. Aaron Gordon
Imagine Aaron Gordon with a year under the wing of Garnett. Just plain frightening. It'll take some hefty pieces to get a first-round pick in a trade, which the Nets may not have, but if by some miracle they could get one, all eyes should be set on Gordon. The Arizona forward would be able to patrol the block on offense while Brook Lopez stepped away from the rim with his knock-down shooting. Acquiring Gordon is a dream scenario for Brooklyn.