There isn't as much of a buzz this year for the NBA Draft as there was last year when the Nets owned the third overall pick. However, with the 27th overall pick, the Nets could possibly draft a player that can contribute off the bench or even develop down on the farm with the Springfield Armor, possibly making some noise later in the season. So, who might be available?
In my first round mock draft on The Basketball Jones, I have the Nets taking Justin Harper of Richmond. However, he's been fluctuating on other mock drafts and could possibly be gone by the time the Nets pick. What's great about the draft is all of the speculating and seemingly quick movement, up or down, of players. For example, in the same mock draft, I have Marshon Brooks going to the Chicago Bulls with the 28th overall pick. But if a team likes him better than Alec Burks, the projected top shooting guard in the draft, Brooks could possibly be a lottery pick and likely picked in the teens or early 20s.
So, let's put some speculation aside and deal with facts. Who have the Nets worked out and who's scheduled to do their thing in front of Nets brass:
June 2nd workout - Malcolm Lee (UCLA), Jon Leuer (Wisconsin), Vernon Macklin (Florida), Jamie Skeen (Virginia Commonwealth), Mychel Thompson (Pepperdine) and Willie Reed (St. Louis)
June 6th workout - Chaisson Allen (Northeastern), Lavoy Allen (Temple; non-participant in physical activity), LaceDarius Dunn (Baylor; non-participant in physical activity), Sean Kowal (Northern Illinois), Jamel McLean (Xavier) and Eniel Polynice (Seton Hall)
June 7th workout - Corey Fisher (Villanova), DeAndre Liggins (Kentucky), Antonio Pena (Villanova), Iman Shumpert (Georgia Tech), Xavier Silas (Illinois), Alex Tyus (Florida)
June 8th workout (expected) - Jimmy Butler (Marquette), Norris Cole (Cleveland State), E’Twaun Moore (Purdue), Darius Morris (Michigan), Chandler Parsons (Florida), Kyle Singer (Duke)
June 9th workout (expected) - Marshon Brooks (Providence), Justin Harper (Richmond), Shelvin Mack (Butler), Josh Selby (Kansas), Nolan Smith (Duke), Nikola Vucevic (USC)
So, which way do the Nets go? Do they grab a power forward to either back-up or replace Kris Humphries? Or do they go for a wing player that can create their own shot and put the ball in the basket? There were murmurs of Billy King not being afraid to draft a point guard despite having three already signed on the team - Deron Williams, Jordan Farmar and Sundiata Gaines. Perhaps an insurance policy in case D-Will bolts? Perish the thought!
Personally, I like Harper because the dude can shoot and can take his man off the dribble. A face-up four that complements Brook Lopez's back-to-the-basket skills? Excellent! Of course, there might be some trouble when it comes to rebounds, which is why someone like Kenneth Faried would also be nice. He's all about effort and swallowing basketballs off the board. It's been said that if you combine Harper's skill with Faried's motor, you'd have an excellent NBA player. Well, I'd go with skill here because Harper seems coachable and would up his intensity at the next level. Regardless, both players could unfortunately be gone by the time the Nets pick, but let's hope not.
If the Nets go for a wing, Brooks is looking like the top possible choice for the team. Of course I'm crossing my fingers that they can sign the Sacramento Kings' Marcus Thornton to fill the two-spot, but that's basically out of the Nets' control. As of now, the Kings have the right to match any offers that Thornton gets, but the new Collective Bargaining Agreement could change the rules. That said, my fingers are cramping up filled with hope.
If Brooks is there, the Nets will take him. He was the second-leading scorer in the NCAA behind that Jimmer Fredette guy from BYU and he's been moving up the charts. UCLA's Tyler Honeycutt is a possibility and he'd be a nice addition, especially when you consider how Ben Howland makes his team play defense. Another potential benefit, recent players from UCLA usually do better at the next level than first projected (Darren Collison, Russell Westbrook, and even to some small degree, Kevin Love). If the Nets get Honeycutt, an excellent scorer, they have to hope his abilities come out more on the NBA stage.
I also like Liggins a lot because he'd be an excellent wing defender and contribute immediately off the bench in that role. Selby is an interesting case as he came to Kansas highly regarded, but didn't get much of an opportunity as he would have liked to show what he could do. However, he's undersized for a two-guard and would definitely need to work on his lead guard skills to stick in the league. Singler has a good pedigree from Duke, but seems a bit two-dimensional, limited to shooting and hustle. But, hey, maybe that's enough because what do you really expect from a 27th pick. Nolan Smith would be a nice addition if the Nets could move one of the contracted point guards (Farmar, please). Smith can score, but also displays excellent leadership qualities and can play the point. Shumpert did well and impressed with his athleticism, but for some reason I still hold a grudge because he was awful in getting Derrick Favors (remember him?) the ball when they played together at Georgia Tech.
From now until draft day on June 23 there will be more speculation and possibilities for the Nets. Feel free to comment below on whom you think the Nets should take with the 27th pick of the first round.