If there’s anything Brooklyn Nets fans learned from the 2016 NBA Draft, it’s that general manager Sean Marks is not afraid to reach and take risks.
When Marks made the move to ship Thaddeus Young to the Indiana Pacers for the No. 20 selection, Caris Levert was projected in the low 50s on Draft Express. Thursday night at Barclay’s Center should be no different and, yes, the Nets will be swapping the first pick in the draft as due to the trade from blah blah blah. We know this story so let’s keep it positive here.
Despite surrendering the pick, the Nets will have two first-round picks for the first time since 2010, making for an exciting night. The outcome of the draft will be crucial in terms of where Brooklyn stands in its rebuild. With the No. 22 and No. 27 selections, the Nets have been linked to Isaiah Hartenstein, Anzejs Pasecniks, Terrance Ferguson, Justin Patton, Bam Adebayo, Harry Giles and as of late, OG Anunoby, but here are some reach candidates Marks may be interested in.
- Jonah Bolden
Jonah Bolden is slowly not becoming so much of a secret as the draft approaches. The 6-foot, 10-inch former UCLA player averaged 12.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in Australia in the Adriatic League this past season. Bolden has shown potential in nearly every aspect. He’s quick on his feet, which allows him to guard multiple positions; he can shoot the three, be on the receiving end of lobs and dunks, transition well and can be a solid rim protector. As Marks loves length, Bolden looks like a good fit at small forward. Will the New Zealand-born Marks have interest in the top prospect in his home country? Don’t doubt it.
- Tony Bradley
Tony Bradley’s stats from his recent campaign at North Carolina are not eye-popping. The first one-and-done UNC player in years averaged just 7.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game as the team took the National Championship. Many UNC fans believe these stats are deceiving, however, as his production would have spiked with an increase in playing time. His measurables are intriguing and a nice fit for the Nets, as he stands at 6 feet, 11 inches, 248 pounds and has a 7-foot, 5-inch wingspan. Bradley is currently projected to go 32nd but if Marks liked what he saw in last week’s workout, he’ll reach.
- Mathias Lessort
Mathia Lessort’s name has bounced between late first round and second round throughout the countless mock drafts that have been published over the past few months. Lessort is an athletic bruiser on the court with a 6-foot, 9-inch, 250-pound frame that is capable of taking contact. His frame allows him to be a solid rim protector while being mobile enough to guard some centers and even some guards. On offense, he is a dunks and lob player and is aggressive enough to earn trips to the free-throw line as he averaged three trips per game this past season. He averaged 10.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game for Nanterre International and is projected to go 40th by Draft Express.
- Caleb Swanigan
Swanigan is a player who has been on Nets fans’ radar for several months. He doesn’t have much athleticism at 6 feet, 9 inches, 247 pounds but he has shown serious potential as a big man who can shoot; sound familiar? The Purdue product averaged 44 percent from three to go with 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. With the Nets desperately needing a rim protector with some offensive upside, Swanigan may be able to fill that role.