The magical day is finally upon us: the 2013 NBA Draft kicks off at Barclays Center tonight at 7 P.M. The Brooklyn Nets currently hold the 22nd pick in the draft, but having one pick has never stopped them from drafting more than one player. Here are five predictions for tonight’s draft.
All predictions down the right side are from The BK Draft Game. It’s free, and if you win, you win prizes. So go check it out. Good luck!
1) The Nets will take Gorgui Dieng. This is as flimsy a prediction as anything ever is in the NBA Draft, because it’s impossible to forecast who’s going number 1, much less number 22. But some reports have said that if Dieng falls to 22, the Nets will most likely take him, and Dieng’s knee issues have caused him to slip down draft boards. Dieng led Louisville’s top-ranked defense in 2013 all the way to an NCAA championship, and his combination of quickness, length, and defensive acumen project him as an ideal backup for Brook Lopez. If he’s there at 22 and something insane hasn’t happened, I think the Nets gobble him up.
2) MarShon will be freed, forever. Speculation has mounted over the past few days that the Nets are willing to give up MarShon Brooks to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 26th pick and a non-guaranteed contract in the hopes of filling out their roster a bit more. Brooks is a conundrum; fans clamor to see him play more, but he struggles mightily on defense and occasionally with shot selection when in the game. Brooks is undoubtedly talented, but if the Nets think they have intel on someone worth taking at 26, they’ll probably take the plunge. My guess: if they get Dieng at 22, they’ll trade for the 26th pick to take someone like Jamaal Franklin to help fill out their wings.
3) The Nets won’t trade up… but they’ll try. One scenario has the Nets trading Brooks for the 26th pick, then flipping their two picks to try to move up in the draft. They might look as high as 13, where the Dallas Mavericks are shopping their pick, and look to draft Russian lefty forward Sergey Karasev. The problem with that deal: there are probably better deals out there for the Mavericks than two late first-round picks. The Hawks, for instance, pick 17th and 18th and could work out a trade package wherein they take Shawn Marion back from the Mavericks (which the Nets can’t do), shedding his $9.3 millon salary and giving the Mavericks a stronger chance at signing Dwight Howard.
4) The Nets will trade down, though… and more than once. By “trade” I really mean “buy.” The Nets have all $3 million that they can use under the CBA to grease trades with other teams, and Nets general manager Billy King is no stranger to doing it — he used nearly all of it to buy into the second round twice last year, buying Tyshawn Taylor with the 41st overall pick for $2 million and Tornike Shengelia with the 55th overall pick for $750,000. My guess? Including the predicted MarShon deal above, we’ll see at least two trades. We looked at some second-round options earlier today.
5) Nerlens Noel will go first overall. Okay, this isn’t a Nets prediction, but the draft is at Barclays Center this year and the #1 pick has more intrigue than I can ever remember. The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly shopping around the pick, but if they hold on to it, are deciding between Maryland center Alex Len and Kentucky center Nerlens Noel. Len is a more “traditional” back to the basket center, but Noel has defensive tools similar to Anthony Davis last season. While Noel has a torn ACL, I think he’s a better player and NBA prospect than Len, and that he’s the right choice.