Nets draft pick headed overseas

San Diego St Wyoming Basketball
Xavier Thames (AP)
San Diego St Wyoming Basketball
Xavier Thames (AP)

Brooklyn Nets draftee Xavier Thames is headed overseas.

The 59th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, acquired from the Toronto Raptors for $500,000, has signed a deal with Baloncesto Sevilla in Spain.

Following a poor performance in Orlando Summer League, the Nets chose not to sign Thames to an NBA deal, instead inking their other two picks, 44th overall pick Markel Brown and last selection Cory Jefferson.

Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game quoted one league source on Tuesday that noted Europe was Thames’s “best option.

Thames will become the conventional second round “draft-and-stash” product, allowing the Nets to retain his rights. Contingent on Kevin Garnett’s expected return, Brooklyn has a complete 15-man roster. If Thames received a training camp invite, but was inevitably cut, the Nets would lose his rights. Thames’s new deal overseas allows him to develop and the Nets to retain him, a win-win.

Xavier will be faced with one major agenda in Spain: pick a position. Thames has the shot, but not the height, for a shooting guard position; conversely, he’s a good size for a point guard, but isn’t a natural facilitator.

Thames averaged 17.6 points per game last season at San Diego State, shooting 41.1 percent from the field. He’ll have new rules to adjust to overseas, as well as a new system. (Let’s just hope they don’t cover the Summer League too much over in Spain.)

He’ll also be Sevilla’s highest-regarded NBA prospect. The closest player to Thames in achievements is Jerel McNeal, a Marquette guard who went undrafted in 2009 that’s bounced around summer league teams and the D-League but never played in the NBA.

Luckily, Thames will practice under an NBA brain. Scott Roth, hired about a month prior to Thames’s deal, left his assistant coaching position with the Detroit Pistons for the job. Roth has a boatload of experience: after a long international playing career, he was the head coach of the D-League Bakersfield Jam and the Dominican Republic national basketball team. He also worked as an assistant with the Toronto Raptors, Golden State Warriors, and Dallas Mavericks, as well as the national teams in Turkey and Canada.

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