Typically here at NAS, we don’t post on every single rumor involving the Nets, but given just the sheer wackiness surrounding the organization and their lottery pick the past 24 hours, I thought it would be a good idea to fan the flames some more until things start to materialize tomorrow night.
The latest comes courtesy of Marc Stein and the TrueHoop mothership. With more and more people buying into the idea that the Nets are going to take Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson with the #3 pick, rather than Favors/Cousins is because Johnson has the same agent as free agent PF Carlos Boozer. So, in theory, bringing in Johnson could lead to Boozer.
So, here’s my take on all of this. A lot of the rumors that have been circulating the past 24 hours are all based on the same reality – it would appear that the Nets are less interested in projection and would rather put together a team next season that is ready to compete for a playoff spot. I understand Prokhorov wants to make a big splash and this team desperately needs to be competitive for their move to Brooklyn in two years, but this whole strategy is hugely unsettling. Lottery picks, in theory, should be used for the best talent available, and by landing the #3 pick, the Nets, hypothetically should take home one of the three best talents in the draft. By most accounts, that’s either Derrick Favors or DeMarcus Cousins. My preference is Favors, and while the addition of Favors and maybe a free agent or two doesn’t guarantee the Nets return to the playoffs in 2011 – in fact, they probably won’t – if Favors develops into the player most scouts believes he can become, the Nets could have one the leagues most gifted PFs on their roster in 2-3 years. Meanwhile, I just don’t think a starting five of Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, Wesley Johnson, Carlos Boozer and Brook Lopez is anything more than a bottom half seed in the Eastern Conference – which brings the Nets back to where they were during the Vince Carter/Jason Kidd era – not good enough to win anything significant, and not bad enough to gather assets that could help them rebuild a la the Thunder.
Going on the assumption that three true game changers in FA, LeBron, Wade and Bosh, are not coming to New Jersey, I don’t think the best way to accomplish Prokhorov’s five-year plan is to import a role player like Johnson with the #3 pick in the draft while grossly overpaying for imperfect players in free agency. This is the same strategy the earned the Knicks an 8th seed and first-round ouster in 2004, followed by six years of salary cap hell.