As we approach draft night (just one week away!), draft experts are slowly starting to carve out some common ground. Kyrie Irving is the consensus #1 pick. Derrick Williams should follow him at #2. Brandon Knight and Enes Kanter will go some combination of 3-4. Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker, Jan Vesely, and Bismack Biyombo round out some of the lottery.
However, by the time mock drafts get down to around #27, there’s a little more variance. Actually, the most variance possible. In 11 NBA.com mock drafts, the Nets are connected to 11 different players. There’s some names we’ve heard before, but no two draft experts agree on what the Nets will do with their first-round pick.
Here’s some of the more intriguing ones:
ESPN Insider Chad Ford hasn’t changed his mock recently and still has the Nets taking Justin Harper. I don’t pretend I’m an expert on the late first-round picks in this draft, but from what I’ve heard about Harper, he seems like a decent pickup at #27. He fits the athletic, high-character upperclassmen mold the Nets appear to like. Update: As reader Bdiggle25 points out, Ford recently released a new mock draft that has the Nets selecting BC point guard Reggie Jackson. Ford points out that Jackson would be a terrific backup and could also play off the ball. Ford apparently does not consider Jordan Farmar as a part of the Nets future.
On the opposite side, Kristofer Habbas of NBA Draft Insider has the Nets taking the red-flagged Jeremy Tyler, best known for skipping his senior year of high school to play basketball in Europe only to quit the team prematurely. Tyler was lauded in high school as a top prospect, but concerns about his work ethic and attitude caused him to slip down draft boards. Given what types of prospects the Nets have been looking for, Tyler doesn’t really fit the bill – the Nets are looking for experienced, character-plus players.
Tom Ziller of SBNation has the Nets taking Georgia Tech point guard Iman Shumpert, which would make sense if this were an alternate universe where the Nets coveted below average shoot-first point guards.
Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com thinks the Nets will take a chance on Trey Tompkins. According to Cooper, Tompkins has been out of shape throughout the draft process. He’s intriguing, but like Tyler, I don’t think he fits what the Nets are looking for athletically or mentally.
Sam Amick of SI.com and The NBA Confidential believes that the Nets will take Duke guard Nolan Smith, though he adds that they might prefer Josh Selby instead. I’m a fan of both of these guys for different reasons – as Amick notes, Smith has a “kind of toughness, energy and poise that coach Avery Johnson covets,” while Selby’s athleticism, youth, and upside are “appealing.”
Jonathon Givony of DraftExpress predicts the Nets will take Charles Jenkins (pictured above), a senior combo guard from Hofstra. While I think the Nets would prefer a big to a guard in this draft, Jenkins is intriguing because of his pure scoring ability as well as his oft-praised character. I don’t think Jenkins is a rotation player in the NBA, but at #27, I think he’s a better option than a lot of prospects.
For those of you curious, the list of players the Nets have brought in for workouts thus far can be found here.