Nets kick off draft prospect workouts looking for athleticism

Kevin Pangos (AP)
Kevin Pangos (AP)
Kevin Pangos (AP)

Armed with picks no. 29 & 41 in the NBA Draft and a need for athleticism, the Brooklyn Nets officially began prospect workouts Monday morning.

The Nets worked out five prospects on “opening day”: 6’2″ Louisville guard Terry Rozier, 6’2″ Gonzaga guard Kevin Pangos, 6’5″ Florida State guard Aaron Thomas, 6’9″ Maryland-Eastern Shore forward-center Mike Myers, and 6’10” Delaware State forward-center Kendall Gray.

Treveon Graham was also scheduled to participate, but wasn’t able to make it due to the weather. He wasn’t the only one that had issues: Rozier said that delays due to the flash flood warnings & rain meant he didn’t get into the New York area until 4 A.M. the night before.

Of the prospects, Rozier is the most likely to go in the first round. Though Nets scouting director Gregg Polinsky wouldn’t say it outright, he acknowledged that “it’s no secret that there’s always key guys in the workout.” Media were not permitted to view the workouts, though players were available afterwards.

“Terry had a good career,” Polinsky later added. “He played for an excellent coach. You know you’re going to get a guy — if (he played) at Louisville, you’re going to get a competitive guy.” As a sophomore, Rozier led Louisville in scoring, averaging 17.1 points per game on 41.1 percent shooting.

Following the season, Nets coach Lionel Hollins said he wanted the Nets to get more athletic, particularly in the backcourt, and finding athleticism is a priority for the Nets in the draft. “I think coach will say, we’ll take it anywhere,” Polinsky said. “If it’s the right guy, guy’s got the right competitive nature, the right personality traits, we’ll take it anywhere. But certainly, we’d like to become more athletic on the perimeter.”

The Nets could also use some shooting, and Pangos fits that bill. The senior hit over 40 percent from three-point range in all four of his years at Gonzaga, and had a lengthy conversation with Hollins following the workout.

History would indicate that the Nets will end the draft with an additional pick or two. The team bought three draft picks in the 2014 draft to select Markel Brown, Xavier Thames, and Cory Jefferson, and has made numerous draft-day deals in the Billy King era. Polinsky hinted that the team might elect to go the draft-and-stash route in the second round, like they did with Thames last season.

According to Polinsky, the team decides whether or not they want to buy a pick much like the way restaurants describe their prices on Yelp. “You know how you look at a restaurant when you’re out of town, and it has dollar signs? So what we’ve done for Billy, as a joke, is we’ve assigned dollar signs. … We try to assess the best we can literally what we think is a fair market value to go in and buy a pick. And that’s literally kind of how we do it. With dollar signs on a guy.”

The Nets continue their workouts tomorrow. On the schedule: St. John’s guard Phil Greene, Boise State guard Darrick Marks, Villanova forward Darrun Hilliard, Georgetown forward Greg Whittington, Iowa forward Aaron White, and Iona forward David Laury.