School: San Diego State University
Per-game stats: 33.2 MIN, 16.6 PTS, 9.4 REB, 3.3 AST, 1.6 STL, 3.4 TOV, .404 FG%, .279 3PT%, .790 FT%.
Why should the Nets draft Jamaal Franklin? With apologies to Michael Cage, the most talented player ever to come out of the San Diego State program is Kawhi Leonard, the 6’7″ San Antonio Spurs forward and basketball nerd’s dream who’s making a name for himself in the NBA Finals. Leonard is a jack-of-all-trades sparkplug, a wing player that can defend multiple positions, hit outside shots, rebound for his position, and fit perfectly within San Antonio’s zipper/floppy/motion offense built on constant movement.
Franklin comes from the same lineage. He projects to be a good defender at the NBA level, and college stats are quite similar to Leonard’s. He does a little of everything, leading his team in scoring, rebounding, assists, and steals per game. His rebounding in particular is stellar — Franklin averaged 11.1 rebounds per 40 minutes pace-adjusted, the highest of any college guard by a wide margin.
The Nets could use a player with Franklin’s aggressiveness and all-around ability, similar to Gerald Wallace (though smaller).
Why shouldn’t the Nets draft Jamaal Franklin? Speaking of similar to Gerald Wallace, Franklin just isn’t a good shooter. The Nets need more shooting to space the floor around their key offensive players (general manager Billy King said exactly that this month) and Franklin shot just 27.9% from the college three this past year. Leonard is again an example of a player that developed a shot in the pros — he shot just 25% from three-point range over two years in college, and has shot 37.5% with the Spurs — but Leonard is also a unique case in a franchise built specifically to develop him in that role.
Franklin is the type of player most franchises could use, but he’s not really what the Nets need. Plus, if the team brings over Croatian Bojan Bogdanovic (as expected), there just won’t be much room for him to develop.
Plus: dudes who wear sleeves at the college level always worry me.
Will Jamaal Franklin be available at 22? Not definitely, but likely. A cursory look around mock drafts indicates Franklin’s in the late first round range:
Have the Nets worked Jamaal Franklin out? Yes and no. Franklin confirmed that he would work out for the team in mid-May, then came to the Nets practice facility during their first group prospect workout on June 11th, even though he wasn’t on the official media list for that date. According to Nets director of player personnel Gregg Polinsky, he couldn’t work out due to injury, but the team did speak with him.
Should they trade up or down to ensure acquiring Jamaal Franklin? Probably not. He’s not head and shoulders above other guys in the 20-30 range, and the Nets probably won’t get anything of serious value by trading down if he’s available a few picks later. If they do choose to make a deal, Minnesota is an intriguing option: they pick 26th and have two additional picks late in the second round.
Final verdict: A passive pass. Jamaal Franklin is a nice player that the Nets should look closely at, but he also doesn’t fill any immediate or significant need. King is on record saying that the Nets would take who he believes is the best player available, but there’s a good chance someone in the same talent level will be available at 22 that fills a more pressing team need. He’s not significantly better than, say, Gorgui Dieng or Reggie Bullock (or Bojan Bogdanovic, for that matter).
But: if King thinks Franklin can develop his outside shot a la Kawhi Leonard, and he has the potential to carve into MarShon Brooks’s/Bojan Bogdanovic’s playing time, it may behoove King to trade down to draft him and sneak a late second-round pick.