Minutes after I got off the phone with the fine people of The Basketball Jones, doing their live mock draft (you can see the replay here), and talking about how the Nets are probably going to go big, news broke saying that might not be the case. Draft Express, Chad Ford, and Adrian Wojnarowski all are reporting that the Nets are leaning towards Wesley Johnson for the number three pick, meaning that the Nets are going after a PF hard in free agency. From Wojnarowski’s post:
All along, the Wolves had planned to select Johnson at No. 4, and yet the New Jersey Nets are holding serious discussions about drafting the small forward and taking their chances with trying to sign a power forward in free agency. The Nets had long favored Derrick Favors, but are debating now about how long it will take for him to become a regular contributor. New Jersey is still contemplating DeMarcus Cousins, too.
Ugh. This strategy is good in theory, you don’t want to draft a PF if you are going to sign a youungish one to a max contract (Amar’e or Bosh), that is a waste of a pick. Plus it isn’t like Johnson is a bad player (in fact he is very good). However, this could blow up in their face and ruin all the good will they built up with Nets fans after their awful season last year.
I am worried about it for two reasons. One, if we don’t draft a PF and somehow whiff in free agency, we are going to see the Nets either give a max deal to a guy like Carlos Boozer or David Lee (trust me that’s bad) or the Nets are going to be stuck with Yi starting at PF for another year.
The second reason is my main worry, and that is the overcrowding at the wing position. For a guy like LeBron, you don’t worry about overcrowding, but to draft a wing when you already have Courtney Lee, CDR, and Terrence Williams on the roster? That just doesn’t make sense. My fear is that the Nets’ new staff sees Terrence Williams as a back-up point guard instead of what he actually is. A starting small forward with the skill-set to be a point forward type of player. In my opinion, those are two different things.
A few hours ago, I was fairly confident the Nets were going with Favors, now? Who the hell knows. After the Vince Carter trade at draft night, I didn’t think that the Nets could match it this year in terms of surprises. Apparently, they are well on their way. Thursday is going to be interesting.