Session 3, 2018 Draft Segment, Part 1
The Brook-Lin writing team are actively watching the playoffs keeping our sights on which free agents perform well and putting on our thinking caps for what this summer will bring for the Brooklyn Nets. As the team gears up for the offseason we conducted a series of roundtable sessions reflecting back on the 2017-18 season and forward to next season.
In this third segment the team looks at the 2018 Draft. Last night the Draft Lottery took place with the Cavaliers landing in the eighth spot. This is important to mention as the pick comes courtesy of the Brooklyn Nets via Boston. Go ahead, gnash your teeth, but immediately afterward smile. Grin because the Brooklyn Nets have fulfilled the obligation that crippled the franchise for the past five years. Finally, that period of perpetuity is over.
As for the draft lottery for the most part teams ping pong balls landed where they were expected to. Memphis and Dallas fell two spots from the predicted second and third slots. The Hawks moved up one spot while Orlando and Chicago each fell one place. The big winner of the night was the Sacramento Kings who leapt from a predicted seventh selection all the way up to second.
As for the Brooklyn Nets they’ll select 29th in the first round courtesy of the DeMarre Carroll trade. In addition the Brooklyn Nets have two second round picks. The first comes via the Lakers at 4oth and the 45th pick via the Bucks.
With that let’s begin part one of the three part roundtable draft segment.
First of all, what specific position(s) should Marks be scouting for?
Nick Agar Johnson:
Sean Marks should be looking for versatile big men at either position. Brooklyn’s offense relies heavily on 3-point shooting but Quincy Acy is the only current big man with any real shooting range–picking up a big with range would be huge for Jarrett Allen‘s development as well, as it will give him more space on rolls to the rim.
The other position Marks should be focusing on is small forward. Everyone in the NBA is looking for stretch-4’s and wings at the moment, so a wing player with size and shooting touch would really help. This draft is big-man heavy at the top but wing-heavy in the middle portions of the draft, so the Nets could find an undervalued wing pretty easily.
Big men. The Nets could use just about any talent they can get, but especially in the front-court for a variety of reasons. Although Jarrett Allen had a stellar rookie season in which he established himself as a building block for the future, the Nets have the depth of a kiddie pool behind him. Beefing up the front court should be a top priority heading into this offseason. And, this is the perfect draft to accomplish that goal. The talent pool this year features one of the deepest groups of young bigs in recent memory and even though it’s top-heavy, there is a bevy of quality bigs well into the mid-first round.
The Nets desperately needs more size in the frontcourt. With Jarrett Allen entrenched as the center of the future, a viable power forward who can slide into the center role for minutes would be ideal. If not, wing talent is always welcome too.
It became clear head coach Kenny Atkinson incorporated a space and pace scheme into the Brooklyn Nets offense. Brooklyn averaged 35.7 threes per game (2nd) but converted on just 35.6 percent (21st). Sean Marks should be aiming to add more perimeter shooting but at the power forward position.
The Nets have a log jam at both guards positions so it makes no sense to. select another guard. If you look at the roster, Brooklyn also lack a back up center. Jahlil Okafor and Timofey Mozgov are traditional centers and do not fit the offensive or defensive scheme Atkinson has deployed. Okafor is an offensive juggernaut but can’t play a lick of defense.
Mozgov is a decent interior defender but doesn’t possess an offensive game to speak of. With small ball a common strategy in today’s NBA, Marks is best to select a power forward that can play a small ball five.
No big surprises here — the Brooklyn Nets have the most depth in the backcourt almost to a fault. That factor will offer Sean Marks flexibility when it comes to trades. Conversely, up front there are limited options. Jarrett Allen is a solid center who the Nets could look to build around and utilize in a role similar to Clint Capela is in Houston.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is a special talent, but his range is limited. DeMarre Carroll had a career season, but is on the downside of his prime and will be in the final season of his contract. Joe Harris proved to be a pleasant surprise, but perhaps is best suited in the small forward role (plus is a free agent). And, Quincy Acy who was the only Brooklyn Nets big capable of shooting treys is also a free agent. Therefore, Marks should be seeking to add a stretch power forward and backup center with range.
If you are Marks do you take best player on board or best fit (to fill a specific position)?
Nick Agar Johnson:
Best player on the board, unless they’re a guard. The Nets still could use help at pretty much every position other than in the backcourt. Taking a positional fit seems unnecessary–especially since player development is Kenny Atkinson’s biggest strength. Furthermore, this draft is not exactly that great in terms of guard depth anyway so there might not be that many times when Marks could opt for positional fit and not take a player close to the top of their board.
The Nets are in no place to be picky over positional needs. They have solid players at every position, sure, but they don’t have anyone good enough to consider irreplaceable. Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell are solid guards but if an opportunity presents itself, Collin Sexton could be a viable option.
The Brooklyn Nets have a nice wing group in RHJ, Allen Crabbe, Carroll and Caris LeVert, but a Troy Brown or De’Anthony Melton would be welcome additions. Every single position could be upgraded in the draft, and even if there’s not a better player available, it couldn’t hurt if for the team to get deeper. The point is, they don’t have the talent to be picky about positional designations.
The Nets definitely should prioritize taking the best player available in this current rebuilding plan. The preference is a forward but, if the best point guard or center in the draft class fell to 28, I would not sob or complain if Marks took him in.
If I am Marks, I am taking players that fit the vision. Space and pace is the offensive scheme so you pick the players that fit the vision. I am an advocate for selecting players that fit the system much like the San Antonio Spurs. Brooklyn are best to build the empire from the ground up rather than selecting the best player on the board that doesn’t fit. While the Nets haven’t made a first round selection in quite some time, they’re better off to make smart choices rather than shooting for the stars straight off the bat.
When you are a lottery team it’s a priority to take the best talent on the board. Sean Marks has demonstrated adeptness at acquiring and assessing talent. Following a season where the 13th pick (Donovan Mitchell) and 27th pick (Kyle Kuzma) each proved to be better talents than their selection indicated.
In an ideal world the Brooklyn Nets luck out and have the opportunity to draft a frontcourt player and more specifically a center or stretch four. Having said that, Marks doesn’t have the roster depth to pass on talent. The only other option is if Marks has his heart set on a player who is expected to fall just after their pick he can work a deal which could bring in the player they want with potentially other assets or another pick.
That’s it for part one, check back tomorrow as the team dives deeper into Sean Marks options for the three draft picks.