By Phillip Bausk on June 27th, 2008 11:04 AM
The last 48 hours for the New Jersey Nets have been both hectic and gratifying. Before last night’s NBA Draft, the Nets traded Richard Jefferson to the Milwaukee Bucks for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. While both Yi and Simmons have talent, this trade was done to free up salary cap space for when Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh become free agents in a couple years.
In last night’s draft, the Nets did a fantastic job in putting together a winning team around a future superstar. With the 10th pick overall, many suspected the Nets to draft the likes of Texas A & M Center Deandre Jordan (who was drafted 35th by the Elgin “Wait.. there’s a draft tonight”? Baylor and the LA Clippers) or Louisiana State Forward Anthony Randolph (14th by the Golden State Warriors).
Instead the Nets were able to land one of the predicted top 5 picks in the draft in Stanford Center, and one half of what I like to call the Lopez Locomotive, Brook Lopez. This is an incredible steal for the Nets at the 10th spot in the draft and it looks like Nets General Manager Kiki Vandeweghe knows what he is doing.
As a Sophomore, Lopez averaged nearly 20 ppg and 8 rpg and was one of the best defensive big men in the country. Lopez brings something to the Nets that they have been lacking, a guy who can score consistently in the post, and not give it back on the other end. I’ll spare you naming the honors Lopez has won and just say that this pick by the Nets really will benefit them next season and in the future.
At the 21st pick, the Nets went with the shooter that they have been trying to get since they drafted Antoine Wright. Ryan Anderson was the leading scorer in the Pac-10 conference for the University of California and can bring an offensive punch to this team immediately. Anderson averaged over 21 ppg and at 6 ft 10, can score in a variety of ways. He also averaged 9.9 rpg and like Lopez, is not afraid to go after a missed shot. Anderson also shot 40% from 3 pt. range in his college career and is an excellent foul shooter. This was a very smart pick by the Nets in adding a complementary player to guards who drive and dish like Devin Harris and Marcus WIlliams.
Finally, the last pick, rather steal, of the draft for the Nets came in the 2nd round, in the form of Chris Douglass-Roberts out of Memphis University. With the exception of perhaps the top 2 picks in the draft, no one can score in as many ways as CDR. For some reason GM’s are afraid of a guy who doesn’t have an orthodox style of play and passed up on him. The Nets weren’t going to pass up such a gifted offensive player at this point in the draft. While I am not saying he is going to be a superstar obviously, CDR can be a nice scorer off the bench for the Nets to back of Vince Carter and others.
The Nets have had some draft blunders in the past, just like any other NBA franchise. This year they seem to have gotten it right with their 3 picks and perhaps by the year 2111, we can be looking at the favorites in the Eastern Conference. Well, only if Sean “Jay-Z” Carter has anything to say about it…..
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