After an exciting drama-filled evening at the Barclays Center, another NBA draft night is in the books. The storylines are numerous and narratives are endless. While grading a team’s draft night so soon is premature, this article is the Brooklyn Nets draft recap.
Brooklyn Nets Draft Recap
Meet the Players
Flashback, the Nets initially had zero picks in 2018. However, they acquired draft picks from the Toronto Raptors as part of the DeMarre Carroll trade. Nets general manager Sean Marks scoured the globe for talent to fit his vision of the team.
According to reports, the Nets worked out at least 50 players before the draft. Last year, that number was over 60. It’s alleged that Marks interviewed last year’s first-round pick Jarrett Allen the night before the draft.
First Round Selection
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) June 22, 2018
After very intense scouting, the Nets front office selected Dzanan Musa with the 29th pick in the first round. Just 19 years old, Musa played for KK Cedevita in the Croatian League for the last three years. This past season, Musa led KK Cedevita to the Croatian League Championship. Musa, a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina conjures up memories of former Nets great, Drazen Petrovic. Like Petrovic, Musa is fearless and ruthless on the court.
Draft analyst ESPN’s Jonathon Givony wrote on Twitter; “I am told that he [Musa] would have been taken much higher had he agreed to be stashed in Europe next year, but his insistence on coming to the NBA right away caused him to slip a bit.” Fellow ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz calls Musa, “A Bosnian scoring machine.”
Second Round Selection
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) June 22, 2018
With the 40th pick, the Nets selected Rodion Kurucs. Kurucs, a native of Latvia played for FC Barcelona in the Spanish ACB. A 6 foot 9 forward, Kurucs was touted as a first-round pick previously. However, last season Kurucs was used sparingly by Barcelona which undoubtedly impacted his value.
Marks on both players
GM Sean Marks expects both players to don the black and white as part of the Nets roster this upcoming season. At the introductory press conference, Marks took the opportunity to express confidence in his team’s ability to develop talent while expressing optimism about his young charges.
“We’re thrilled to have both these young men here,” said Marks. “Part of our job is to find talent, develop talent, but more importantly develop young men. That’s going to be our jobs, from the front office, from the performance staff, from the coaching staff. We’re thrilled to welcome these guys to our Nets family.”
“I look forward to getting them in here with our coaching staff, with our development staff in this system, and, to be brutally honest, to seeing what Kenny and the coaches and the performance team can do with them. These guys are both hungry. They’re competitive. They’ve got a certain fire and grit to them and they want to succeed. Those are some of the intangibles that you don’t see on the court, you see behind closed doors.”
Marks said this when asked about Musa: “I think from scouting perspective we’ve enjoyed watching him play. Very dynamic. Obviously, his offensive skills are pretty special. [A good] size for [his] position. He has been playing at a very, very high level. A very competitive young man.”
Marks didn’t contain his excitement when asked about Kurucs. “I’m not sure why he was there when we picked, but he is a guy that we had been targeting for some time,” Marks said. “We’re thrilled to get our hands on Rodions.”
What do Musa and Kurucs think
“Mirza Teletovic was playing here, so I watched the Brooklyn Nets a lot because that’s my captain of the national team,” Musa said. “We’re good friends…I’m very thankful and appreciative to have a friend like him.”
Musa spoke respectfully of Drazen Petrovic as well:
“I didn’t know so much about him when I was playing in Bosnia,” said Musa. “But as soon as I came into Croatia, I realized how big a person, how big a player he was. I was very glad to play in his gym multiple times and I was very glad to have spoken to his friends, to his mom. She gave me advice how to succeed and you cannot buy that. That’s really amazing.”
Kurucs is acutely aware of what the Nets organization will do for his development.
“I was super, super surprised. Actually, that was where I wanted to go, this place with the Nets. I’m happy to be here. I know the staff is great here, the club is great for the performance, and I know they’ll work with the young guys…They give you everything you need to improve your game. That’s the most important thing on this club.”
Let’s not forget Kurucs hails from Latvia. Across the Brooklyn Bridge, there’s a Latvian star representing the New York Knicks. Asked about playing against Kristaps Porzingis, Kurucs said “Sure and beat his ass.”
When asked if they Musa and Kurucs ever faced each other, Musa’s response was golden. “My first game was against this guy in the national team. He kicked our ass, he scored against us like 28, 30 points, he dunked on us like eight times. So I remember this guy, a lot.”
Overall, only time will tell how these players will develop. The front office of the Nets seemingly has high aspirations of how their 2018 NBA Draft selections will ultimately contribute towards rebuilding the team.
Embed from Getty Images