What could possibly be more awkward for an NBA franchise than having a losing season and not earning a lottery pick in the upcoming draft?
How about surrendering the 15th selection to the team that knocked you out in the first round of the playoffs in exchange for the 29th as a result of a deal made three years ago?
This is the sad reality of next month’s NBA Draft for the Brooklyn Nets, who will swap the first round pick that would’ve rendered their 2014-15 season far less meaningless with the Atlanta Hawks due to the trade that sent shooting guard Joe Johnson to Brooklyn.
From the first non-lottery pick to the next-to-last pick of the first round. The only thing that could have made the situation less painful upon the deflating reminder was if it weren’t taking place at the Barclays Center, home of the Nets.
Brooklyn did, however, retain its second round pick, which will be made at No. 41.
For general manager Billy King and coach Lionel Hollins, selections at 29 and 41 aren’t exactly part of the blueprint toward a major turnaround next season.
Not with the typical difficulty of landing immediate impact players at those stages of the draft.
And for a Nets team that desperately longs for home-grown talent sooner rather than later (financial flexibility entering the free agent market is something management can only attain through the assistance of a genie at this point), it would be in the best interest of King and Hollins to make a push toward moving up in the draft.
The one thing the Nets have going in their favor is that their second round pick isn’t as laughable as their first. At 41, Brooklyn possesses the 11th pick of the final round.
A willingness to sacrifice the quantity of their picks for the quality of an earlier first round pick is an intriguing route the Nets should inquire about. Teams that might potentially show interest in such a transaction could be the Chicago Bulls, who have only one total pick under their belt at No. 22 and could be seeking to acquire another. Jumping up seven slots might not produce fireworks, but the leap could ultimately make a world of difference for the Nets in terms of possibly landing a ready-to-produce talent as opposed to what could be a couple of project-players.
The same could go for the Portland Trailblazers at 23, who also do not have a second-round pick to their name.
Another route the Nets could consider is that of reserve center Mason Plumlee. If the rumors of teams beginning to show interest in Plumlee are indeed true and the Nets aren’t opposed to moving him, Brooklyn could offer either him or a combination of the big man and a draft pick to acquire a selection more to their liking.
It would require some work, but improving their first round pick in the upcoming draft should be a serious consideration for the currently in-between Brooklyn Nets.
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