The Brooklyn Nets traded away control of their draft for the foreseeable future to the Houston Rockets in order to bring James Harden to town, alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. For a GM in Sean Marks who has made a name for himself as a master drafter in the later rounds, this was a shocking change of pace.
The Rockets either own the Nets’ picks outright or will have the ability to swap picks if Brooklyn ends up with a higher selection for most of the next decade. The Nets sacrificed depth behind Durant, Harden, and Irving in addition to losing their main method for replacing said depth, which could leave them in a very precarious spot.
However, the Nets have a golden opportunity to pick up a cheap young player that might wiggle his way into Brooklyn’s core for the next half-decade. Despite the Harden trade, this team actually has more picks than they know what to do with.
The Nets own four picks in this draft, giving them more than enough chances to replenish their depth. With the quality at the center position falling off of a cliff after USC’s Evan Mobley at the very top of the draft, Brooklyn should try to get an experienced point guard, of which there are many, to serve as Irving and Harden’s understudy.
Right now, with Harden on the mend, Chris Chiozza is the only true ball-handler behind Irving. This is… not sustainable. Getting one of these three, however, would give the Nets bench a bit more venom while ensuring the rotation doesn’t crumble if Harden or Irving miss extended time.
Who could the Brooklyn Nets draft in 2021?
Gonzaga stud Joel Ayayi might’ve been overshadowed by Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert in their backcourt, but the amount of 6-5 guards with his passing ability and versatility normally don’t end up lasting until this point in the draft. He could hit his stride as a backup in Brooklyn’s up-tempo offense.
Put that early tournament exit out of your mind. Illinois point guard Ayo Dosunmu was unquestionably one of the best offensive players in the country. With his scoring skill and ability to create off of the dribble, Dosunmu could keep the Brooklyn offense rolling without Irving or Harden on the court.
If the Nets get really lucky, Florida’s Tre Mann might be able to slip down to them. Capable of both handling the ball and rising up from deep thanks to his lethal shooting, Mann offers added value as a defender given his height and long arms. Marks should sprint up to the podium if Mann is still there.
The Nets need to take advantage of the dearth of quality centers in this draft by getting an A+ backup and potential Big Three successor with one of their first-round picks. With Houston looming over their drafts in the next few years, Marks needs to hit a home run in the 2021 draft to set Brooklyn up for the future.