Brooklyn Nets linked to fast-rising UNC center in 2021 NBA Draft

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 11: Day'Ron Sharpe #11 of the North Carolina Tar Heels (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 11: Day'Ron Sharpe #11 of the North Carolina Tar Heels (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets will embark upon a quest to find their next great center this offseason as the lack of production from this spot was a killer for them in the regular season and playoffs.

Could they find their next young sensation in North Carolina center Day’Ron Sharpe?

Sharpe was ranked as the No. 15 player in his recruiting class by 247sports, and he followed up that ranking by averaging 9.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per contest with the Tar Heels in what ended up being Roy Williams’ final season in Chapel Hill.

The scoring might not show it, but he showed off the offensive chops that teams wanted to see.

While Sharpe’s production may not have blown the doors off for NBA scouts, there are still plenty of positive traits to work with and develop. With Brooklyn in need of some muscle down low, drafting Sharpe would make a ton of sense.

While some mock drafts had Brooklyn targeting a point guard like VCU’s Nah’Shon Hyland, Chad Ford (subscription required) claims that there are plenty of rumblings around the league that have linked Sharpe to Brooklyn. With the No. 27 pick in the draft, are the Nets willing to take a gamble on one of the more intriguing bigs in this class?

The Brooklyn Nets could use a center like Day’Ron Sharpe.

Sharpe will likely weigh in at around 260 pounds, and he plays with every bit of strength that would imply. More than just an old-school bruiser, Sharpe has a very nice touch around the basket which could be very attractive for a Nets team that could stand to add a scoring presence on the low block.

Sharpe’s weight doesn’t mean that he’s limited to just dunking and finishing off tip-ins. He is a premium athlete for someone his size, enabling him to run the floor with a great deal of aplomb. In a Brooklyn offense that always has their foot on the gas pedal, that particular trait will serve him well.

Sharpe might not be Hakeem Olajuwon on the defensive end, but he has shown that he is athletic enough to guard both centers and some power forwards. He won’t be an elite shot-blocker on Day 1, but he shouldn’t be a defensive liability, unlike plenty of other centers picked in this range.

What are Day’Ron Sharpe’s flaws?

Sharpe’s biggest flaws right now are related to his offensive game. He was a complete non-factor outside of the paint on the offensive side of the ball. With Brooklyn having suffered through some painful DeAndre Jordan minutes, will Sharpe be enough of a stylistic change?

Sharpe started just four games in college, and he rarely was able to take games over by himself on that end. If the likes of Georgia Tech and North Carolina State were able to limit his effectiveness, what will the Bucks and 76ers be able to do if he has to play extended minutes against them?

Nicolas Claxton will likely see his role increased next season, but the Nets still lack depth at center, as Blake Griffin is a free agent and Jordan was a complete non-factor in the postseason. The Nets should be cautiously optimistic that Sharpe will be able to step right in and be a contributor without having to spend time in the G League.

Sharpe is a bit rough around the edges when you examine his entire game, but he can give the Nets bushels of the very traits that they are missing with regard to how their roster is currently constructed. If the Nets can get Sharpe to shoot and improve his shot-blocking ability, Brooklyn might stumble into a starting center for a half-decade.