Although they may trade into the first round, as it currently stands the Brooklyn Nets first and only pick in the draft will be with the 57th pick. Rarely do stars come from beyond the lottery, but Ramon Sessions, Semih Erden, Lester Hudson, and Isaiah Thomas have all been taken in the within the last five picks of drafts since 2007. Manu Ginobili and Marcin Gortat were both selected with the 57th pick, so there is hope the Nets select a player who will produce next season and beyond. Given Billy King’s successful draft last season, it is possible the Nets get lucky again with a quality player late in the draft. Today, I’ll look at two college players who could be good fits with the Nets and tomorrow I’ll cover two Euro stashes (guys who will not be in the NBA next year) that the Nets could select.
Kevin Murphy- A 6-6 small forward from Tennessee Tech, Kevin Murphy was relatively unknown in his four years as a Golden Eagle, but has shot up draft boards with a spectacular senior season and a good showing at the Nets combine. He is one of the best long-range shooters in the draft and showed an ability to score at will in the weak Ohio Valley Conference. But, against Murray State, the only tough competition the small forward had this season, Murphy averaged 25.3 points and shooting 48.8 percent from beyond the arc in three games against the Racers. He has Anthony-Randolph-like thinness (if that’s even a word), but is not being drafted for his physical defense. Like MarShon Brooks, Murphy was a senior on a poor team (though Brooks faced much tougher competition in the Big East) and led his team in scoring by a wide margin. With the entire roster in flux this offseason, the Nets need help at every position, and Murphy could give the Nets instant offense off the bench. Few players in the draft possess his combination of athleticism and shooting ability, and for a small forward he has good size. If he competed well in the Nets Combine and other workouts against draft prospect (which it appears he has), then Kevin Murphy should be at the top of the Nets board when the 57th pick rolls around. There is a very good chance he won’t be there, many mock drafts have Murphy as an early second round pick, but if he is available the Nets should think long and hard about drafting him. With his incredible three point shooting, Murphy’s floor is very high and he possesses many offensive gifts that could make him a steal in the late second-round.
Casper Ware- I’ve irrationally loved Casper Ware since I saw him flying around in those awesome Long Beach State jerseys during the Big West Tournament. Like Isaiah Thomas, he is an undersized point guard who scored at will in college. He scored 28 points on 10-18 from the field when facing fellow second round prospect Ashton Gibbs, and lit up North Carolina for 29 points. No one doubts his ability and skill, and he can, and will, take shots from anywhere on the floor. Keeping the Isaiah Thomas comparisons going, he is an excellent athlete despite being so small, and can handle the ball as well as he can shoot it. At the Nets combine, he looked extremely fast and was a cagey defender, something that is impressive to be said of a 5-11 point guard.
The sub- 6-foot measurement is what will keep Casper Ware from going high in the draft. Teams, understandably so, do not like drafting tiny point guards. But, Casper Ware can use his speed to negate the size difference he may have with bigger point guards, and can use his exceptional shooting to avoid driving into the lane where he will be simply overpowered. Hopefully, the Nets have Deron Williams playing most of the point guard minutes next season, with Jordan Farmar as the backup. But, Ware can be used in a Sundiata Gaines type role, playing 8-10 minutes a game and try to make an impact with his quick feet and incredible range. At 57, getting a quality backup point guard and an X-Factor in a JJ Barea type of way would be highway robbery for the Brooklyn Nets.