The Nets’ Draft Prospects

The Brooklyn Nets have two picks in the upcoming draft and they have a chance to swing for the fences with both picks.

The Nets are in a precarious position when it comes to the 2015 draft. Picking at twenty nine in a draft shallow talent wise makes things difficult for a team low on talent. Unless they trade the pick (which is entirely possible, post-draft night) the Nets should make a splash with both of their picks by taking two high-risk/high-reward prospects.

With their first round pick the Nets should seriously consider taking Robert Upshaw out of Washington. He’s surrounded by question marks regarding his off the court behavior in college. After getting kicked out of two schools in two years those question marks are deserved, but there’s not one doubt in my mind that Lionel Hollins could help turn him around. Coach Hollins was influential in Zach Randolph turning around his career and becoming the player he is in Memphis, today.

Upshaw is a top-15 prospect, but his off the court issues knocked him back. His measurements at the draft combine in Chicago were what woke people up to the idea that Upshaw was a first round pick. In shoes Upshaw measured 7’0″ tall, with a wingspan of 7’5.5″, a standing reach of 9’5″ and a hand size of 10″ by 11″.

Combining his stunning measurements with his athleticism and defensive smarts netted Upshaw 4.5 blocks per game at Washington. I think he has potential to be a Roy Hibbert-like defensive game changer. He’s a good post defender and can block any shot around the rim. Given Hollins’s history as a defensive coach he could be able to maximize Upshaw’s talents to the fullest extent.

His offensive game is limited as of right now, but with work it could be something. In college many of his points were off of offensive rebounds and alley-oops. His post game has shown flashes of brilliance, but is wracked with inconsistencies.

George De Paula is the most interesting talent projected to be taken in the second round of the draft. And he will absolutely be in play when the Nets come up on the clock.

I think De Paula is the most interesting project in the draft. The 19 year old Brazilan is a 6’6″ point guard with a 7’0″ wing span and a 8’8″ standing reach. He’s already strong, but is going to fill out more. All of this could make him a force on the defensive end. Long arms and big hands make for broken up passing lanes and disrupting dribbles.

The young guard has a flair for passing the ball and a nice handle. When he’s being aggressive, which is a problem for defenses, he’s creative with the ball and can send it all over the court with his impressive court vision. His offensive game is hindered by his lack of a jump shot, though, as he shot sub-30 percent in his last season.

Much like his former teammate Bruno Caboclo (now a Toronto Raptor) he is a few years away from being an NBA player, but he has so much potential. The Nets could cultivate his talent and I think he could turn into something.

The combination of the two would give Brooklyn something they haven’t had since the drafting of Brook Lopez. Two young players full of potential are exactly what the Nets need going forward. It’s talent that has a chance of developing into something. Both are risks, but the Nets have to start taking risks if they are going to get out of the rut they are in.