Nets Jump Into Second Round of NBA Draft
BROOKLYN — After the first eight picks in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft had been made, Brooklyn Nets G.M. Billy King looked at his big board.
There were seven players available that the Nets coveted. The Minnesota Timberwolves, who King and his staff had been in contact with throughout the night, had the 44th pick.
You do the math: Six picks to go and seven players available.
King turned to assistant GM Frank Zanin and said, ‘Let’s do it.’ Zanin, who was on the phone with a Timberwolves executive quickly sealed a deal, purchasing the pick.
“We’re going to get a player,’’ King said.
Which is exactly what the Nets did.
By buying into the second round, the Nets selected Oklahoma State’s Markel Brown, an uber athletic guard who played in the shadow of Marcus Smart, the sixth player taken overall.
Brown, a former Mr. Basketball in Louisiana, is a 6-3, 190-pounder who doesn’t lack for confidence.
When asked recently by reporters in his hometown of Alexandria if he was fazed by the lack of attention he was getting predraft, Brown displayed the competitiveness that got King’s attention.
"I don't pay attention to the mock drafts," Brown said. "Those mocks, whoever makes them has no clue what's going on on the inside."
Inside the Nets draft room, there were cheers and applause after the Atlanta Hawks used the 43rd pick on center Walter Tavares. That meant the Nets had their man.
Minnesota officials asked the Nets whom they wanted to pick. Brown’s name was called. And for a team with a somewhat clouded backcourt situation, Brown might find a home in Brooklyn.
Deron Williams is coming off surgery on both ankles. And Shaun Livingston is a free agent. The Nets like Jorge Gutierrez and Marcus Thorton has proven they score but isn’t a point guard. Marquis Teague still must win coach Jason Kidd’s confidence.
“He’s a very competitive player,’’ said King. “He goes after it.’’
So does King. The Nets entered the draft without a pick but came away with two players and a third deal pending league approval.
The Nets also bought the 59th pick in the draft from Toronto Raptors and used it on Xavier Thames, the former San Diego State point guard who impressed the Nets in a workout on Wednesday.
Brown and Thames are expected to join the Nets in Orlando for the upcoming summer league.