- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Brooklyn Nets were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by the Atlanta Hawks.
To make matters even worse, the Nets had to swap first-round picks with the Hawks in 2015 as part of an agreement the two teams made when Brooklyn acquired Joe Johnson from Atlanta in the summer of 2012.
Therefore, instead of drafting at No. 15 on June 25, the Nets will be drafting at No. 29.
At that spot, ESPN insider Chad Ford has Brooklyn taking Louisville combo guard Terry Rozier in his latest mock draft.
Ford writes that Rozier could bring toughness and strong defense to Brooklyn. Plus, point guards Deron Williams (two years, $43 million remaining on his contract, unless he opts out in the summer of 2016) and Jarrett Jack (two years, $12.6 million remaining on his contract with a $500,000 partial guarantee for 2016-17) are not expected to be with the team long-term.
The hope would be that Rozier could eventually develop into a solid rotational floor general.
Ford also lists LSU forward Jarell Martin and Kansas forward Cliff Alexander as possibilities.
The Nets interviewed point guards Jerian Grant (Notre Dame) and Delon Wright (Utah) at the combine, but Ford projects both to be off the board before Brooklyn picks. Ford has Grant going to the Toronto Raptors at No. 20 and Wright going to the Chicago Bulls at No. 22.
Given Nets GM Billy King’s affinity for trying to make moves on draft night, don’t be surprised if Brooklyn tries to trade up or acquire additional picks.
King has said the Nets will take the best player available. They need help everywhere.
Historically, it has been difficult to find real impact players this late in the draft. It’s up to Brooklyn’s scouting department to identity a player that can be a long-term contributor for this team moving forward.
And in case you’ve forgotten -- you probably haven't -- The Nets owe their 2016 and 2018 unprotected firsts to Boston, while the Celtics also have the right to swap firsts with Brooklyn in 2017 (Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade).