The Nets would've been looking at the likes of Derrick Williams, Enes Kanter and Brandon Knight had they kept their first-round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft -- but they liked All-Star point guard Deron Williams too much.
The Nets mortgaged their future -- including the No. 3 pick in this year's draft -- to acquire Williams in a blockbuster trade with the Jazz.
New Jersey, however, does have the 27th pick -- courtesy of the Lakers -- and the 36th pick. Of course, don't be surprised if Billy King, a general manager notorious for draft-night dealing, tries to package those selections to move up.
King orchestrated seven draft-night trades in 11 draft when he was the GM of the 76ers.
Given where they select, the Nets have been linked to a myriad of players. Here's what the mock drafts look like:
ESPN.com’s Chad Ford (Insider)
27. Reggie Jackson, PG, Boston College
Ford's analysis: Jackson hasn't done any workouts, has a knee injury and isn't sharing his medical records. Why would the Nets take a player like that? Well, they, along with a lot of NBA teams, believe another team has shut down Jackson's workouts with a promise to draft him.
That shouldn't stop the Nets from grabbing Jackson anyway. Yes, they have Deron Williams. But he's not a sure thing to stay in New Jersey after next season. Even if he does, Jackson would be a terrific backup and could play off the ball in certain situations.
Had he not had a knee injury just as the draft prep began, he could have gone much higher. Norris Cole, Justin Harper, Josh Selby and Chandler Parsons also are possibilities.
36. Bojan Bogdanovic, SF, Serbia
Ford's analysis: Bogdanovic was the second-leading scorer in the Euroleague this year. If he could come to the U.S. this year or next, he'd likely be a first-round pick. In the second round, he's a steal.
Yahoo.com’s Jonathan Givony (Draft Express)
27. Chandler Parsons, SF, Florida
Givony's analysis: Parsons has seen his stock rise significantly over the past few weeks thanks to some impressive workouts. Standing 6-10, he's one of the most polished and versatile players in the draft, capable of playing as many as three positions. The Nets are fairly weak at small forward and could use another ball-handler capable of passing and making shots from the perimeter.
NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper
27. Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia
Howard-Cooper's analysis: Thompkins is dropping fast after showing up to the Chicago pre-draft camp out of shape and continuing to exhibit poor conditioning as he toured for individual workouts. A lot of heads are shaking around front offices. But he plays smart and has a skill set that is impossible to deny.
36. Tobias Harris, SF, Tennessee
Howard-Cooper’s analysis: The question is whether he has the athleticism to play small forward, his pro position after playing a lot of power forward in college. Harris is just 18 years old, so he has time to make the adjustment, and he already has a good feel for the game and a nice offensive attack.
27. Davis Bertans, PF, Latvia
Analysis: Bertans showed he can be a big-time shooter at the Nike Hoop Summit and adidas Eurocamp. At age, 18, he’s worth taking a flier on and seeing what he can accomplish after another year or two in Europe.
36: Josh Shelby PG/SG, Kansas
Analysis: If Selby falls this far in the draft, he's a steal here. There's nothing to lose and terrific upside.
Mazzeo’s thoughts: Let’s face it: The Nets have a lot of question marks. And that’s if there's a season to begin with. Brook Lopez and Williams will be coming off offseason surgeries. Williams is a free agent-to-be. Kris Humphries still has to be re-signed. Travis Outlaw ... well, who knows. The bench is thin.
Then again, a full season of a healthy D-Will should make the Nets a borderline playoff team in the East. And anybody who's anybody knows they’re going to need to have a successful season to convince Williams to be the face of the franchise as the Nets bolt for Brooklyn in 2012-13.
That said, given where the Nets sit in the draft, they’re either going to have to make a move to move up, or settle for whatever’s available.
If they end up waiting, I think they should take a flier on a Jeremy Tyler or a Selby, both guys that were once touted as sure-fire lottery picks in their high school days. That is, if they're available.
Tyler would give the Nets athleticism and toughness up front, while Selby brings the ability to create his own shot -- a skill only Williams -- and to some extent Anthony Morrow -- possess.
Small forward sticks out as the Nets' greatest need -- and a guy like Parsons fits the bill -- yet I think they should go after the best player available -- even if that player is a point guard like D-Will.
King, I'm sure, will look to package the Nets' two picks to move up. If that doesn't happen, then I don't see why it wouldn't be smart to take a chance on one of these guys with a high ceiling. The worst thing that happens is you end up with a bust in the latter half of what is projected to be a weak draft.
And to that I say, big deal.
We always talk about teams having to get picks "right." That doesn't have to be the case here.
Anyway, if you were King, who would you take? Why?