Wednesday, October 4 2023
South Carolina forward Gregory

South Carolina forward Gregory “GG” Jackson II (23) attempts a shot past Tennessee guard Santiago Vescovi (25). / Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Entering the 2022-23 NBA season, the Nets looked like serious contenders in the Eastern Conference and a team with decent odds to make the NBA Finals. Then nearly everything went sideways.

Head coach Steve Nash was fired within the season’s first two weeks. Jacque Vaughn took over and righted the ship and had the Nets in the thick of the playoff race come February. But Kyrie Irving, who was suspended following an incident involving the promotion of an antisemitic film and a non-apology early in the season, was traded to the Dallas Mavericks after negotiations on a contract extension fell through. The Nets received Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and three picks.

Then Kevin Durant was dealt to the Phoenix Suns in a four-team deal that netted Brooklyn forwards Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, and six draft picks, including the Suns’ 2023 first-round pick.

The fully remade Nets finished the year 45-37 with the sixth seed in the East before they were swept out of the playoffs by Philadelphia.

This sets up Nets GM Sean Marks to work with the No. 21 (via Phoenix) and No. 22 overall selections in the 2023 NBA Draft. Here is who the early projections see coming to Brooklyn in the draft.

Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report

No. 21: PG/SG Jalen Hood-Schifino (Indiana)

Info: 19 years old, 6-foot-6, 215 pounds

Brooklyn could pair Dinwiddie with another wing-sized ball-handler in Hood-Schifino, whose NBA fanbase gradually grew with his budding flashes of pull-up shot-making and flashy passes. He’ll get looks earlier than this in the late lottery and teens.

No. 22: SF Bilal Coulibaly (Metropolitans 92)

Info: 18 years old, 6-foot-6, 230 pounds

With two first-round picks, the Nets could use one to swing for the fences on Coulibaly. The 18-year-old explosive leaper and shot-maker often popped next to Victor Wembanyama.

NBA G League Ignite forward Leonard Miller (11) controls the ball against Motor City Cruise forward Devontae Cacok (12).NBA G League Ignite forward Leonard Miller (11) controls the ball against Motor City Cruise forward Devontae Cacok (12).

NBA G League Ignite forward Leonard Miller (11) controls the ball against Motor City Cruise forward Devontae Cacok (12). / Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Boone, CBS Sports

No. 21: SF Brice Sensabaugh (Ohio State)

Info: 19 years old, 6-foot-6, 235 pounds

As a four-star prospect ranked 85th in his class, Sensabaugh wasn’t even on the one-and-done radar entering the season. But his production with Ohio State is tough to ignore. Uses his big frame well and smashed in his role as a rotation piece hitting 40.5% of his 3-pointers on the year.

No. 22: SF Leonard Miller (G League Ignite)

Info: 19 years old, 6-foot-9, 195 pounds

Miller tested the NBA Draft waters and had some first-round buzz before ultimately withdrawing and committing to the G League Ignite. Now he’s built upon that momentum as a scorer and rebounder who, while still a tad raw, has the physical tools and size to warrant mid-to-late lottery consideration.

Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer

No. 21: PG/SG Jalen Hood-Schifino (Indiana)

Info: 19 years old, 6-foot-6, 215 pounds

Depending on how the board falls, the Nets might prefer to package their back-to-back firsts to move up for a player they covet. But if they stay put, it’d make sense to nab a point guard like Hood-Schifino and let him grow behind Dinwiddie. Hood-Schifino is a gritty defender who can run the offense when he’s the lone guard on the floor.

No. 22: G SF G.G. Jackson (South Carolina)

Info: 18 years old, 6-foot-9, 215 pounds

Ask around the league and you get mixed reviews on Jackson. Some scouts love him. Others think the youngest prospect in the draft isn’t worth the risk considering his raw ability. But his size and on-ball scoring flashes make him worth a big swing for a team with multiple firsts. The Nets already have so much young talent spread across the roster that they can afford to take a risk on a player who was originally ranked first in next year’s class.

Krysten Peek, Yahoo Sports

No. 21: SF Leonard Miller (G League Ignite)

Info: 19 years old, 6-foot-9, 195 pounds

At just 19 years old, Miller is averaging a double-double (17 points and 10 rebounds) in the G League against former professionals and players much older than him. He will need to improve as a shooter, but Miller has the tools to be an impact player at the next level with his 7-2 wingspan.

No. 22: G SF G.G. Jackson (South Carolina)

Info: 18 years old, 6-foot-9, 215 pounds

The Nets have been successful developing young, raw players in the past like Cam Thomas, who in his third season became the youngest player in NBA history to score 40-plus points in three consecutive games. Jackson is one of the youngest players in this draft class, after reclassifying up a grade and committing to South Carolina a year earlier. He shows good upside as a rim protector and has a solid midrange game, averaging 15.4 points and 5.9 rebounds during his freshman year.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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