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DRAFT WATCH #1: Draft strength is Nets strength, too

Nets scouts —three of them, according to reports— were at the Murray State vs. Auburn game in Alabama Saturday, no doubt to take a look at Ja Morant, the 6’3” Murray guard who many think is the top point guard in the country.

He’s also the player most associated with the Nets in recent mock drafts. He’s a fast-riser who’s likely to jump again after he finished with 25 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in the Racers’ 93-88 loss to the seventh-ranked Tigers. (The Nets could also been been looking at Chuma Okeke, who some think would be ideal for the Nuggets pick later in the Draft. He’s a 6’8” forward from Auburn who had 17 and five in that game.)

Here’s some highlights…

It’s hard —well nigh impossible, actually— to project where the Nets will pick in the June 20 draft. Right now, they are in the 10th spot, but are only one game out of the playoffs which would mean no lottery pick, no anxiety the night of May 14, the draft lottery.

This year’s draft is seen as generally week, but strong up top … with many of the best picks guards, the area where the Nets are strongest. Still, the Nets are in talent acquisition mode and will likely take the best players available, particularly up top.

Our usual caveats: The mocks listed below are in some cases pure mocks, in other cases more general top 100 lists. They were published over the past two weeks. Each is the latest compilation published by sites listed. We are a long way away, but, why not take a look at what the draftniks think this early.

10. Ja Morant, 6’3” PG, Murray State, sophomore

27. Luka Samanic, 6’11” PF, Olimpija Ljubljana, 18 years old

35. Charles Matthews, 6’6” SG, Michigan, senior

7. Ja Morant, 6’3” PG, Murray State, sophomore

28. Chuma Okeke, 6’8” SF, Auburn, sophomore

35. Zach Norvell Jr., 6’5” SG, sophomore, Gonzaga

10. Ja Morant, 6’3” PG, Murray State, sophomore

27. Ignas Brazdeikis, 6’7” SF, Michigan, freshman

35. Tre Jones, 6’3” PG, Duke, freshman

10. Rui Hachimura, 6’8” PF, Gonzaga, junior

27. Louis King, 6’9” SF, Oregon, freshman

35. Carsen Edwards, 6’1” G, Purdue, junior

10. Jarrett Culver, 6’5” SG, Texas Tech, sophomore

28. Ignas Brazdeikis, 6’7” SF, Michigan, freshman

34. P.J. Washington, 6’9” PF, Kentucky, sophomore

10. Darius Garland, 6’2” PG, Vanderbilt, freshman

23. Jontay Porter, 6’11” PF, Missouri, sophomore

6. Romeo Langford, 6’6” SG, Indiana, freshman

23. Jaylen Hoard, 6’8 SF/PF, Wake Forest, freshman

As for tanking, it’s increasingly unlikely. Not just because of the Nets winning ways, but under the new lottery rules, the three teams with the worst record have an equal chance at the overall No. 1, likely to be Zion Williamson. There are currently three teams with eight wins, all well behind the 16-win Nets. As Brian Lewis tweeted Sunday come April…

Finally, what’s the consensus for picks 10, 27 and 35 if indeed that’s where the Nets pick?

Hoopshype reports, after scouring the mocks, that it’s Sekou Doumboya, the French big man, at No. 10; Duke PG Tre Jones, at No. 27, and Darius Bazley, the 6’9” Ohio high school player who’s working out on his own this year, at No. 35.

ALL that said, the Nets draft picture comes down to, “In Marks, We Trust.” Worked so far.



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