Brooklyn Nets fans will have to wait until the end of Round 1 of tonight’s (Thursday) NBA draft, being held at the Barclays Center, the Nets’ home, to hear NBA Commissioner Adam Silver say, “With the 29th pick, the Brooklyn Nets choose …” The NBA champs, the Golden State Warriors hold the 30th pick, closing out the first round.
The Nets, 38-44 this past season, a six-seeded playoff team the season before, struggled mightily to secure the last, eighth playoff seed this season. But to their credit, Brooklyn strongly tested the resolve of the Atlanta Hawks, seeded No. 1, and had several opportunities to upset them in the first round series.
Brooklyn’s pick, 29th, was a deal point negotiated in their trade with Atlanta in July 2012 to acquire forward Joe Johnson, switching from 15th. Brooklyn also has the 41st pick in the second round, numbered 31 through 60.
At the top end of the draft, where blue chip players will be chosen at one, two, three, four, five, etc., are the Minnesota Timberwolves (1), the Los Angeles Lakers (2), the Philadelphia 76ers (3), the New York Knicks (4) and the Orlando Magic (5).
These five teams, and several others, are rewarded for their season’s poor record, that is, 17 wins and 65 losses, in an effort to create and maintain parity throughout the league. They choose first through the lottery from the pool of available college and foreign players who’ve made themselves eligible for this season’s draft.
Top picks are Karl-Anthony Towns (forward/Kentucky), projected to go first; Willie Cauley-Stein (center), also from Kentucky, Willie Cauley-Stein (center), also from Kentucky, Jahill Okafor (center/ Duke); D’Angelo Russell (guard/Ohio State); Justise Winslow (small forward/Duke); and Emmanuel Mudiay, one of the most interesting draftees.
Mudiay, who was born in Zaire in 1996, and immigrated with his family to Texas in 2001, seeking asylum, discovered his talent for basketball in middle school and was rated the second-best recruit in his high school class. Mudiay committed to SMU in 2013, but reconsidered, signing to play one year in China for $1.2 million.