The Brooklyn Nets finished the 2016-17 NBA season with the worst record at 20-62. It was no surprise that the team played bad but they showed some life in the final two months of the season. The Nets are using that final couple of months to try and lure stars from Europe this summer.
Nets general manager Sean Marks has made the trip to different parts of Europe since November last year as he scouts several Euroleague stars. He recently visited again, this time bringing head coach Kenny Atkinson with him.
According to Nets Daily, the franchise wants to add some international flavor to the team rather than spend it on top names in the free agent market. The Nets are in a difficult position since they cannot rebuild because of the lack of draft picks. They can only build the best team they can make and hope that they can be competitive next season.
Milos Teodosic has been linked with the Nets the most and he is considered by many as the best player not in the NBA. He is a 30-year-old point guard that has one of the best playmaking skills in the world. He could be a great player alongside Jeremy Lin and they can wreak havoc next season.
Other players that the Nets scouted include Nicolo Melli, Edwin Jackson, Facundo Campazzo, Tyler Honeycutt, Brad Wanamaker, Stefan Jovic, Thomas Huertel, Willy Clyburn, Daniel Theis and Shayne Whittington. These players all have the potential to be good role players in the NBA and they want to benefit from the rising salary cap.
Melli is an Italian power forward that can shoot threes and stretch the floor. He has garnered interest from other NBA teams since he is the prototypical power forward for today's offense in the league. Jackson, on the other hand, is the best scorer in Europe this year while Campazzo is an undersized point guard with heart and tenacity.
Honeycutt is a former UCLA star and NBA player that revitalized his career in Europe. He is interested in returning to the United States and he could get several offers from teams like the Nets. Wanamaker is a combo guard like Jackson and he has garnered interest from the Philadelphia 76ers.
Jovic is a younger version of Teodosic and he is an ideal insurance for Lin, who missed 46 games for the Nets last season. Huertel is another point guard that could provide insurance but he is also undersized. Clyburn and Theis are both small forwards who can score while Whittington is another former NBA player who improved his game away from home.
Obviously, the Nets cannot sign all of this players but the front office is scouting the best players. The will surely have competitions from other NBA teams but the Nets boast the second-biggest salary cap this summer. Brooklyn can also guarantee them of playing time because Lin and Lopez are the only sure-fire starters next season.
As for the first round pick this year, the Nets have the 24th overall selection and they have set their sights on three international players - Anzejus Pasecniks, Rodions Kurucs and Mathias Lessort. In an interview with The Glue Guys, international hoops writer David Pick believes that Nets will select Pasecniks because of his likeness with New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis.
"This kid had 24 and 7 in 21 minutes. He shot 11-of-13 from the field. He was dunking over people. He was spreading out and shooting three's. He gave a ball handoff, curled, faked a pick-and-roll and ran back for the alley oop," Pick said.
"He's so smart and you see a lot of shades of Porzingis obviously because they are good friends and they talk a lot. They play for the same national team. He's climbing. He's climbing a lot. I think he was projected early second. I think he's probably first round now. There's no doubt in my mind," he added.