Bulls Welcome to the 2000 Usenet Mock NBA Draft.  The first pick belongs to the New Jersey Nets.  Their Net GM is:  Curtis Hill.  With the first pick, the Nets select

Stromile Swift, PF, 6'8" LSU


The New Jersey Nets, after many years of tireless yet fruitless effort to pass the Los Angeles Clippers as the worst franchise in the NBA, have given up the quest. It is a sad day. OK, maybe it isn't a sad day, at least not for Nets fans. In the past year, the new YankeesNets corporation has purchased the team. While one cannot guarantee that the YankeesNets will make the Nets as successful as the Yankees, you can expect the corporation to back the effort with resources and direction. These two qualities seemed to be lacking with the Nets since about 1977. A sign of that the YankeesNets are serious about making the Nets winners came in just the past week, when Rod Thorn was lured away from the NBA front office to run the struggling Nets basketball operations. While one cannot blame the Nets' problems with just one piece of the front office, a fresh start with a quality president of basketball operations is a good place to start. I think the Nets were wise to turn down the advances of John Thompson (and David Falk) to run the team. Thorn is a respected, tested NBA veteran who will bring the club much needed respect around the league. However, while Thorn does not inherit a team with a complete dearth of talent, the Nets have problems. The current roster is not loaded with superstar talent and, more importantly, the team needs to do a better job of retaining their own free agents and convincing free agents to sign with the team. Thorn should be able to help on these fronts.

Current Team Roster/Status

24Scott BurrellSF6-721801/12/19717Connecticut
11Sherman DouglasPG6-119809/15/196611Syracuse
0Evan EschmeyerC6-1125505/30/1975RNorthwestern
14Jamie FeickFC6-825507/03/19744Michigan State
13Kendall GillGF6-521005/25/196810Illinois
12Lucious HarrisG6-521012/18/19707Long Beach State
30xKerry KittlesSG6-519006/12/19744Villanova
33Stephon MarburyPG6-218002/20/19774Georgia Tech
22Jim McIlvaineC7-126407/30/19726Marquette
77Gheorghe MuresanC7-730302/14/19716Cluj (Romania)
20Johnny NewmanSF6-721011/28/196314Richmond
1Elliot PerryPG6-015203/28/19698Memphis State
44Keith Van HornPF6-1025010/23/19753Utah
55xJayson WilliamsFC6-1024502/22/196810St. John's (NY)

x - Injured List

Head Coach: Vacant

Stephon Marbury74288122.23.28.461-179-24062211215270195
Keith Van Horn80278219.28.42.0200-476-6761586460245258
Kendall Gill76235513.13.72.882-201-2832101394189211
Kerry Kittles62189613.03.62.346-179-225142791956120
Johnny Newman82176310.01.90.839-115-15465531189207
Lucious Harris7715106.72.41.353-134-1871006564298
Scott Burrell7413366.13.51.065-191-25672674438173
Sherman Douglas203096.01.51.713-16-29341702426
Jamie Feick8122415.79.30.8264-491-75568433859206
Elliot Perry608035.31.02.313-48-611393916047
Gheorghe Muresan302673.52.30.324-44-6890121651
Evan Eschmeyer313732.93.50.740-68-108218212184
Jim Mcilvaine6610482.43.50.6106-124-230362611738205
Michael Cage202421.44.10.533-48-81988430
Mark Hendrickson15740.90.90.43-10-1362138
Van Horn559-1257.44584-228.368333-393.847153532
G Muresan41-90.4560-0.00023-38.60510512
Cage12-24.5000-0.000 3-31.000276


The NBA salary cap is 34 million dollars. The Nets will get some degree of cap relief if Williams retires due to his injuries. However, full relief may not be forthcoming until the 2001 season.

New Jersey NetsTotal$52,735,461
Jayson Williams...............12,375,000
Stephon Marbury...............9,000,000
Kerry Kittles.................7,166,666
Kendall Gill..................5,600,000
Jim McIlvaine.................4,800,000
Keith Van Horn................3,451,920
Jamie Feick...................2,000,000
Elliot Perry..................2,000,000
Lucious Harris................1,920,000
Johnny Newman.................1,100,000
Scott Burrell.................1,000,000
Sherman Douglas...............1,000,000
Michael Cage..................510,000[released 2/00, min. $1,000,000]
Jack Haley....................510,000[completed contract*]
Gheorghe Muresan..............510,000[minimum $572,500]
Evan Eschmeyer................301,875

Current Team FA Status

Free agents: Scott Burrell, Sherman Douglas, Kendall Gill, Gheorghe Muresan, Johnny Newman, Elliot Perry

Current Team/Player Breakdown


Stephon Marbury -- certainly the franchise for the Nets. Fortunately for the Nets, the Knicks didn't have the cap room for Marbury when he wanted out of Minnesota and the Nets lucked into the best player they've had in a while. However, this is not to say Marbury is perfect. He needs to learn to work and play well with others if he's going to be a point guard that leads the Nets to the NBA elite. Also, he's got to play better defense.

Lucious Harris -- a solid backup 1/2 guard. He's a good, solid NBA combo guard, he's not a FA, and the price is right. Unless he's traded, Lucious should be with the Nets next season and getting good PT.

Elliot Perry -- a nice backup NBA point guard. He's a FA and I'm not sure that the Nets need two backup point guards. He's also 2M in cap room, so I suspect Elliot will have a new address next season.

Sherman Douglas -- Sherman might have a year left in the NBA, but with his salary, it probably won't be with the Nets.

Kerry Kittles -- Kerry seems to be recovering well from surgery. He's a solid starting NBA shooting guard who is better than anyone the Nets are likely to get from the draft or the FA market -- this year.

Forwards/Swing Forwards

Kendall Gill -- Kendall's probably in the twilight of his career. His shooting is not getting any better. Unless he really wants to stay with the Nets and take a salary cut, he'll be moving on in the FA market. I'm not sure what the market will be for Kendall, but the Nets would love the cap room.

Scott Burrell -- another FA. I've always liked Burrell, but he's had a heck of run with injuries over his NBA career. I'm not sure if he'll get much more than the 1 million exception with the Nets or anyone else at this time.

Keith Van Horn -- another of the Nets franchise players. There's definitely a love/hate relationship between Van Horn and the Nets fans. However, Keith had a solid offensive season and when he's playing well he can be a very difficult player to stop. It would be nice if Keith would improve on defense and rebounding, of course, but consistent offensive output would make him a very valuable team member.

Johnny Newman -- Johnny's still in the league? Yup, and playing pretty well. I'm not aware that any other team is really interested in him as a FA, but the Nets would do well to try and re-sign Newman if the price is right.

Jamie Feick -- a gritty player that I've always liked. He gives the coaching staff a player who will do some dirty work and give a solid, consistent effort every night.

Jayson Williams -- a great rebounding forward and witty guy whom, tragically, may be at the end of his NBA career.

Centers/Post Players

Evan Eschmeyer -- hey, the price is right for a backup center.

Gheorghe Muresan -- hey, the price is right for a backup center! Actually, it might be worth keeping Gheorghe around to see if he has anything left. An intriguing player who just isn't very consistent on the court.

Jim McIlvaine -- a very expensive shot blocker. I'm not sure the Nets can even move Jim.

Michael Cage (cut)

Jack Haley (paid to surf)

Mark Hendrickson -- signed a couple of 10 days at the end of the season. I really don't have any idea if the Nets plan on keeping Hendrickson around or not.

Future Direction

Well, there's plenty of work to do. The Nets have a decent nucleus to build around with Marbury, Van Horn, and Kittles. I think the important thing to understand is that the Nets can't be turned around in a short time without some help from other teams. I don't think that will be happening. What the Nets need is more good players. Who those players are may have a lot to do with who Rod Thorn hires as the new head coach. Certainly Nets fans can wish for a miracle -- that Tim Duncan or Grant Hill would sign with the Nets. Well, due to the cap, it would have to be a sign and trade, but you get the point. Ain't gonna happen. Rod Thorn brings respect to the Nets, but not that much respect. I suppose if the Nets hired Dave Odom to coach the Nets, maybe Duncan would at least listen to them. But let's just get this wishful thinking out of our minds. Until the Nets show improvement in all areas, from the front office on down, players and agents aren't going to give the Nets much respect. The best thing to do is make the best of this draft, understand you'll have another good pick next season, not to mention a chance to land free agents, and point to the 2001-2002 season for significant improvement. Clearly, the Nets need help inside -- rebounding, shot blocking, and defense.

Draft Options

When you're #1, all of your options are open. We can focus on The Big Four plus One: Chris Mihm, Marcus Fizer, Stromile Swift, Kenyon Martin, and Darius Miles.

Chris Mihm, Texas, 7', 265 -- well, Chris might not be 7', but he's a solid inside player...in college. I don't project Mihm being much of a factor in the NBA -- at least not early and never at a superstar level. I think there are about 6 or 7 players to take ahead of Mihm in this draft.

Marcus Fizer, Iowa St., 6'6", 235 -- a motivated, strong, tough combination (NBA) forward. I see Fizer as having a promising NBA career. Never a superstar, but a tough competitor other players respect and like to have on their team (Charles Oakley, Brian Grant). He wouldn't be the worst pick the Nets could make, though his recent measurement at Chicago might give some teams pause.

Stromile Swift, LSU, 6'9", 230 -- a very quick, talented, athletic forward. I think Swift could be a very, very good NBA player. He can score, rebound, block shots, and run. Some may think that the Nets already have overlap with Van Horn, but there's no reason you couldn't play Swift and Van Horn at the same time. I think Swift could play PF allowing Van Horn to play the SF spot.

Kenyon Martin, Cincinnati, 6'8", 230 -- a tough competitor ala Fizer. He's heady and can score when he needs to and he appears to be a good leader. However, the ankle injury he suffered makes taking him #1 a bit risky. I don't have access to the doctor's reports the teams will have, and without that I have concerns.

Darius Miles, HS, 6'8", 190 -- an intriguing talent who could turn out to be a NBA superstar. And when you have the #1 pick, you want to get a very good player. However, there are a lot of unknowns with Miles and the Nets would have to be willing to work hard with Miles to see that he improves and reaches his potential.

Draft Pick

I'm taking the following into consideration in making this pick:

  1. With the #1 pick, you need to try to get a player that will be very good down the road
  2. Next year's draft will be very deep at center. Along with Loren Woods and Brendan Haywood, HS player Eric Curry will likely be in the draft. That's three solid to very good NBA centers that the Nets will have a chance to get next season. And who knows who else may enter the draft?

With that thinking, I eliminate Mihm, Fizer, and Martin, leaving Swift and Miles. (If Martin hadn't been injured, he'd be with these three.) Between Swift and Miles, I have to go with Swift's (limited) collegiate experience. He's stronger, more mature, taller, and provides the Nets some help on the inside. Maybe Miles will be a superstar, maybe not. Swift has shown me enough to make me believe he can be a star in the NBA. With their second pick, the Nets can cherry pick for another inside player or take a flyer on a player at any other position. It's really hard to predict who might be available then and the Nets should go for the best player available.

What will the Nets do?

Thorn will likely make very solid, but not risky, choices. I think Thorn would rather be really good for several years but have it take a little longer. The Nets aren't that close to being really good. So I don't think you'll see any youth-for-veterans trades or any other rash, risky moves. I think if they can get a good deal with Van Horn they would take it, but it would have to be a good trade. And, of course, if they could move McIlvaine they would in a heartbeat. A lot may depend on the resolution of the Jayson Williams situation. One would think that with Thorn running the show, the Nets would get a fair shake from the league on salary cap relief. I would think that Thorn will go for the best player he can get in this draft and point toward another good pick and a good FA after next season. As far as this year's draft, the Nets will either draft Martin or Swift.

Craig Simpson - Usenet Draft Commissioner
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