Predicting the Role Each Nets’ Draft Pick Will Have

The Brooklyn Nets surprised many fans this offseason by using all five of their picks in this year’s draft. The Nets, who are overwhelming favorites to win the title next season, obviously won’t be too focused on player development. Many of the players they drafted in both rounds will find it quite difficult to find any playing time. Head coach Steve Nash even reiterated this recently, by saying “The (rookies) have been in the gym a lot for a few weeks now, and that’s the positive. They worked hard. I think we see NBA players in them, and it’s just a matter of developing them all. It’s a tough team to break into, so some of these rookies have their work cut out for them if they’re going to get in the rotation for sure.”

With a roster as loaded as the Brooklyn Nets, it’s hard to say what role each rookie will have. Today, we will be evaluating each rookie the Nets selected in the 2021 draft and predict what their role may be. Let’s first start with the Summer League MVP:

27th Pick: Cameron Thomas (SG)

Cameron Thomas could be one of the few rookies to actually crack the rotation for the Nets. The 6’5 guard from LSU dominated the Summer League, averaging 27 points per game. Thomas was named co-MVP of the Summer League along with Sacramento’s Davion Mitchell, opening some eyes in the process. Outside of the Harden, Irving, and Mills the Nets don’t have much playmaking at the guard position, so there may be an opportunity for Thomas. Especially if the Nets deal with injuries during the season.

Role Prediction: Fringe-rotation player

29th Pick: Day’Ron Sharpe (PF/C)

Day’Ron Sharpe was acquired by the Nets in the trade that sent Landry Shamet to Phoenix. Sharpe would’ve been an interesting rookie for the Nets this upcoming season, but his role has become more clear due to the recent signings of Paul Millsap and LaMarcus Aldridge. The Nets front-court depth was a big concern going into the offseason, but it seems that is competent for now. If you asked me a month ago what Sharpe’s role would’ve been, I may have said a fringe-rotation player, but it’s clear now that he will spend most of next season in the G-League. (Unless there are injuries of course.)

Role Prediction: End-of-bench, G-League player

44th Pick: Kessler Edwards (SF)

Kessler Edwards is an interesting second-round prospect for the Nets. The 6’7 wing from Pepperdine is the textbook definition of a wing, averaging close to 13 and 7 during his college career, which included 40% from three. He was recently signed to one of Brooklyn’s two-way deals, meaning he will spend most of next season between the NBA and G-League. It is clear Edwards probably won’t get much playing time, but he could stick around for a while with Brooklyn. He projects well for the NBA.

Role Prediction: End-of-bench, G-League player

49th & 59th Picks: Marcus Zegarowski (PG) & RaiQuan Gray (PF)

Marcus Zegarowski and RaiQuan Gray are both interesting rookies for the Nets because neither of them is currently signed to a contract. It’s hard to say if either of them has any sort of future role of the team because the Nets just recently waived 2020 second-round pick, Reggie Perry. Zegarowski and Gray may end up signing G-League contracts or could go overseas as stash players. For now, it seems that neither of these Nets’ late second-round picks has much of a future with the team.

Role prediction: Young players for the future(?)

Undrafted Signing: David Duke Jr. (PG/SG)

David Duke Jr. was quite the surprise for the Nets during the Summer League. Duke after going undrafted out of Providence played gritty Summer League ball for Brooklyn, especially when it came to his defense. The Nets announced that they signed Duke to a contract this summer, but it is unclear what that role will exactly be. There’s still another two-way contract opening for the Nets, so that spot could go to Duke. No matter where he ends up, Duke could transition well to the league as a Bruce Brown-type player.

Role Prediction: Potential two-way, end-of-bench player


While many of the Nets 2021 draft picks may not get much playing time next season, most of them project well for the future. The Nets won’t own their first-round draft pick until 2028, which means most of these players are basically compensation for lack of future picks. Even if we won’t be able to get a good glimpse at these players for a while, getting mentored by some of the all-time greats is always a positive.

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