With the 29th overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, the Brooklyn Nets should look at Maryland’s Kevin Huerter. His three-point shooting and team-first play make him a compelling prospect.
The 2018 NBA Draft is fast approaching, and for just the second year in a row, the Brooklyn Nets will have a first-round draft pick. With that, Kevin Huerter would make for an excellent selection, should they find him available at 29th overall.
After two years playing at the University of Maryland, the shooting guard decided to forego his eligibility and remain in the 2018 NBA Draft. He announced it on both his Twitter and Instagram pages:
— Kevin Huerter (@KevinHuerter) May 30, 2018
For the Brooklyn Nets, three-point shooting is a must for head coach Kenny Atkinson’s fast paced system. The team ranked 20th in three-point percentage last season, yet second in three-pointers made.
Adding an established shooter like Huerter could help blend the grey area in between those two fields. But is there any connection?
Michael Scotto of The Athletic announced on May 20th that Brooklyn was bringing in the former Terrapin for a workout.
The Brooklyn Nets are bringing in Tyus Battle (Syracuse), Kevin Huerter (Maryland), Carson Edwards (Purdue), Jalen McDaniels (San Diego State), DJ Hogg (Texas A&M) and Quinton Rose (Temple) for a group workout today, league sources told The Athletic.
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) May 22, 2018
With that in mind, a look at just what makes Huerter an ideal addition to the youth movement going on in Brooklyn.
At 6-foot-7, the Red Mamba may be the best shooter out of this draft. He finished as the Big Ten’s tenth best shooter in three-point percentage, with a 41.7 clip from behind-the-arc.
Check this performance against Syracuse back in November, where Huerter dropped 23 points and seven three-pointers.
At 6-foot-7 and 195 pounds, Huerter looks like a young Klay Thompson. His quick trigger from deep is relentless, similar to that of the 2017 NBA champion.
Coming out of Washington University, Thompson was 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds. Though he was a more high-volume scorer at 21.6 points per game, he shot only 39 percent from deep his junior season. The similarities are countless.
Despite Huerter’s slim frame, he’s proved a reliable presence on the glass, especially for a shooting guard. He averaged five rebounds his sophomore season and grabbed a season-high 15 in a December win over Fairleigh Dickinson University.
The best part about this kid?
Despite his ability to drop a shot from nearly anywhere on the court, he’s always looking to make the extra pass and earn his teammates a bucket.
Huerter is as much a team player as they come, and that mentality would be more than welcome in Brooklyn’s young locker room.
Huerter is a sure-fire first-round draft pick, but like every player coming out of college, has his downsides.
His physicality is what would make me most cautious as an NBA GM. While the former Terrapin moves well down the lane, he attempted only 3.1 free throws per game this past season.
As an athlete, he hasn’t proved explosive beyond the nights where catches fire from deep. And similar to most younger guys, he’s going to need to fill out that frame, if he’s going to build off his already established defensive potential.
Brooklyn’s 2017 first-round pick, Jarrett Allen, learned that the hard way this season.
Beyond that, he did average 2.5 turnovers per game, though that’s not incredibly low nor high for a college guard. Improve the ball handling, feed the man, and he’s looking like one of the better prospects in this year’s draft class.
Now, while it’s fun to fantasize that Huerter will be around when Brooklyn gets on the board at 29, it’s also slightly unrealistic. Still, the draft is fairly unpredictable at times, and it only takes one player sliding to throw the entire class in a spiral.
In CBS Sports’ latest mock draft, Matt Norlander has Huerter going 21st overall to the Chicago Bulls. Joe Tansey of Bleacher Report had him falling to the Los Angeles Lakers at 25th.
Nearly every mock draft has Huerter falling in the mid-20s, just out of Brooklyn’s grasp. Rightfully so, as he’s viewed as an immediate impact prospect.
If general manager Sean Marks is in love with the kid and views him as a true steal, a draft day trade is not out of the question.
Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles all have multiple first-rounders. In addition, the Denver Nuggets are reportedly shopping their first-rounder.
Kevin Huerter is undoubtedly a first-round talent with a three-point cannon and the potential to immediately influence a young team like the Brooklyn Nets. Should he be on the board at 29, he should be selected with next-to-no hesitation.