Brooklyn Nets Kevin Durant
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

ESNY put together the unofficially official list of the Brooklyn Nets based on the quality of their high school mixtape.

Danny Small

NBA news is non-stop coronavirus coverage and the Brooklyn Nets find themselves right in the middle of it all. Four Nets tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday with superstar Kevin Durant being among that group.

A diversion from the present is necessary. Since we can’t predict the future, let’s travel back to the past. Back to high school to be specific.

After stumbling upon a Tyler Herro high school mixtape video on YouTube, I eventually ended up on a Kyrie Irving high school highlight video. That got me thinking.

Which Net has the best high school mixtape?

The rules are simple. Rank each Net by his high school mixtape. A few guys were excluded. Taurean Prince and Garrett Temple didn’t have any videos on YouTube that came close enough to the term “high school mixtape” so they were left out. Additionally, YouTube highlight videos of European prospects should be its own category entirely.

Onto the list:

9. Jarrett Allen

This is a pretty standard highlight video, which is the main reason why Jarrett Allen finishes last on our list. No music, no quick cuts, and no dramatic opening.

And for what it’s worth, Allen’s highlights aren’t anything crazy. He’s doing typical Jarrett Allen things—owning the paint, putting away lobs, etc. But he’s not near as explosive as he is for Brooklyn nowadays.

8. Caris LeVert

Caris LeVert is a few years older than Allen and you can tell by the intro to this mixtape. 2012 doesn’t seem that long ago, but it feels like mixtapes have come a long way since LeVert’s days as a high schooler.

This highlight video has a certain level of grittiness to it. Playing shirts and skins means that run is serious.

7. Spencer Dinwiddie

Calling this a high school mixtape is a bit of a stretch, but Spencer Dinwiddie deserves to make the list. This video details Dinwiddie’s rise from an unknown guy to a highly-touted recruit. It mirrors his NBA journey in many ways.

Thankfully, Dinwiddie bulked up a little bit since making it to the league.

6. Joe Harris

No frills Joe Harris. Some generic pump-up music in the background while Joe Harris shows off his offensive arsenal. The Chelan High School Graduate was coached by his father, Joe Harris Sr., before heading east to play for Tony Bennett at Virginia.

Harris is completely overmatching his competition in this video and he barely even shows off his most impressive skill—his three-point shot. I guess when it’s so easy to get to the hole, there’s no need to hoist from deep.

5. Chris Chiozza

It might be weird to see Chris Chiozza top some of the more established NBA players on this list, but mixtapes are a young man’s game. Chiozza was part of the time period when high school mixtapes were becoming more widespread.

The fact that the undersized point guard has such electric handles gives his case a solid boost. And who are we kidding? It’s always more impressive to see a little guy dominate.

4. Theo Pinson

You probably weren’t expecting to see Theo Pinson this high on our list. He’s relegated to an end-of-the-bench role with the Nets and doesn’t appear to be a major part of Brooklyn’s future.

It’s easy to forget he was once a five-star recruit heading to Chapel Hill to play for Roy Williams at UNC. Pinson was big-time coming out of high school. Add in the rise of Ballislife.com and Pinson was destined for high school mixtape success.

3. DeAndre Jordan

First off, let me apologize for the inconsistent rubric. Chiozza and Pinson received bumps because of the production levels of their mixtapes. DeAndre Jordan is receiving a bump because of how old his mixtape looks.

Anyone from the class of 2007 who was good enough to get a legitimate high school mixtape deserves a huge bump in our list.

The grainy footage is from a bygone era of YouTube—before the algorithm told us exactly what we were going to watch. Escaping down a YouTube rabbit hole prior to the year 2010 is something I’ll tell my grandkids about.

And although the algorithm wasn’t quite what it was today, every YouTube session eventually led to Ed Reed giving a halftime pump-up speech.

2. Kyrie Irving

High school Kyrie Irving was something else. The No. 2 recruit coming out of St. Patrick in Elizabeth, NJ, Irving was one of the most well-known high school players in the country. The shifty guard was almost unstoppable with the ball in his hands.

Irving’s game was tailor-made for mixtape videos. He’s a smooth operator with lightning-quick handles and a knack for finishing in traffic. The future NBA champion was good enough to warrant the Ballislife.com treatment way back in 2010.

1. Kevin Durant

Much like Irving and Jordan, Kevin Durant is from an era where high school mixtapes weren’t so prevalent. All the same, the artist formerly known as the “Slim Reaper” was an anomaly in high school basketball.

Durant towered over most players with his size, but he overmatched his opponents in skill as well. How did KD develop guard skills with his size and length? Simple, he just never realized he hit a growth spurt.

The 10-minute video is perfect for basketball junkies looking for some way to pass the time. And let’s be honest, we’re all looking for a way to pass the time while coronavirus puts the sports world on an indefinite hiatus.

NYY

NYM

NYG

NYJ

NYK

BKN

NYR

NYI

NJD

SJU