Nets select Brooklyn-born Isaiah Whitehead in NBA Draft
Will become first Brooklynite to play for Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets swapped second round picks with the Utah Jazz at Thursday’s NBA Draft at the Barclays Center, sending cash to the Jazz to move up from 55 to 42. The Jazz picked Brooklyn native Isaiah Whitehead of Seton Hall for the Nets and Brooklyn selected North Carolina guard Marcus Paige for Utah.
Whitehead played two years at Seton Hall, most recently leading the Pirates to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006. The Brooklyn native averaged 18.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 32.3 minutes per game in 34 games (33 starts) as a sophomore, earning unanimous All-Big East First Team honors and an Associated Press All-America honorable mention. He was also named the 2016 Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player after averaging 23.3 points and 5.7 assists in the Big East Tournament, where the Pirates claimed their first conference tournament title since 1993. As a freshman, Whitehead averaged 12.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 27.8 minutes per game in 22 games (19 starts) en route to Big East All-Rookie Team honors. A product of Abraham Lincoln High School and Coney Island, Whitehead was a McDonald’s All American and named Mr. New York Basketball by the state’s Basketball Coaches Association in 2014.
“He fits what we want to be,” Nets General Manager Sean Marks said. “For us he embodies what Brooklyn grit is all about.”
The Nets will acquire Michigan shooting guard Caris LeVert from the Pacers after Brooklyn traded Thaddeus Young to Indiana for the No. 20 pick in the NBA draft.
The Pacers sent their first-round pick to the Nets on Thursday, hours before the draft began, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal could not be announced until the NBA salary cap goes up in July.
The 6-foot-7 LeVert had each of his last two seasons cut short by injuries to his left foot. He has had three surgeries the last two years, including one in March at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. He was at Barclays Center, the home of his new team, dressed in a Michigan maize and blue suits and got a big ovation from the fans when his name was announced as Indiana’s pick.
But LeVert knows he’ll be playing in Brooklyn for a team that should be well informed about his injury. LeVert’s surgery was done by Dr. Martin O’Malley, who is on the Nets medical staff as a foot and ankle specialist.
“You know, I went for a visit about a month ago. I knew the staff really liked me but I didn’t know if they had any first-round picks,” LeVert said. “I probably won’t be doing Summer League, but my X-rays and CT scans look good. It’s just a matter of rushing back right now.”
LeVert averaged 16.5 points in 15 games as a senior last year and 14.9 in 18 games as a junior. He shot 40.1 percent from 3-point range in his career.
The Nets are starting a major rebuild under new general manager Sean Marks and new coach Kenny Atkinson, but without their own first-round pick. The Celtics had the Nets’ pick, No. 3 overall, as Brooklyn (21-61 last season) continues to pay for the 2013 trade that brought Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to New York.
The Nets also received a future second-round pick from the Pacers.
Marks was unable to comment on the Young deal and LeVert.
Young, who averaged 15.1 points and 9.0 rebounds with the Nets last season, signed a four-year, $50 million deal last summer. Marks had said the 28-year-old was part of the team’s plans for the upcoming season.
Instead, he flipped Young to get back into the first round. The Nets are still on the hook with the Celtics for the next two seasons. Next year Boston has the right to swap first-round picks with Brooklyn and the Celtics own the Nets’ 2018 first-rounder, too.
“Today was a day we got to put some building blocks on the roster,” Marks said.
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Information from the Brooklyn Nets was also used
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