“Rare when you get your guy’: Nets thrilled with 1st-round pick

Everybody from Jarrett Allen to foes to scouts assumed the Texas teen was going to be a lottery pick. The Nets are thankful he wasn’t.

Long before the Nets traded away all-time leading scorer Brook Lopez, they scouted and identified Allen. They spent much of Thursday exploring ways to move up to get him. But when the 19-year-old big man fell in their laps at No. 22, it was a stroke of luck for a rebuilding team in desperate need of good fortune.

“It’s rare when you get your guy. That’s what makes me so excited; we got our guy. He was a guy we wanted. … When I started watching games I was immediately [thrilled],’’ said coach Kenny Atkinson, snapping his finger. “You know. It’s like when you see a beautiful girl. You’re like, wow, this guy is really good.

“He’s a system fit. … He does everything we want in a big player: Runs the court, defends the rim, has great timing, great feel for the game. I was really impressed with his passing. I’m up here pinching myself. We got a heck of a player, a heck of a young man, a credit to his family.”

Scouts and opponents agreed. Allen, who is 6-foot-11 and 235 pounds, needs to add size, strength and an offensive game outside the lane. But with athleticism, a 7-6 wingspan and a solid basketball IQ, he was a higher-upside pick over several older prospects.

Allen was expected by some observers to go in the mid-teens and was projected as high as the eighth pick just two months ago. Kansas coach Bill Self — who saw the freshman snatch 19 rebounds against his Jayhawks — gushed, “I think he’s great. … Whenever he comes out, this kid is a lottery pick.”

Every team praises their picks on draft night. But even privately, the Nets are saying they got a lottery pick at a low-first-round price.

“Yes, Jarrett was higher on our board,” general manager Sean Marks said. “He’s a guy we targeted, and we certainly looked to move up in the draft to get him. Thankfully, we didn’t have to.
“We’re thrilled. Whether it’s the stars are in alignment or what-not, but we’re certainly happy it worked out.”

Though Allen likely wasn’t happy as he slid — saying he expected to go between 10 and 20 — he insists it has worked out for the best.

“Sitting in the arena around the 19th pick I was hearing I might go to Brooklyn,” said Allen, the second-youngest player in Nets history, who is joining a suddenly young team. “I was like ‘Hey, that’s not a bad place to go.’ The pick came and the whole arena lit up. Being drafted in the place where I’ll be playing means a lot.

“If we all grow and develop together, we’re all striving for the same goal. So I believe that creates a stronger bond for a team, and that’s just going to help us out in the future.… I didn’t meet a bad person [here], honestly. Everybody was friendly. Everybody came to me with a smile. It was like a really family environment.”

Allen’s actual family made the trip to Brooklyn, including parents Leonard and Cheryl. Leonard — who stands 6-8 ¾ — played at San Diego State, in the CBA and for Spain’s Baloncesto Guadalajara. He knows what it takes to be a pro, but he encouraged Allen to enjoy his childhood before thinking about a pro basketball career.

“My thing was be a kid first. Play Nintendo, go out, skate,’’ Leonard said. “Going to that next level, it’s not guaranteed, so I didn’t want him to just be like his only focus was basketball. There are other things in life out there besides basketball. There’s life that’s fun to do.

“You don’t have to consume yourself 24 hours a day. Now, it’s your job; you do do it.”

Leonard also promised Nets fans his son will do it with a silent determination.

“His competitive edge,” he said, “just a quiet assassin.”

NCAA 3-point leader Jeremy Senglin of Weber State and Eastern Washington’s Jake Wiley agreed to partially guaranteed deals with the Nets, according to Basketball Insiders and CBSSports.

Source: http://nypost.com/2017/06/24/rare-when-you-get-your-guy-nets-thrilled-with-1st-round-pick/

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