Sean Marks continues to restock Nets’ assets
In case you missed it, Sean Marks is on a mission.
That mission is to bring the Brooklyn Nets back to NBA relevance, a place they haven’t been in several years. In order to do that, he has had to make shrewd moves that benefit the organization in both the short and the long term. He made another one of those moves on Monday night, trading center Tyler Zeller to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard Rashad Vaughn and a future second-round draft pick.
It was another great deal for Marks, who has done an admirable job of acquiring young players and draft picks since taking over the general manager position just under two years ago. In that time span, Marks has acquired a total of eight draft picks, restocking the Nets’ bare cupboard that former general manager Billy King left behind when he was let go by the organization.
The Nets signed Zeller off the street back in September and flipped him for a 21-year-old and a second-round draft pick that will most likely be conveyed in 2020. I can’t stress enough how solid of a deal that was for Marks, even if neither the player or the pick pan out for the Nets. He took a chance on trading Zeller because he knew that his value would never be higher. That’s exactly what good GM’s do.
In 42 games for the Nets this season, Zeller averaged 7.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. The emergence of rookie center Jarrett Allen made Zeller expendable. Head coach Kenny Atkinson recently promoted the 19-year-old Allen to the starting lineup, relegating Zeller to a bench role. Jahlil Okafor has also started playing more minutes as of late, leaving even fewer minutes for Zeller.
Vaughn is another former first-round pick who was given up on by the team that drafted him. Luckily for him, he came to the right place. The Nets are slowly gaining a reputation around the league for being an organization known for a great player development program. That’s another nod to Marks, who built up his performance development staff from scratch when he was hired. He is scheduled to be a free agent after the season, so Brooklyn is not tied to him after this year. He was simply thrown into the deal to make it work from a financial standpoint.
The Nets now have four players on the roster who were picked in the first-round of the 2015 NBA Draft. D’Angelo Russell (#2), Okafor (#3), Vaughn (#17) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (#23). It could wind up being more once Marks is all said and done. He will acquire talent by any means necessary, despite having limited draft picks to work with. The Nets have their own first-round picks again beginning in 2019, so their debt to the Boston Celtics is nearly paid off. All I know is, he will not stop until the Nets are a perennial contender and with his leadership and poise, they very well might be sooner, rather than later.