EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jason Kidd spent a good portion of this first full week on the job taking a crash course in many aspects of his new gig.
Chief among them: talent evaluator.
As the Nets prepare for next Thursday’s NBA Draft at the friendly confines of the Barclays Center, Kidd is the new face in the room, the guy who’s now trying to help figure out exactly which direction they go in. The Nets hold the No. 22 selection in the first round, and they had another few groups of draft workouts over the past five days, bringing in some prospects at the PNY Center, and giving Kidd a chance to offer his perspective.
“It helps a great deal because obviously you want Jason to eyeball the guys that potentially we could draft,” Nets director of player personnel Gregg Polinsky said. “He gets an idea of how they might fit into what he wants to do going forward. So it’s big plus. We’ve had a couple of guys that couldn’t come, that we wanted to see due to other things --- injury or scheduling. But I think it’s invaluable.
“Obviously, the player he was, the things that he recognizes in guys are important to us to help us put this puzzle together.”
The Nets could stand to add quality depth at virtually every position and they’re restricted what they can do financially given they’re salary-cap situation. Kidd has said he wants to play more of an uptempo style, so finding a good, young player that can slot into his offensive system and defensive philosophies will be key as they sift through everyone.
GM Billy King gets the final say, but he’ll gather the opinions of Kidd and everyone else before pulling the trigger.
“The nice thing is we do have a nice core roster and, like you said, at the end of the day, Billy makes the decision as we line up all the information,” Polinsky said. “But to have Coach Kidd’s input for us is really important, too, because he’s the one that’s going to decide on which guys are going into the game and how they are going to be used.”
With the draft just days away, the crunch is on. The Nets scouts are expected to convene Sunday as they put the finishing touches on background checks and watching those last few video clips to get one more good glimpse of a particular player on their radar.
They also have six more -- Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr., Virginia Tech’s Erick Green, Marshall’s Dennis Tinnon, St. Bonaventure’s Demetrius Conger, Southern Mississippi’s Dwayne Davis and Giovan Oniangue of Paris-Levallois -- coming in Monday. The anticipation game is on.
“We look at our roster, and what we think might happen, and things Billy decides he wants to do with it,” Polinsky sad. “So, we’re horse racing. We’re coming down the stretch.”