The New Jersey Nets may have sent their first round pick to the Utah Jazz in the Deron Williams trade, but that doesn't mean they will be sitting on the sidelines come draft night. Thanks to the deal that brought Sasha Vujacic to the Garden State, the Nets own the Los Angeles Lakers first round pick, No. 27 overall.
It's also important to remember that the Nets could be a player all throughout the first round of next month's draft. As he'll be the first to tell you, Mikhail Prokhorov has more than enough cash to buy a pick or two and GM Billy King has already said the team is "trying" to acquire another pick.
For now, however, King's focus is on the 27th pick, where he will look for a player that can step right in and contribute for the playoff-hungry Nets. In the latest mock draft from SB Nation's Tom Ziller, he projects just that for New Jersey.
27. New Jersey Nets: Isaiah Thomas, PG, Washington
The Nets could use a good change-of-pace lead guard; every team needs one. Thomas might be one of the best available late in the first round in the last couple years.
Ziller calls Thomas a point guard, but really he is only that in stature. The little man (5'10") from Washington showed last year that he can distribute the ball, but he is still at his best when he is putting the ball in the basket.
Generally there isn't a lot of call for spending a first round pick on an undersized point guard that isn't really a point guard, but he would be the perfect fit with the Nets. Time and again, the 22-year old Thomas showed that he isn't afraid of the big stage, something that will be a necessity for any player New Jersey drafts if they hope to make a push for the playoffs.
While no one will ever confuse Thomas for Williams, don't forget that the Nets were giving minutes to Sundiata Gaines, Ben Uzoh and Mario West last season. I will take the Husky over any of those three right now. It's not often you can upgrade a rotation player immediately with the 27th pick in the first round, but Thomas would do just that for the Nets.