We are now counting down the hours until the 2011 NBA Draft kicks off on Thursday evening from Newark. If you have any solid grasp on just what will go down, then you are a better person than even the men making the decisions. After the Cleveland Cavaliers select Kyrie Irving and the Minnesota Timberwolves (or whichever team is picking in their place) take Derrick Williams, all bets are off.
With the wheeling and dealing Billy King running the show for the New Jersey Nets, there is a good chance they will be selecting before their currently scheduled slot of 27. But for now that's where they are and in SB Nation's latest mock draft, the Nets are projected to grab an experienced front court player.
Harper is one of the players the Nets are reportedly looking at here, but don't be surprised if New Jersey ignores the coming CBA changes and spends The Prokhorov's cash on some wild, Mark Cubanesque trade.
We've been harping on it from the beginning of the draft discussion but it would be a major shock if the Nets didn't select a player that is ready to play right away. They won't hit a home run, but they will hit a solid double that will help the team reach the playoffs next season.
Harper fits that bill perfectly and should be the pick if he is still on the board when New Jersey sends in their picks for the 27th pick. The 6-foot-9 Harper was able to show significant improvement each of his four seasons with the Spiders, a quality that will pay off in camp playing next to Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries.
There are few forwards in this draft that can run the floor with Deron Williams without being a defensive liability while on the floor with both Lopez and Humphries.