Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — Nets President Rod Thorn is front and center here at Madison Square Garden tonight to watch the highly anticipated UConn-Kentucky game in the SEC/Big East Invitational.
Kentucky freshman point guard John Wall is projected as the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft and the Nets (2-19) currently have the worst record in the NBA, meaning they could land the top pick if the ping pong balls fall their way.
“I hope we make the playoffs,” Thorn said with a smile. “Right now it looks like we’ll probably be in the lottery someplace.”
The Knicks (7-15), of course, have no first-round pick because they traded it and it now belongs to the Utah Jazz. They have two second-round picks.
Kentucky coach John Calipari has sent his last two point guards from his time at Memphis to the lottery, Derrick Rose and and Tyreke Evans. Rose was the NBA Rookie of the Year last season with the Chicago Bulls and Evans is having a strong rookie campaign with the Sacramento Kings.
Wall is widely regarded as the next guard to follow in their place. He enters the UConn game averaging 18.1 points, 6.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds.
“I can’t talk about specific players, but you don’t know,” said Thorn, who also saw Wall play here in April in the Jordan Brand Classic. “It’s tough. I don’t care who you are, a young guy coming in the NBA.”
Kentucky features several players who could be drafted next year, Wall, junior forward Patrick Patterson and freshman big man DeMarcus Cousins.
“We’ve got a lot of pieces we’re looking for,” Thorn said.
The Nets could opt to draft Wall with the first pick and pair him with point guard Devin Harris, or trade one of them for another piece.
Either way, he thinks the 2010 NBA Draft can help his team.
“I think it’s going to be a pretty good one,” he said.
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.