The work never stops in an NBA front office and, for the Brooklyn Nets, one of the latest offseason activities has been working out Auburn big man Johni Broome, a 6-foot-10, 235-pound junior who spent two years at Moorhead State before transferring.
Broome announced the private session in an Instagram story (that has since expired) on May 2.
This is the second year that the big man has tested his value in the eyes of NBA evaluators, and there is an expectation that he will return next season for the Tigers who went 21-13 last season, won their opening-round matchup against Iowa in the NCAA Tournament. But he is intriguing after averaging 14.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.3 assists on 52.7% shooting overall and 29% from beyond the arc, trying to extend his range this past season.
And he shined brightest in the Tournament, recording 19 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks in that win over the Hawkeyes, a performance not seen since Anthony Davis was wreaking havoc at the University of Kentucky in 2012.
For what it’s worth, He did thank the usual list in a previous lengthy post on Instagram on April 18. But even there he was sure to note his intentions on retaining his eligibility through the process. Broome has until May 31 to officially withdraw his name from the pool of players or make the leap to the next level.
The NBA Combine is set for May 16 through May 18 and will take place in Chicago.
Perhaps the biggest note here is Broome’s position and disposition on the court and how it ties into what the Nets want to do.
He’s no Davis — who is an eight-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA and All-Defensive selection, a three-time blocks champ, and a champion. But he does play with a level of aggression that the Nets don’t currently have.
Sean Marks Wants Nets to Be ‘Nastier’
In his end-of-season media availability, Nets general manager Sean Marks made it clear that the team was going to address their frontcourt, per head coach Jacque Vaughn’s wishes to get a little “nastier”. He did not specify whether they would target depth or something more this offseason.
Still, Marks’ words were fairly clear.
Claxton, 24, is heading into the final year of his contract and will hit unrestricted free agency after the 2023-24 season. He led the NBA in field goal percentage and finished tied for second in blocks. But Claxton could also be an attractive piece to another team in a trade this summer after garnering interest at this past trade deadline.
Marks was not shy about heaping praise unto Claxton during his exit interview, either, which could signal their intentions to continue developing him. Meanwhile, his backup Sharpe, 21, is only in Year 2 but is limited offensively at this point.
Even more than an unproven (at the NBA level) Broome.
Nets Lost Battle on the Boards
The Nets also ranked 29th in total rebounding and found themselves similarly positioned when it came to second-chance points. And, in the postseason, more of the same versus the Philadelphia 76ers led to the second sweep in as many years for Brooklyn.
This is not a new issue by any means.
Adding Broome won’t cure all of that. Few rookies would even be capable of that. He would, however, give Vaughn even more options when game-planning for opponents.