Markel Brown and Cory Jefferson were selected in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft and traded to the Brooklyn Nets. Their arrival in black and white draws two observations: Brooklyn is looking to get young and they’re looking for depth behind Deron Williams and Brook Lopez.
Brown looks to add fresh legs to a backcourt that lacks youth after Shaun Livingston departed. Jefferson is pegged to add athleticism to a frontcourt that has been populated by finesse low-post big men the last several years.
The duo talked exclusively with HoopsHabit at the NBA rookie photo shoot in Tarrytown, N.Y., to discuss what their expectations are this season, the anticipation of draft night and how they fit into their new surroundings.
HoopsHabit: Can you take us through the draft process and your relationship with Marcus [Smart]?
Brown: I got really nervous. The draft was pretty long for me having to wait until the 44th pick. It was well worth it. I’ve talked with Marcus before the draft and after. We congratulated each other and wished each other good luck. Marcus and I have been keeping in touch a lot.
HoopsHabit: Who was the first player/person to contact you from Brooklyn?
Brown: I haven’t talked to any of the players yet but I’ve talked to the GM [Billy King]. He called me after the draft and congratulated me and welcomed me to the family.
Jefferson: I talked to coach [Lionel] Hollins when he was down in Orlando. We talked about the style that we might play during the season.
HoopsHabit: How familiar are you with the way Brooklyn plays?
Brown: I did watch them but I feel like things are going to be different now that we have a different coach. All I hear is coach Lionel Hollins talking about how he wants to play faster, he’s not known as a coach that plays fast. Everything is based on defense.
Jefferson: From what I’ve known this summer, playing in Orlando, it might be a little faster tempo but that’ll be fine with me.
HoopsHabit: What do you hope to learn from a player like Deron Williams?
Brown: Everything, everything he has to offer. Learn different things about the game and how hard it is to prepare for an 82-game season.
HoopsHabit: What do you hope to learn from a player like Brook Lopez?
Jefferson: Anything and everything, things that I need out there on the court.
HoopsHabit: What do you hope to contribute to Brooklyn?
Jefferson: I want to bring energy, get rebounds, run the floor, block shots and hit open jumpers when I can.
HoopsHabit: What do you hope to provide Brooklyn in the backcourt?
Brown: Provide them with hard-nosed defense. Someone who’s going to come out there and be a pest on defense and someone who can step in and chip in some points on the offensive end.
HoopsHabit: What are your expectations this coming season?
Brown: I’m expecting to go out there and gain the trust of those older guys and contribute on both ends of the court.
HoopsHabit: Are you looking forward to playing in New York?
Brown: I am looking forward to it. It’s one of the biggest cities to play basketball in and actually playing in a new arena like the Barclays Center is going to be a fun experience. I’m looking forward to making a major impact on the team, contributing in a positive way and making it further in the playoffs.
HoopsHabit: What has been the biggest surprise of this whole process?
Brown: Everything has been a surprise for me. The different media guys I’ve been talking to. Bigger, faster and stronger players.
HoopsHabit: Have you gotten acclimated with the city?
Brown: I haven’t, I’m going to stay after this program out here for about a week and kind of visit the city and find a place to stay.
HoopsHabit: Who has been your biggest influence throughout this process?