The Brooklyn Nets had an eye on the future in this year's draft, spending first-round picks on 18-year-olds Noah Clowney and Dariq Whitehead. However, the team quietly managed to sprinkle in some experience, adding four-year Kansas forward Jalen Wilson with the 51st overall pick.

Wilson was a first-round hopeful early last season but fell due to his advanced age, spotty shooting and athletic limitations. The 2023 Big-12 Player of the Year looks like an NBA-ready player in three Summer League appearances, averaging 16.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks on 50 percent shooting.

After signing a two-way contract with the Nets, Wilson feels his lengthy college career has prepared him for whatever role Brooklyn throws at him:

“I just think my time at school gave me a lot of different experiences, taught me a lot of different things,” he said. “Being able to come in and play a specific role — I was able to do that on a championship team. I was able to do it last year with a different role, being the older guy on the team.

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“I just look at this opportunity to come in and be able to do whatever I’m asked to do. I was asked to do a lot of different things in my career at Kansas, so I’ll be well prepared.”

Wilson won a national championship during his junior season, earning third-team All-Big 12 honors. As a senior, he averaged 20.1 points and 8.3 rebounds on 43/34/80 shooting spits.

Nets General Manager Sean Marks viewed that production and championship pedigree under head coach Bill Self as a draw throughout the predraft process:

“He’s a champion. He’s won before, so he’s seen what it takes,” Marks said. “Being coached really hard, being coached well.”

Wilson’s upside at the NBA level is tied to his size and versatility. At 6-foot-8, 225-pounds, he can handle the ball, guard multiple positions and offer some much-needed rebounding for a Nets team that ranked 28th on the glass last season.

“He just brings a bunch of energy,” Nets Summer League coach Trevor Hendry said. “Whether it’s on the offensive glass or they’re just trying to drive it to get to the rim. Defensively, he can guard essentially every position… He’s not scared of the moment.”

Wilson projects as a spot-up shooter and secondary creator at the next level, making his inconsistent three-point shot at Kansas a concern entering the draft. He shot just 31.6 percent from deep over three college seasons, although he improved as a senior, shooting 34 percent on 5.8 attempts per game.

He’s continued that improvement at Summer League, knocking down 7-of-13 three-point attempts (53.8 percent).

“I’ve just been working on it all summer,” Wilson said of his three-point shot. “Since I got out of school, through the entire draft process, I just wanted to be the best shooter I could be. Just show my confidence and be able to take the shots when they come to me, not have to force anything. Just creating those game situations in my workouts and practice so when they do come in the game, it’s all in rhythm.”

Brooklyn’s coaching staff has given Wilson the green light, with the second-round pick expected to fill a spot-up heavy role as a three-and-D wing:

“When he shoots with confidence, I have confidence it’s gonna go in,” Hendry said. “Whenever he hesitates or has a little doubt in his mind, that’s when he gets in trouble. When he shoots it with confidence, I have the utmost positivity that it’s going in.”

If Wilson can continue to develop as a catch-and-shoot threat, Marks is confident the forward has the intangibles to carve out a role in the NBA:

“You can see the high IQ. You can see how he plays,” the GM said following Wilson's 18-point performance in a win over the Knicks Sunday. “He’s got a great feel for the game. I think the team enjoys playing with a guy like Jalen, right? His shot, I think he’s working on his consistency. If he can continue to knock that down like he did today, you’re looking at an NBA player.”