With the NBA Draft rapidly approaching, the Utah Jazz need to realize the opportunity that is being presented to them. Sure, they don’t have a top-3 pick, but they are in the lottery, and all Jazz fans know that those occasions are far and few between. With that being said, the Jazz have the chance to do something special in this draft, which can truly put them over the hump in the Western Conference. With the correct pick, the Utah Jazz can go from a tough, competitive team in the WC to a real threat to the LA Lakers. In order to do that, the Jazz will need to follow a few simple draft rules. Here they are:
Don’t draft a foreigner
For every Dirk Nowitzki, there are 8 Kyrylo Fesenkos when it comes to drafting foreigners in the NBA Draft. They are just too unpredictable, and the risk is definitely not worth the reward. They play against very different competition before entering the NBA, and it is hard to evaluate them based on that other competition. When you talk about the Utah Jazz in particular, the prospect of drafting a foreigner with their lottery pick would make absolutely no sense. They rarely get an opportunity to draft this high, and it would be a shame if they totally missed with some 3-year project that never panned out. If the Jazz are smart, they would just play it safe and go with a proven college player. Of course, there are no guarantees that he will pan out, but the likelihood of that is much higher than a foreigner.
Draft an athletic big man (if possible)
I don’t know about you, but when I watched the Utah Jazz this past season, I didn’t see many weaknesses. However, there was one glaring issue that concerned me: The lack of an athletic big man. Right now, the Jazz are extremely close to being THE TEAM in the Western Conference. They have arguably the top point guard in the game, some solid wing players who can shoot and defend, a couple of very talented power forwards (at least for now), and the best coach to never win a championship or Coach of the Year. If you ask me, all that team needs is an athletic big man who can swat shots, finish at the rim with both hands, and make at least 72% of his free throws. Oh yeah, and he needs to be able to hang with the likes of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. I know this sounds like an impossible guy to find, but the Jazz need to do the best they can to find a guy that is close to that. If they do, you will see a vast improvement from this past season.
If the Jazz are on the clock, and they see that the few players that they were targeting are off the board, they CAN NOT settle for a second-rate player just because he fits a need. They either have to take the best available player, regardless if he fits a need or not, or they have to make a trade with another team. Trading out of the 9th spot might be annoying for some Jazz fans, as they have waited for this “gift pick” from the Knicks all season long, but it could be the smartest move for them. In my opinion, this draft class is not that deep, and there is the possibility that they can afford to pass on this year’s choice and wait for something better in the future. Remember, this pick can be the pick that changes everything for the Jazz in a positive way, but it can also be the pick that sends them back a few years if they mess up. Right now the Jazz have the leverage, and it is imperative that they use it to their advantage. If they don’t, they will have to pay the hefty price.
As much as you can try to break the NBA Draft into a science, that will never be the case. Players who barely excelled at the collegiate level can turn out to be great pros, and players who did amazing things in college could have shortened NBA careers due to countless reasons. As long as you follow the approach that you had planned going into the draft, then you should be fine. You need to make sure that you don’t panic, and you need to realize that you have the leverage. Everything else is out of your hands.