ESPN.com’s Chad Ford has produced his first mock draft and in it he has the Jazz drafting a point guard of the future and the #1 shooting guard in the draft.
If the lottery goes as predicted the Jazz will be picking in the 6th and 12th slots. With 3 big name freshmen returning to college for their sophomore years, (Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes and Perry James) the Jazz’s chances of really improving their team were hurt. Losing the coin toss for the 6th spot in the draft instead of the 5th spot didn’t help either.
Nevertheless there is talent in this draft and if things go as Ford predicts the Jazz could really help themselves in the draft.
With the 6th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft the Utah Jazz select Brandon Knight, point guard, Kentucky. Knight is 6’3, has a great shooting stroke, but is not considered an elite athlete. But he’s only 18 so there is plenty of room to grow. Says Ford:
Analysis: The Jazz acquired this pick in their February trade-deadline deal with the Nets. They lost their All-Star point guard Deron Williams in the deal but picked up this pick, Derrick Favors and Devin Harris in return. The Jazz like Harris but see Knight as a potential franchise player down the road.
Knight’s freshman season was up and down, but he has a few qualities that make him a terrific fit in Utah. He is big, plays defense, shoots the ball well, and is a great kid on and off the court. He should be a perfect fit with the Jazz.
This link provides more analysis on Knight, but I like the idea of a defensive, pass first point guard who is a hard worker. Great opportunity to learn playing behind and alongside Harris while he matures. I think he is a better fit for the Jazz then Kemba Walker, so let’s hope he is still on the board at 6.
With the 12th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft the Utah Jazz select, Alec Burks, shooting guard, Colorado. Long, athletic, slasher, finishes above the rim, great mid-range game, not a great 3-point shooter. Again I think this is exactly what the Jazz need. Ford says:
Analysis: The Jazz have traditionally lacked a scoring athletic slasher in the backcourt. It’s been an acknowledged need for years. This might be the year that brings changes. Burks is one of the most athletic guards in the draft. He has a quick first step and is a terrific finisher at the rim. His lack of a consistent jump shot and motor lowers his stock a bit. But at this point in the draft, he’s worth the risk.
This link has more analysis on Burks. What stands out to me is he is a terrific athlete, long, explosive leaper, and can get his shot in many ways. When was the last time the Jazz had a guy who could get the ball with the shot clock going down and get to the rim. Again if he falls to the Jazz at 12 I think this is a pick that helps them immediately.
There is a lot to happen before the draft in June, namely the lottery on May 17, perhaps the Jazz will get some luck and move into the top 3. If not I will be applauding draft night if they walk away with these 2 players.