Utah Jazz: Early 3rd Pick Possibilities

As you Utah Jazz fans know, the Jazz had some Lottery Day luck yesterday when they sneaked into the 3rd spot of this summer’s NBA Draft. With that being said, and their draft position fate in the locked position, I wanted to discuss some of the possibilities that the Jazz are going to go after in the draft. 

Based on the things I’ve been hearing from the “experts” the Jazz could be looking at a few different players at the 3 spot. At this point it seems like Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams are going to be off the board by 3, so those ships have most probably sailed. Other names that I’ve heard are  Kemba Walker out of UConn, Brandon Knight out of Kentucky, and Enes Kanter out of Kentucky (never played with them). Personally I don’t like to go with guys like Kanter because of the fact that he hasn’t played NCAA ball. Sure he has the tools to be a very good player, but how is it going to transition to the NBA game? And is that risk worth a number 3 pick in the NBA Draft? I understand that the way he plays has a striking resemblance to Dirk Nowitzki, but the odds that he turns out to be as good as Dirk is highly unlikely. If he had a year in the NCAA game it would have been a way to gauge his potential. Of course, a lot of college basketball players don’t end up in the NBA, but it’s the best pre-NBA measuring stick available. (Check out this video of Kanter)

Moving on, the guy that most people seem to think that the Jazz are going to end up with is Brandon Knight, the point guard out of Kentucky. Like I mentioned yesterday, the point guard position is something that is extremely important in today’s NBA, and the Jazz can use a potential star at the position. If you had the chance to see Kentucky’s games in the NCAA Tournament this year, you know that Brandon Knight is the kind of guy who can lead a team because he has the will to win, and he is not afraid to take and make the big shots at the end of the game (2 game-winners in the tourney).

Here’s what NBADraft.Net says about Knight:

Utah GM Kevin O’Connor has been enamored with Knight since the season and now is in position to grab him as a replacement to Deron Williams. Knight is an absolute gym rat and a tremendous kid who will work hard on his game. It has become a PG dominated league and Knight has the size and speed to be a standout at the position. He may have some holes and take time to round into a complete point guard, but it’s hard to argue with opting for such a strong competitor and character guy here. A clutch shooter, Knight has go to ability with his quick first step and ability to create shots. Long rated at the top or near the top of his class, Knight has elite level speed and quickness for a player his size. Despite lacking much leaping ability, he’s a prolific scorer with a killer instinct. Knight has a professional mind set, always looking for ways to improve his game and has worked extremely hard in the weight room resulting in a chiseled physique. He’s a bigtime shooter, but detractors point to his lack of passing ability/point guard skills. An excellent end to the year guiding UK to the SEC title and 2 game winners in the NCAA tourney taking them to the Final Four has his stock on the rise. He’s a potential top 10 pick if a team believes he can develop into a full time starting PG

Another point guard who sounds a lot like Knight based on the description I just gave is Kemba Walker. Kemba Walker needs no introduction based on the national acclaim he received after leading his UConn Huskies to a National Championship. He’s quick, has a killer instinct, and he can jump into an NBA starting lineup right away if need be. The thing about Walker that could hurt him is the fact that his expectations are going to be high from the start, which usually means a short leash. I think if a team like the Jazz got him he would be in the best possible scenario because the team doesn’t need him to be the team from the start ala John Wall in Washington last season. He can have time to develop, and he can have a longer period for growth without being given up on.

Who Should The Jazz Draft At Number 3?

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Tags: Brandon Knight Deron Williams Derrick Williams Enes Kanter Kemba Walker Kevin O'Connor Kyrie Irving Utah Jazz

  • Kenny Shulsen

    Nice work Lee. It’s about time the Jazz caught a break. Oh how I wish Harrison Barnes was in the draft. Having moved up to 3 last night I really think there is a chance the Jazz get lucky again on draft night and snag Derrick Williams. Minnesota has 5 forwards who are face up/similar style guys to Williams. Love, Beasley, Wes Johnson, Anthony Randolph, and Martell Webster.

    Plus they are Minnesota meaning they are prone to odd moves like drafting 3 point guards in the first round 2 years ago (Obviously they traded Lawson who right now is the best of the 3 they drafted) They are rumored to be looking to trade the pick, but I could see them fall in love with Kanter or one of the big Euros or even taking a PG.

    Last year Philly passed on Favors cause of their personnel let’s hope this year Minnesota does the same. If they do then Jazz can take Jimmer with 12th pick. If the Jazz take Knight they wont draft a 2nd PG.

    Obviously a lot will change with workouts prior to the draft but I don’t think it’s a given they take Williams when they have several guys similar to him, not saying they are better than him but looking at their roster a combo SF/PF is not a need. Hopefully they pull a Detroit when they took Darko and the Jazz get their new D Will with the pick they got by trading their old D Will, it’s fate!

    If Minn does take him I hope the Jazz take Knight not Kemba. Kemba is supposedly closer to 5’11 than the 6’1 he’s listed at. He’s also only 170 pounds. Knight is a legit 6’3 and a solid 185, long and still only 18 he could easily grow and will definitely fill out. I also like the comments you posted, he’s a high character gym rat, who wont be a prima donna and take issue playing in Utah. He can play with Harris cause of his size and has a better shot and more range than Irving and is an excellent defender imagine that a PG who is a lockdown defender. Plus Kemba was 2-3 years older than the guys he was playing against last year, I don’t think people take that account at 21 he’s supposed to dominate 18 and 19 year olds.

    With Nowitzki playing so well in the playoffs its possible the T’wolves become enamored with Kanter or Vesely or Valaciunas and think they can get the next Dirk. We’ll see if I’m wrong but for some reason I don’t think D Will to Minnesota is a lock like everyone else does. He’s definitely one of the top 2 talents (I think he’s #1) but you never know. Regardless picking 3 is a huge upgrade over 7 where they would have been in that case we’d be talking about hoping Vesely or Kemba fell to them, yuck.

  • Kenny Shulsen

    Here’s what Chad Ford at ESPN.com has to say about #2 pick in his latest Insider Mock Draft

    “I think this pick will be a three-way race among Williams, Enes Kanter and Bismack Biyombo. Of the three, Williams has the strongest pedigree and ultimately should be an upgrade over Michael Beasley. But don’t be surprised if Kahn trades the pick. I’m already hearing from sources that Minnesota has told people it’s very open to moving the second pick. Kahn really wants to add some veteran help to the team.”

    Can it just be June 23 already!

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