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.