Just as expected the Utah Jazz ended up with the 14th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Were you holding out hope that they would beat the odds and move up into the top 3? Is this just more confirmation that the Jazz will never have lottery luck? The fact the Jazz did not move into the top 3 isn’t that big of deal. Jazz management wasn’t planning on it and had been preparing to pick 14th. Is the lottery system perfect? No. Should teams like the Jazz that played hard to the end trying to make the playoffs have more of a reward at the end of the season? Sure. It is what it is, however, and the Jazz are at 14. Allow me to remind you that in the 2011 NBA Draft the Jazz were slotted to pick 6th based on their record but they jumped up to #3 and drafted Enes Kanter. The lottery Gods aren’t always against us.
I’m a big believer that this is going to be a very helpful draft to the Jazz. It’s being touted as one of the worst in recent memory but that’s only because there is no clear cut superstar. I think the Jazz are going to find a couple of players that can be very good role players that compliment Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors. I believe there are several players in this draft that can help the Jazz in these efforts. I also think the Jazz are going to be very active on the trade front. Don’t be surprised if we are saying goodbye to Alec Burks this offseason in order to acquire a bigger name, young veteran wing. The Jazz have a lot of cap space and have positioned themselves to make several moves should they so choose.
Who are the best possibilities as draft candidates for the Utah Jazz? Here are the players that intrigue me the most (and in no particular order):
Dario Saric 6’10″ 223 lb SF, Croatia – If the Jazz could nab him at 14 I would be very happy. He’s a point in a small forward’s body. He was made for the Jazz system. I don’t think he gets past the Mavericks though. It appears that the Mavs could be willing to trade this pick to make cap room for a Dwight Howard run. Would Utah be willing to help?
Dennis Schroeder 6’2″ 165 lb PG, Germany – He’s being described as a better shooting Rajon Rondo clone. Who wouldn’t like that type of player on their team? If Saric is off the board I would love to see the Jazz use the 14th pick on this guy. Could be the sleeper steal of the draft like Rondo was when he was drafted.
Michael Carter-Williams 6’5″ 184 lb PG, Syracuse – He is long and is a very good distributor. Very bad shooter. His length gives him the ability to guard multiple positions.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 6’6″ 204 lb SG, Georgia – This guy is all over the board when you look at the mock drafts out there. A good shooter, not a high flyer. Legit size to play the 2.
Mason Plumlee 6’11″ 238 lb C, Duke – An athletic, skilled big man who was coached by Coach K for 4 years. I think Plumlee is going to have a fine career as a rotation player in the NBA.
Rudy Gobert 7’2″ 237 lb C, France – This man is a legit 7 feet tall without shoes, an absolute giant. He is young and very raw but he showed great defensive ability at the draft combine. If he is available at 21 I think he’s a strong possibility to go to the Jazz.
Gorgui Dieng 6’10″ 229 lb C, Louisville – A very good rebounder and shot blocker. Also a willing and good passer out of the post. Sounds like someone that would thrive in the Jazz offense.
Shabazz Muhammad 6’5″ 221 lb SG, UCLA – A talented player and scorer but has a checkered past. Would the Jazz be willing to take a flier on this guy with the 14th pick?
Allen Crabbe 6’6″ 197 lb SG, Cal – One of the best shooters in the draft, leaves a lot to be desired on the defensive end. A taller version of Randy Foye?
Steven Adams 6″11″ 254 lb C, Pitt – Had one of the best showings at the combine. Legit NBA center size, good defensive player.
Jamal Franklin 6’5″ 190 lb SG, San Diego St – An energetic player with big time athletic ability. Good rebounder for his position and uber competitive. His 3 point shot needs a lot of work.
Shane Larkin 5’11″ 170 lb PG, Miami – He is very athletic. Had the best vertical leap at the combine at 44″. He is also very fast, sees the floor well and is a terrific shooter. He shot 47.9% from the field last year and 40.6% from 3. If his athletic ability allows him to overcome his height disadvantage, he’d be a solid pick at 21. Could this be the year the Jazz pull a Timberwolves and draft 2 point guards?
Tim Hardaway, Jr. 6’5″ 199 lb SG, Michigan – He is a solid shooter and scorer as he can put the ball in the hoop in a variety of ways. Shot 43.7% from the field last year and 37.4% from 3. Shot selection can be a bit dicey at times.
Tony Snell 6’7″ 198 lb SF, New Mexico – Solid shooter and very athletic. Good length but fairly light in the weight column right now. Needs to add muscle, but shot 39% from 3 last year.
C.J. Leslie 6’8″ 209 lb SF, NC State – Big time athlete. Explosive jumper that likes to finish around the rim. Big time shot blocker. Runs the court well and handles the ball well for his size. Free throw shooting is a concern as he shot only 61.2% from the line last year. Non factor from 3 point range.
Trade - I think it’s a very high possibility the Jazz include the 21st pick in a trade for a veteran. I also think there’s a possibility the Jazz package both picks to move up in the draft, or acquire an extra pick in the draft. Look for them to be active on draft night.
As you can see there are plenty of options and possibilities for the Jazz this year. It will be interesting to see who they bring in for workout and ultimately which direction they go. I expect them to be very active in building the team around Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors. This is where Dennis Lindsey will finally be able to put his stamp on the team and I’m excited to see what he can do.