As you can tell from the list I posted a few days ago that can be seen right here http://purpleandblues.com/2013/05/22/disappointed-the-utah-jazz-didnt-win-the-lottery-dont-be/, there are a lot of possibilities for the Utah Jazz in the draft this year. Today I want to take a look at two of the big men that could be available at 14 and 21, Rudy Gobert and Steven Adams. Both are foreign born players, Gobert from France and Adams from New Zeland. Adams however did play 1 season of college ball at Pitt so more information is available on him. Both are athletic, young bigs with a lot of upside and would be intriguing to see what they could do alongside Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
Steven Adams was a Freshman Center for the Pitt Panthers this past season. He measured in at just under 6’11” without shoes and 7’0″ even with them. He has a nice 7’4.5″ wingspan and a 9’1.5″ standing reach. He has a standing vertical leap of 28.5″ which is pretty average for a guy his size. He weighs 255 lbs, has big hands and during his lone college season was known mostly as a defensive player. He averaged 7.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, and 2 bpg. He showed that athletic ability and defensive prowess at the combine but also surprised everyone with a smooth jumpshot and much improved offensive game. This has led to him shooting up mock drafts and big boards everywhere. Before the combine he was projected to go in the 20s, now many (including me) project him to go in the lottery. This obvious improvement and the fact that he is only 19 years old has many believing that he has the upside to be a hot commodity on draft night. I can see his skill set fitting in nicely forming a tough 3 man rotation with Favors and Kanter.
Rudy Gobert is a giant of a man. He measured at a legit 7’0.5″ without shoes and 7’2″ with them. He has an outstanding 7’8.5″ wingspan and a 9’7″ standing reach! He can literally almost touch the rim by just standing underneath it and reaching up. He only weighed in at 237 lbs but when you look at his body, he definitely has the frame to add on another 20-25 lbs. He also only had a 25″ standing leap but at that size who care? He played ball this past season for Cholet of the French Pro A Basketball League. His numbers will not wow you as he only averaged 8.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, and 1.9 bpg in 23 mpg. As with Adams he shined on the defensive side of the ball at the combine as a force to be reckoned with. He is young, tall, athletic and can get a lot stronger. The combination of athleticism and height is what is catching people’s attention and pretty much securing his place as a 1st round selection. As everyone from Frank Layden to Kevin O’Conner has said, “You can’t teach height!” I would be very curious to see what sort of havoc Gobert and Favors could wreck together on the defensive side of the ball.
Both players run the floor well for big men, are good rebounders and would add athleticism and length to the team. They fit right in with Dennis Lindsey’s taking a step back to take two steps forward philosophy. They both appear to be teachable and willing to put in the work to become better. Don’t be surprised to hear the Jazz draft Adams with the 14th pick or Gobert with the 21st pick. If Adams is available at 14 I would not be surprised at all to see the Jazz go small and draft Shane Larkin at 21. This draft has so many possibilities and these two young big men could very well be pieces to the puzzle the Jazz are putting together.