Chad Ford Says Jazz Leaning Toward Brazilian Forward
RICHFIELD, UT—4:13 P.M.—With the release of Chad Ford’s latest mock draft, dubbed “Mock Draft 5.0,” an unfamiliar name leaped into the lottery: Lucas Nogueira, of Brazil.
Supposedly pulled from the depths of the draft by the Jazz’s stretched grasp, Nogueira finds himself an unlikely lottery pick in Chad Ford’s latest draft installment.
Surpassing the likes of Shabazz Muhammad, Shane Larkin, Mason Plumlee, Kelly Olynyk, Dennis Schroeder, Rudy Gobert, and Gorgui Dieng, the Brazilian center/forward seems like an interesting reach at 14th overall for the Jazz.
His measurements stack up to be 7’0″ tall, 215-220 pounds, 7’6″ wingspan, with a 9’6″ standing reach. He’s a little slender at 215-220 pounds, but his mobility and athleticism are impressive.
The Jazz could, in essence, take a gamble on him. His offensive game is extremely raw and he is entirely a catch-and-finish-at-the-rim player at this point. Nogueira makes troubling decisions with the ball and turns it over, unforced, at an astounding rate. But, all else aside, he is very athletic and protects the rim, averaging over three blocks per-40 minutes. If considering Nogueira, the Jazz would be looking at a third big in the rotation to complement Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
However, Lucas Nogueira’s frame is of question at only 215 pounds. He is bullied on the block and doesn’t have enough strength to post up players. Scouts are worried about Nogueira for the same reasons they pause when it comes to projected No. 1 pick Nerlens Noel. But, more than any other red flag, Lucas Nogueira might not be playing in the NBA next season due to his contract with Barcelona.
Why the Jazz won’t draft him: He is seen as a “draft-and-stash” product who will be playing in Barcelona for the foreseeable future, and probably the next few years. The Jazz need players, not stashed projects. Chad Ford failed to realize this in his latest mock draft.
*Ford did not reply to a direct question sent about Nogueira’s contract issues via Twitter.
The question NBA teams will have to ask themselves is just how much he’ll continue to improve over the next few years. Turning 21 in July, he hasn’t put on a great deal of bulk to his frame in the past few years, as it’s not quite clear how much work he’s put in in the weight room. His love of the game, work ethic and overall mentality has been questioned by people who have worked closely with him in years past, even if he’s received nothing but strong reports this season from the people at Estudiantes. He’s definitely still a year or two away at the very least from being able to contribute at the NBA level from a physical standpoint, even if he’s in a terrific situation to continue to improve if his role increases next season [in Barcelona].
…Despite all the question marks, players with Nogueira’s physical tools and talent are rare and coveted commodities, and there isn’t a great deal of risk for an NBA team picking outside the top-20 to draft him and see what comes out of him….