Before the 2014 NBA season even started, the focus has been on the upcoming NBA Draft. A lot of that focus has been put on a fantastic freshman class that includes Jabari Parker from Duke, Andrew Wiggins from Kansas, Julius Randle from Kentucky, and Joel Embiid from Kansas. All of these freshman will be drafted in the top five in the draft.
Concerning the Utah Jazz, the ESPN analysts and others have projected the Jazz to be in the top five of the lottery, but that is looking like it most likely will not be the case. The Jazz have a record of 21-39, and are currently tied for the sixth worst record in the league with the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Jazz have not been consistent this season, but they haven’t been healthy all season. When healthy, the Jazz are a pretty good team and actually have a winning record.
If the Jazz finish out their season where I think they will, they will more than likely end up picking somewhere between six and eight in the upcoming NBA Draft. There is always a possibility that the Jazz, if needing to, could trade up in the lottery. Having two first round draft picks could intrigue some other teams to do a trade, but my guess is with as good as this class is at the top, nobody will want to trade out of the top five. Is drafting sixth through eighth really all that bad? Let’s take a look more into the players available.
Aaron Gordon – 6’8″, 210 pounds, Power Forward
Gordon, out of the University of Arizona, is another freshman that could crack into that top five of the lottery. Gordon is an athletic big man with a wingspan of 6’11.5″. On ESPN, regarding Gordon, they say that “After Andrew Wiggins, Gordon might be the most athletic prospect. He’s basically a clone of Blake Griffin.”
If Gordon can come into the NBA and even come remotely close to being a Blake Griffin clone, the Jazz would be in great shape. The Jazz have a core consisting of Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter. If Corbin decides that he wants to make that his starting lineup next season, having a guy that COULD be Blake Griffin coming off your bench is something I think any team would be excited about.
Marcus Smart – 6’4″, 225 pounds, Point Guard
Smart wasn’t very smart when he decided to push a fan during their game a few weeks ago at Texas Tech. Some analysts talked that it may hurt his draft stock a little bit, while others said this was something that would blow over and GM’s will look past it. Looking at draft boards right now, most have Smart falling to this six through eight range. How could the Jazz draft a point guard though? The reason drafting Smart could be a good idea, is that I think a team can draft him to play shooting guard instead of point.
The only downside I really see to Smart is his outside shooting. As of now, Smart is shooting 29.3% from the outside, which I think everyone is pretty aware that those numbers are bad. However, I think he is someone that you can get a good shooting coach with and help him out. His defense is very good and he is explosive. He can go off for 20 or more points every night. If you add him to the mix, you can either start him or start Alec Burks and bring Smart off the bench. Also, you can bring one of them in for Trey and Smart can play a little bit of point guard as well. There are a lot of people that aren’t really high on Smart, but I think he could be a good fit in Utah.
Doug McDermott – 6’7″, 210 pounds, Small Forward
Most Jazz fans that you talk to are pretty much on the same page that the Jazz could really use a scorer at small forward. Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins could be that guy if the Jazz could ever get high enough to draft one of them, but McDermott is another small forward that could make Jazz fans happy.
McDermott is regarded as one of the smartest basketball players in the country. Scouts love his game and have said his basketball IQ is off the charts. So far this season, McDermott is averaging 26.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. The guy can flat out shoot the ball. I for one, would be thrilled to have him in Utah. Also, he is finishing his Senior year at Creighton. Typically, guys that stay in college until their Senior year are more mature and can become better players. Prime example of a guy staying in college and waiting to enter the NBA Draft is Damian Lillard. It can work out to be a very good thing. I think McDermott can be a very good NBA player with his shooting ability.
All three of these players could be someone the Jazz will look at to bring to Utah if they can’t break into the top five of the lottery. All three of these players could work out very well in Utah. I think once you look past the fact that Jabari, Wiggins, and others are more than likely not coming to Utah and start looking at other possible options, the Jazz can still find a great piece to add to what they already have.