Mar 8, 2014; Gainesville, FL, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Julius Randle (30) dribbles the ball against the Florida Gators during the first half at Stephen C. O

NBA Draft: Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, or Noah Vonleh?


We are exactly one week away from the 2014 NBA Draft. A lot of Utah Jazz fans, including myself, can’t hardly wait to find out which direction the Jazz are planning on going when it comes time for them to draft.

When you look at mock drafts, the majority of them are all the same. However, there are three names that have popped up in the fifth position more than others. Those names are Noah Vonleh from Indiana, Julius Randle from Kentucky, and Aaron Gordon from Arizona. The Jazz have now worked out all three of these players as of yesterday. Now the question is, which one fits the Jazz roster best?

Mar 29, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Aaron Gordon (11) dribbles against Wisconsin Badgers forward Frank Kaminsky (44) during the second half in the finals of the west regional of the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship tournament at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The first of the three that the Jazz worked out was Gordon. The Jazz, and a lot of fans, really liked Gordon after his workout in Salt Lake City. Gordon is a very athletic big man, and is great on the defensive end. Thanks to his explosiveness and athleticism, Gordon has drawn comparisons to Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers. A lot of these comparisons are due to the fact that Gordon struggles to shoot the ball, and is scoring the majority of his points on lob passes to the rim, like Griffin played to start his career.

As far as how he fits in with the Jazz, I think he can fit in well. With Gordon coming in, Derrick Favors could mainly play the center position, where he is much better. Gordon would also be great on the pick and roll with Jazz point guard, Trey Burke. Trey came in to the league with some comparisons to Chris Paul. If either of them can live up to their comparisons, it could be a great thing for the Jazz franchise.

Vonleh is a guy who I have been very critical about since he started shooting up mock drafts to around the fifth spot where the Jazz are drafting. From what I have watched on him, he looks like he will be a complete bust in the NBA. He does, however, present some things that the Jazz seem to like.

Vonleh is a big man that can stretch out to the three point line and knock down the shot. This gives the Jazz the ability to spread the court, and open things up for Favors down low. This is something that the Jazz will look hard at since that is a direction that newly acquired coach, Quin Snyder, would like to go. However, his three point shooting percentage in college looks good, but he only shot a minimal amount of three pointers in college. His sample size is very small. Chad Ford said this week that he can see a lot of Karl Malone‘s game in Vonleh, I do not see that. I don’t really see Vonleh fitting with the direction the Jazz are wanting to go, and if they draft him, I will more than likely be very critical of the pick until proven wrong.

Randle is a guy who, before the start of the college basketball season, was regarded as one of the top three players in the draft with

Apr 7, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Julius Randle (30) shoots against Connecticut Huskies forward DeAndre Daniels (2) in the second half during the championship game of the Final Four in the 2014 NCAA Mens Division I Championship tournament at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins. He has recently slipped down the draft boards, but I’m really not sure why. Out of all the players in the draft, Randle might have the most NBA ready body. He is very strong and can only get stronger. He is also a rebounding machine, and crashes the boards hard on both offense and defense. Paired up with Favors on the low block, the Jazz might never lose a rebounding battle.

The knock on Randle is needing to work on his shot. Like Gordon, that is an area of concern that the Jazz have. If he can work on his shot, he could be a great fit in Utah.

As of right now, considering these three guys, my big board looks like this:

1. Aaron Gordon

2. Julius Randle

3. Noah Vonleh

The more and more that I watch Randle, the more I see him fitting the best in a Jazz uniform. I have Gordon edging out Randle here, but it really is by the slimmest of margins. Both guys could end up becoming players that the Jazz would regret on passing up.

Tags: Aaron Gordon Julius Randle NBA NBA Draft Noah Vonleh Utah Jazz

  • M T

    Randle can’t play
    defense, only plays one position, plays bad defense, can’t play SF or C,
    doesn’t even score that much to make up for his bad defense, and oh he also has
    bad defense.

    Vonleh could honestly be a bust just bcz of his very low IQ. I wouldn’t waste a lotto pick on him; I would instead trade him to Phx for their 14 and 18 or trade him to Bulls for their 16 and 19 bcz the players at those numbers combine to be better and safer than Vonleh. Phx and Bulls would do the trade bcz everyone is high on this guy.

    Gordon is the answer. He brings elite defense
    from day 1, athleticism, ball handling, passing, a high IQ, hustle, great
    rebounding for his size, and a great work ethic. Who doesn’t like that unique,
    amazing blend of skills? His shooting isn’t a problem because that’s something
    that everyone improves with over time. We can’t expect most 18 year olds to
    have an nba jumper.

    Just a fun fact: Gordon is the YOUNGEST player
    in the draft, yet he had the HIGHEST defensive win shares in college. His team
    was also #1 in defense among the hundreds of colleges throughout the country.
    Coincidence?

    • Cody Powers

      I completely agree with you! Gordon should be number one on the Jazz’s draft board amongst these three guys. Really hoping that is the route the Jazz take.

      • M T

        I’m actually a LA fan…..I wanted LA to draft him….Jazz can just draft uhh Randle. That guy’s totally worth a top 10 pick!!!!!…

    • IDJazzman

      He shot 42% from the FT line! That has major flags all over it.

      • M T

        I already addressed his shooting in my post. Please read why his shooting isn’t a major concern.

        • IDJazzman

          No, your post didn’t address his poor shooting just because he is the youngest player. His shooting MIGHT get better, but when it is that low it will never get to the needed NBA level.

      • polljc

        So u wouldn’t have drafted Malone either. He can learn to shoot the FT.

        • IDJazzman

          Here is a quote from Kevin Pelton that did a comprehensive study on Players and their FT percentages.

          “The experience of Webber and Malone should serve to inspire players working tirelessly in the gym. At the same time, a handful of examples do not set reasonable expectations. In general, history tells us that players are who they are at the free throw line, which is worth remembering the next time you complain about missed free throws.”
          In other words players like Malone are extremely rare. The Jazz will probably have a shot at Embiid at 5 now. Embiid probably has as much chance of playing injury free in the NBA as any player improving their FT shooting percentages by 20%. Gordon is not Malone or Shaquille. He has all the tools, but he will be easy to stop by simply fouling him. So I guess you would have drafted Jan Vesely? The ability to shoot and shoot accurately in the NBA was on full display when the two best shooting teams played for the championship. The Jazz really don’t have any decent shooters and look how many games they won. For me, I’ll take a shooter like Vonleh over Gordon if the choice presents itself.

    • polljc

      Randle has a lot of the same knocks and positives KM did coming in. I watched film on Randle. He has issues but he is an athletic beast. Malone was questioned as a defender. With development I think he is more suited to physical NBA play than Vonleh. I like both but see Vonleh getting bumped around in the paint for a while so has a slower start than Randle.

  • Steven Jaynes

    With Favors and Gordon building the base of their game on defense having both in the team would make the team hard to score against. I would intially question where the scoring might come from if they played 4 and 5 together, however I can see Gordon working on his shot and improving over the years….I just don’t see huge progress in Favors offensive game over the last three years, ….however I can also see that depending on the opposition matchup that with Gordon’s versatility that he will split his playing time at the 4 and the 3 thus allowing Kanter to contribute to the scoreboard. Whereas if we were to draft Vonleh, Kanter may be expendable and that scoring will be lost, and at this point in time I don’t see Vonleh having the natural scoring that Kanter is able to bring to the game. My worry for Randle is he might not be able to bully NBAers the same way he can bully college opposition. Is his game strong enough to adjust to that possibility, to often we’ve seen in the past that college players that can’t rely on their strength struggle to live up to their billing.

    • Cody Powers

      Great points! I just think Gordon is the best option!

    • polljc

      Randle is bully tough and physical, bad rap on D, powerful scorer in the post and no mid range jumper. Much like Malone at LA Tech. Maybe Gordon is better but my gut tells me Randle could explode and quickly in NBA for much the same reason as Malone -beastly physical NBA ready low post body and scoring ability. I don’t recall how well Randal runs the floor but I was impressed how quick and athletic he was moving around. P.S. Malone was labeled a poor defender too. His free throw % was miserable an had no outside or midrange shot.

  • polljc

    Yep! Just like a certain Hall of Fame’r, Randle is coming out of college as a PF without an outside shooting touch. Could it be?