Normally, draft talk wouldn't start until maybe late April, if not May or early June. But with the lockout having no apparent end in sight, let's talk about 3 ball players that could be on the Jazz's radar come draft time. Depending on how good the reception is on this post, I'll post occasional insights on key college guys.
A few things we don't know: for one, where will we be drafting? We have the potential to have 2 lottery picks or no picks at all. Second, what needs to we have? That is a difficult question to answer without having seen Hayward or Favors in their second seasons, how Burks and Kanter will pan out, or what Harris will be like in his first full year as starting PG.
All the same, let's look at three guys we should keep tabs on as their season progresses.
1. Austin Rivers- Duke, SG
Son of former NBAer and Celtic head coach Doc Rivers, Austin's best attribute may well be his pedigree. Early season averages are 13.3 points and 2.5 assists.
Strengths- He is billed as a strong scorer. Has a good outside shot and seems to be able to drive to the ball well (his mechanics seems decent, but he's struggling with that right now) Seems to draw fouls at a decent clip.
Weaknesses- might have some attitude problems- at the least , he seems immature. Struggling so far this season. Sebastian Pruiti has a great write-up on why that might be. From what I've seen, Rivers is all but useless on offense without the ball in his hands. I'm drawing from a small eyeball sample, but he just is really ineffective without the ball.
How would he fit with the Jazz? Rivers has potential to be a go to scorer. That is always in demand. However, his skill set may be identical to Alec Burks, and they play the same position (don't be fooled into the idea that Rivers is a PG) Again, without knowing if Burks will pan out or not, it is difficult to tell how Rivers would fit into the team right now.
UPDATE: Here is a Chad Ford article on Rivers.
2. Anthony Davis - Kentucky, PF
Why on earth would we draft ANOTHER PF when we have 6 PF/Cs under contract, 2 of them recent lotto picks? Well, Davis might be one of those can't miss prospects. So far he is averaging, 12.8 points, 7.8 boards and a whopping 4.5 blocks. He's a good defender, and if he can be a good interior defender we may well have to draft him and figure the rest out later. Of course, he'll be a top 3 pick, and where the Jazz's picks project to be in the 7-14 range, he'll be long gone. He had a late growth spurt, so he has the skills of a wing, but the size (6'10") of a PF/C. The biggest knock on Davis is his weight. Only 220.
3. Myck Kabongo- Texas, PG
Averaging 12 points, 4 boards and 6.3 assists so far. 4 boards for a PG is especially impressive. The kid is a floor general- frequently compared to Rondo. Texas runs a flex offense based on the Jazz's. He could have a seamless transition running our O. The big knock on Kabongo is his shooting- an appalling 34.8% from the field and 14.3% from the 3 point line. That is bad. Dreadful bad. Also, he is small in stature- 6'1", 169.
4. Tim Hardaway, Jr. - Michigan, SG
Son's of famous dad's always have a lot to live up to, poor kids. John Quincy was no John Adams. Many a King's son ruined their father's kingdom. Patrick Ewing Jr. or David Stockton are not the HOFers their fathers are. Same for poor Tim Jr. He'll never be as good as his dad. But he is pretty good in his own right. He's a 6'6" SG, but a but a bit light at 185. He's averaging 14.3, 2.3 boards and 3 assists, but his best game was today vs Memphis were he had 21-7-5. His FG % is a respectable 48.5%, with about 35% from the 3. Chad Ford tweeted on him today
Really nice game from Tim Hardaway Jr. Lots of scouts here impressed with him both in game an in practice. Possible 1st rd pick?
Like this tweet says, Tim is only a "possible" first round pick. This is a guy the Jazz could look at if they somehow have a great season, or in a trade acquire a late first round pick. I see him as a rotation guy. I doubt he'll be a star like his father, or even a career starter, but I could see him fulfilling the same type of role Deshawn Stevenson did for the Mavs last season or what Shandon Anderson was to the late 90s Jazz. Something along those lines. But his stock seems to be rising, so keep an eye on him.
The next batch of players I'd be interested in working on would include Gators Brad Beal and Patrice Young, Harrison Barnes and possibly one of the Kentucky wings like Gilchrist or Jones. Let me know if any of you are interested.