I'm going to assume that none of you have been living under a rock for the past week or so. So you know that Deron Williams is currently a Net, and Derrick Favors and Devin Harris are your newest Jazz-men. I'm not here to break down those guys - Amar has already looked at the mystery that is Derrick Favors if you're interested.
I will include my $0.02 though - because I feel like it. No, I don't like how the Deron era ended. Unnecessary (maybe?) rumors of backstabbing, questions about his future here, and on and on. That said, if Kevin O'Connor and Greg Miller (or whomever was involved in the decision) figured that Deron was not going to resign with the team, then its better to trade him now than to go through a Carmelo Anthony type of situation - which seemed to impact the Nuggets on the court even while the team tried their hardest to please him. As for our return - I've always liked Devin Harris (I wanted the Jazz to draft him out of college in 2004, but sadly he went too early and we ended up with Kris Humphries, Kirk Snyder and a pick from Dallas that was eventually used in the trade that net us Deron Williams). Hopefully he's able to excel here. As for Derrick Favors - I was one of us SLC Dunkers that would've loved to see the Jazz somehow land him in the draft this year. Of course, things didn't work out and we ended up with Gordon Hayward, while the Nets kept shopping Favors. And in the end, that allowed us to snag him as well - and all the potential that he comes with.
But I digress - that's not what this post is about, despite what it may seem like. Instead, I will look at the rest of the haul the Jazz got in the trade - two first round draft picks. (Yes, yes, I know O'Connor's first round drafting has been questionable at best, but it is still my favorite time of the year.) The first pick is an unprotected first-rounder from the Nets for this season. The second is a lottery protected pick from the Warriors (which the Nets got for trading Marcus Williams).
So, looking to the draft (admittedly, I'm behind - I didn't think the Jazz would have a pick this season).
How Many Picks Do We Have Then?
Um… I can't tell you for sure. There is at least one, the one from the Nets. The Jazz own first rounder is up in the air - if it is in the top 16, the Jazz keep it. If not, it goes to Minnesota (part of the Al Jefferson trade). The Jazz are also owed a draft pick from Memphis for the Ronnie Brewer trade, but contrary to what I thought before, the Jazz will never see it - it was moved to Minnesota as part of that same Jefferson deal. So we don't need to worry about it. So that leaves us with either 1 or 2 draft picks, depending on the Jazz final record. And if I'm reading this right (scroll down), the Jazz could potentially make the playoffs and still keep their pick - though that would take the Eastern Conference's lower seeds playing out of their minds to end the season (they'd need to have a better record than the Jazz - every single one of them) and the Jazz finishing 7th or 8th in the West. Yeah, doesn't seem likely. So it'll probably be "playoffs or draft pick". … And given how Kevin O'Connor drafts in the mid-first round, it could very easily be "playoffs or bust." (Bad joke?)
Meanwhile, the Jazz will seemingly be without a second rounder; they dealt it to Chicago in the Carlos Boozer deal. It appears that pick was protected, but I can't find out the protection on it. (Why would you trade a second rounder with protection?)
You Said We Got Two Picks...
Yeah, one is from the Warriors. That one is protected through the top-7 in 2012, top-7 in 2013 and top-6 in 2014. It gets worse after that, so we'll ignore that and hope the Warriors get better. So we'll worry about that one next year. Assuming we still have the pick.
So What Will We Do If We Keep The Nets Pick?
Of course, there's always the option of trading the pick - but there's so many options with that that I'm not going to get into that. I mean technically, 99% of the players in the league could be had for a first round pick. And you don't want to read that. This post is already going to be too long.
Currently, the Nets pick is in the lottery. According to the way too addictive ESPN draft lottery game (okay fine, maybe I'm a bit crazy), that has us with a 6.3% chance of getting the 1st pick right now. So, the options really depend. The top 3 picks are pretty much a toss up in terms of who to take, but the chances they fall to #7 (or #10, which is where the Jazz would draft if everything went completely wrong), are pretty slim. Meanwhile, the options for the Jazz if they keep their own pick will differ as well.
Well, lets see. Earl Watson & Ronnie Price will be free agents. So a back-up PG. Francisco Elson & Kyrylo Fesenko will be free agents. So a big, maybe. And, obviously, a wing that can score. Consistently would be nice. And then bench depth, though I've covered pretty much every position already. So yeah, anything really.
Just Get To The Players, Will You?
Fine fine … options at #7 (or better, if we're lucky): What you'll see is that there are plenty of wing options - but all SFs, but no SGs. There's also a PG and a couple of bigs.
PG Kyrie Irving, Duke- If you need a PG, he's probably your guy. Unfortunately, teams can't be sure - he only played 8 games this season before getting hurt and probably won't be back until draft workout time. He can be a lockdown defender and is a good athlete with range on his jumper, but can be a bit score-happy at times. So like almost every other PG in the league now. If the Jazz decide Harris isn't the guy, or if they're afraid he's going to leave, and Irving is available, he'd be an awesome pick. (Yes, that's my opinion, not a proven fact. Yet.) NBADraft.net compares him to Chris Paul/Mike Conley - which is a really wide range.
F Perry Jones, Baylor- Like Irving, you're probably not going to be able to watch him during March Madness, but for a different reason. His team, barring a lot of wins in the Big 12 tournament, won't make it. That doesn't diminish his skills though. His position seems to be up in the air; ESPN & DraftExpress say PF, NBADraft say SF due to his ball-handling skills. In fact, if you read his scouting reports, he sounds a lot like Andrei Kirilenko. Except that he's not Russian. ESPN mentions he's been compared to T-Mac, Odom & KG.
PF Jared Sullinger, Ohio State- A 6'9 PF. Not sure if that's what we need, but he is compared to Kevin Love by NBADraft, so there is that. He's a beast in the paint offensively, but isn't much of a shot blocker. In fact, there are big questions about his defensive intensity and play that he's going to have to answer. Though given that we've taken a shot on Al Jefferson and Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur, I'm guessing that doesn't matter too much. He is a "dominant rebounder," though you probably got that from the Love comparison. DraftExpress says he's built in the same mold as Love/Luis Scola/Paul Millsap, so there is that.
F Derrick Williams, Arizona- Another 6'9 guy, though there's a split on whether he's a PF or a SF. He's got a solid jump shot, a lot of potential, and gets to the line. He can play inside or outside, but needs some work on his jumper. He's not a great rebounder as a PF, but has improved his offensive rebounding. He has shot up the boards this season - he was barely rated as a top 100 prospect coming out of high school and was not viewed as a lottery pick to start the year. ESPN says comparisons to Thaddeus Young & David West, which seems odd because they aren't very similar players.
SF Harrison Barnes, North Carolina- Coming into the season, he seemed to be the favorite to go #1, but has fallen off a bit. He's shifted from being a post player to working on the wing, meaning he's got a pretty big learning curve. He's worked on his midrange game, but is still streaky from outside. He makes an effort on defense, which is always good, and could occasionally play a point-forward role (a la Kirilenko) in the half court game.
C Enes Kanter, Turkey- A sub-7 foot center. Not that that's bad, but yeah. And a project from Europe. Before you compare him to our previous experiences with foreign project bigs (Kyrylo Fesenko, Kosta Koufos), realize a couple things. First, Kanter can handle the ball and pass. Second, he can finish at the hoop - and doesn't mind the contact. Third, he's more offensive minded than either of them. Fourth, did I mention that he can handle a pass? He has a history of knee problems and is not an explosive athlete. Has range on his jumper and can be a force on the boards. ESPN says some scouts compare him to Andrew Bogut. Which would be awesome (though I wouldn't mind the actual Bogut either).
SF Terrence Jones, Kentucky- He is a great passer/ball-handler and can score from anywhere on the floor. He can play 3 to 4 positions on the floor and has a huge wingspan. On the downside, he has an unorthodox shot and can fall in love with 3-pointers. He thrives on the perimeter and has the range for it, which the Jazz could really use. Minus the falling in love with it. I've seen two reports now comparing him to Lamar Odom.
If the Jazz go big early, there are wing options at #14 (or around there) should they keep that pick.
G Jimmer Fredette, BYU- You knew he would show up. I'll be honest, I don't think he's worth a lottery pick - he's a scorer but that's about it. I'd prefer lottery picks to be able to contribute in many areas. Fredette can score with the best of them, no questions asked. But as a PG, I'm not sold on his passing skills/ball control. And he'll struggle defensively against the PGs in the league, and is too short to handle the 2-guards. But he plays hard and can shoot from anywhere; if the Jazz decide they just want a shooter, he makes the most sense. But if you want a future starting PG/SG, he's probably not your guy. Comparisons to Stephen Curry are everywhere.
SF Jordan Hamilton, Texas- Exactly what you want in a SF. Wing player with great range and a dangerous scorer. He's aggressive and has toned down his wild shot selection from last year. He's getting better at passing the ball well and a good rebounder. He can be a bit selfish, but that seems true of most players that handle the ball nowadays. ESPN says many scouts compare him to Rashard Lewis; whether that is good or bad is for you to decide.
SF Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State- He's not much offensively; his jump shot is inconsistent yet he takes a high number of off-balance shots. He struggles around the basket and if his shot is contested. But he plays with a lot of energy and is athletic. He has the potential to be great defensively, which could become his calling card in the NBA. He's a great rebounder and has very long arms. He can guard multiple positions. If the Jazz can take an offensive-minded player with their earlier pick, Leonard would (in my mind) be a great addition with the second pick.
SG Alec Burks, Colorado- He's the type of 2-guard that would've fit the Sloan system perfectly - excellent slasher and finishes well around the hoop. He's a streaky shooter from the perimeter and lacks range on the three-ball. He needs to work on his spot up shooting. He has the ability to become a strong defender; has quick hands and feet and long arms. He has good anticipation in jumping passing lanes. He's a good free throw shooter too. Good rebounder for a wing. He's been compared to Eddie Jones & Evan Turner - can you imagine getting Derrick Favors AND the next Evan Turner in consecutive years. It'd be like winning last year's draft! Of course, it'd take Burks' developing well, but we can take that gamble. I mean, if we can gamble on DeShawn Stevenson, we can gamble on just about anyone.
Of course, there's a lot of time left before the draft. Draft stocks will change - with March Madness and draft camps around the corner, many things will change. But if you want to watch any of the players in action, March Madness will be your chance. Scouting reports are available in many places… NBADraft.net, DraftExpress.com, ESPN.com (Insider only, unfortunately).
I haven't spent much time preparing for this draft, unfortunately. I didn't think the Jazz would have a pick, so I ignored it. Things have changed, but until I have time to look at players better, I can only go with the things I've read (the reports above).
Any players stand out to anyone. I know its early, but who would you like to see the Jazz target (preferably except Jimmer - I already know half the fans here want the Jazz to take him but that doesn't help me at all).