FTL's Draft Preview!! Hooray!

Clark did one of these a month or so ago on players he liked coming out of the draft. I was going to do one around that time but got caught in trying to finish school stuff so I could graduate. Seeing as how I had my last class yesterday and how a lot of the players who are probably going to drop out of the Draft within the lottery already have, well I figured it’s an appropriate time to try and do one.

Basically I’m just going to try to break down possible Jazz draftees from the group of guys I like. Both the obvious choices and some sleeper picks. A lot of us are going to disagree on who we should take and when, or if we should trade up, but that’s half the fun of these things. So without anymore explanation here we go.

Players the Jazz should draft with 6th if they are able without any hesitation (from Strongest to Weakest)

1. Kyrie Irving- PG- Duke- 19 years old, 185 lbs, 6’2

            2011 year stats- 52.9% FG, 46.2% 3pt, 90% FT, 4.3 assists, 17.5 ppg

This is kids legit. He’s the best player in the draft. Best point guard. Everyone knows about him, he was injured for most of the season but still is considered the number one overall. Jazz draft him and he instantly back’s up Harris. After a year you start to consider trading Harris depending on how well Irving develops. He becomes the future PG of the Utah Jazz and maybe, just maybe, we forget about Deron. Regardless, Irving is the kind of PG who can run an offense, he passes well, and he can score. He’s just well rounded. You take him and you don’t even think twice about it.

2. Derrick Williams- PF- Arizona- 19 y/o, 235 lbs, 6’8

            2011 stats- 59.5% FG, 56.8% 3pt, 74.6% FT, 8.3 Rebounds, 19.5 ppg

Williams, another prospect we’ve all debated. Can he play SF? Is he quick enough? Is he big enough to play PF? I think those are questions you risk and draft him anyways. He can score. He shoots a great percentage from the field and from 3 point. He does create a logjam of tweeners though. AK, Evans, Williams, Millsap.  You deal with that though and address those issues after you see how he plays in training camp and the first few months of the season. He probably makes Millsap expendable at some point and we all die when he is traded away. How Williams works out on the court is a different matter. He can certainly stretch the floor with his 3point prowess which would help if he played 3. However, he might become a liability on the defensive side by being too slow to play SFs, too small to play PFs, and not white enough to pull off AK’s Bieber hair.

3. Jan Vesely- International- SF/PF- 20 y/o- 240 lbs- 6’11

            2011 stats- 61% FG, 28.2% 3pt, 54% FT, 4.4 Rebounds, 10.3 Ppg

This is where a lot of people are going to start disagreeing with me I think. A month ago I wanted to avoid the Euro/International players like the plague. That was before someone grabbed the rug out from under the draft and players started running for the hills back to school. So why do I think you take Vesely? Simple, the dude’s length/athletic combination is just ridiculous. 6’11 WHITE athletic SF? Are you kidding me? He finishes great around the rim; he’s extremely athletic, slightly awkward, improving outside shot. Clark mentioned in a twee he thought of him as a Dirk without the outside shot but with more athleticism. I think that hits the button on the nose. I’d play him at SF and let him wreak havoc on all the other puny SFs in the league. He can post them up, jump over them, use his length to disrupt them on the defensive side. He needs to work on his lateral quickness to keep up with other SFs. My dad always said defense is mostly trying to stay between your man and the hoop. If Vesley can do that, he’ll provide problems for other SFs. He could easily slide to PF but I think he needs to add some muscle in order to not be bumped around the post. Plus, unlike many International players he can come over to the NBA quickly and really really really really wants to play in the league. Oh, did I mention he can dunk like nobody’s business?

4. Bismack Biyombo- International- PF/C- Age ?- 240 lbs- 6’9

            2011 stats- 56% FG, 0% 3pt, 55.3% FT, 5.1 Rebounds, 6.4 Ppg, 2.3 Blocks

This guy just came out of nowhere. I’m pretty sure he apparated himself into the top 10 of the lotto, Harry Potter style. His offensive stats aren’t anything to drool about, but his defense is the kind of thing you want to dance around in your underwear about. He’s raw but oozing with defensive potential. He’s long, he’s a shot blocker, he should be able to rebound well in the NBA. With a polished Offensive game which would take a lot of work, he could be a decent put back/post player. The good news is, he works his tail end off. He’s also tough as nails. He’s not going to get pushed around and he’s going to make you work for every point you get off him. The freaky thing is, he has a 7-7 wingspan which is almost 12 inches longer than his height. That is just…. Disgusting. He’s also extremely athletic. He can run the floor well and has adequate coordination. He’s got the heart of a lion too. He’s Kevin Garnett level of passion, I.E. his heart will give out before you outwork/ out emotion him. Normally, I would have put Kanter here at 4. But Bismack (I’m instantly saying his nickname should be B*tchSlap if the Jazz draft him) is growing on me at an alarming rate. In a few weeks I might even have him ahead of Vesley. Don’t sleep on this guy. He’s raw but paired with Favors we could have one of the best defensive frontcourts in the NBA. Maybe we could teach him to yell: AND ONE!

5. Enes Kanter-International/Kentucky-C- 18y/o- 250lbs- 6’10"

I’d put 2011 stats but there are none! Why? The NCAA’s rule enforcement is a joke and Kanter got screwed. He turned down money playing in Europe to come to school at Kentucky and play in the NCCA but do to some mind fart by the league they wouldn’t let him play forcing him to sit out. Regardless of that, Kanter is still a lottery pick. In fact, he could be the most polished big man in the draft. He’s not very big or athletic but he is successful by how he uses his body and positions himself. He doesn’t have as high of ceiling as other Bismack or Valanciunas but he’s more refined than Bismack at this point and he is actually in the country and able to play in the NBA unlike Valanciunas. I’d like to think he’d be an instant upgrade over Fesenko and would provide a back up at Center to Jefferson. I put Kanter here because he’ll be able to come in and make an immediate impact but he’ll likely only be a role player/starter. I kind of feel like he is this year’s Cole Aldrich. Won’t be flashy, just solid.

6. Jonas Valanciunas-International-C- 18 y/o- 240- 6’11"

            2011 stats- 70%FG, 0% 3pt, 91.7% FT, 5.4 rebounds, 7.6 pgg

A lot of people have Valanciunas way higher up on the board. I have him this low because of his contract issues in Europe. He probably wouldn’t be able to come over for a couple years which I don’t think is a positive. When you’re trying to rebuild a young core of guys you want those guys to play together as soon as possible. You want them to be able to mesh together and learn the system. I think we are in a prime position with the 6th position to take a player who can come in and make an instant impact, not one who is going to sit over in Europe for a few years. That being said, Valanciunas has the potential to be a good Center in the league. His Per 40s are very good: 21 pts, 13.6 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, shoots a very high percentage from field and free throw. He’s got a more polished game than Bismack, he’s longer than Kanter, and if he could come over right away he would be an instant impact. His contract situation scares me though and that’s why I’ve dropped probably the best Center in the draft down to 6th.

The Jazz’s 12th pick is a little trickier because IMO it really depends on who you’re taking at 6th. If you’re taking one position, you don’t turn around and pick a player from that same position. So if you take Irving, you don’t take Jimmer with the 12th. My opinion at this point is instead of taking the best player available, you take the best player available at a different position. Also, in a draft where a lot of the better players have decided to stay in school, I think you also can reach for players at 12. You’re going to go for "your" guy, the one you really really like regardless of if he is the 12th projected overall, or the 28th. You take the guy who you’ve worked out numerous times, interviewed, and yea. I’m sure you get the point. So with this list I’m just going to rank the players again from Strongest to Weakest in my opinion and assume if that position has already been taking you skip the guys who repeat that position and go to the next.

Players with the Jazz’s 12th pick (ranked from Strongest to Weakest)

1. Terrence Jones- Kentucky-SF- 19 y/o- 244lbs- 6’8"

            2011 stats- 44.2% FG, 32.9% 3pt, 64.4 % FT, 8.8 Rebounds, 1.1 Stls, 1.9 Blocks, 15.7 ppg

If you’ve followed me on Twitter (@JasonForTheLove) or have read any of my comments on previous draft discussion, you know that I have a man crush on Jones. Originally I wanted the Jazz to take him at the 6th spot. He’s fallen down a little and I think he is an absolute STEAL/HOMERUN at 12. Many had him placed in the top 3 when the season began because he got off to a torrid start. His numbers slid as the season progressed but the memory of what he was doing at the beginning of the season still has me drooling. Things you need to know about this kid. He used to play PG but outgrew the position. He never lost his ball handling skills though. He looks silky smooth with the ball in his hand, he can dribble, dish, and drive. He’s Odom but I think with better handles. The other thing that stands out is how athletic he is. He’s got hops. He gets up and blocks shots, rebounds over people, and finishes at the rim.  He has a very well developed body (no homo). He has the size and quickness to play defense on SFs and could probably even move over and play defense on the smaller PFs in the game. When he feels motivated he plays very good defense and rebounds exceptionally well. His downfall is that his jump shot mechanics are wrong and if it wasn’t for a drop in his 3pt% he’d be a top 5 pick in my opinion. Regardless, he instantly makes the SF position long and athletic. I think he can become the starter who replaces AK. Also to note, the kid isn’t a head case. I don’t know where people keep getting that from. He’s 19 years old who just needs some direction. He’s not, I repeat, He’s NOT a Cousins or Ron Artest. I know this pick is going to have people shaking their head but oh well.

2. (SLEEPER ALERT)- Reggie Jackson- Boston College- PG- 21 y/o- 208 lbs- 6’3

            2011 stats- 50.3% FG, 42% 3pt, 79.6% FT, 4.5 Assists, 1.1 steals, 18.2 ppg

Meet Reggie Jackson. I don’t know how many of you have heard of this kid but let me be the first to extend an introduction. If Terrence Jones is my man crush, Reggie Jackson is his hot best friend who I want to get with too. This kid is projected to go mid 20’s but I think he is the 3rd best PG in the draft (Irving, Knight). Yes, better than Kemba. Yes, better than Jimmer. Yes, better than Burks (who is more of a 2 guard IMO). So why do I have the Jazz reaching for him at 12? He’s extremely athletic with a RIDICULOUS wing span. He shoots a high percentage from 3pt, he dishes the ball extremely well, and he gets to the rim. He has the size to match up with other PGs in the league and the length to disruption. He also has the makings of being able to command the floor and run an offense. He has a 1.88 assists to turnover ratio and has continued to mature over the course of his play at B.C. I think he instantly backups Harris and could potentially turn into the starter by the Harris’ contract expires. If not he’ll be a great backup PG who will bring something different to the table than Harris. He’s a weird combination of Burks’ length, Jimmer’s shooting, and Irving’s court awareness. I’d love him at the 12th pick and wouldn’t even think twice about it. I’ve also heard the Jazz are interested in him through twitter feeds. So keep your eye open for this sleeper.

3. Alec Burks- Colorado- PG/SG- 19 y/o- 200lbs- 6’6"

            2011 stats- 46.9% FG, 29.2% 3pt, 82.5% FT, 6.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 20.5 ppg

Alec Burks… What do you do with a SG who can’t shoot from the outside? That’s the main issue with Burks. One thing is for sure though, he’s a very good scorer. He gets to the basket and creates open shots for himself. He is very good in isolation. Has very good speed, agility, finesse, and ball handling skills. He also draws fouls at a pretty good rate and can kill you from the line. He has good size and length with adequate enough speed to guard backcourts in the NBA. He probably needs to and some muscle to his frame to make him a little bulkier.  He is a great rebounding wing who seems to have a knack for finding the ball and positioning himself well. He seems like a better Ronnie Brewer with the ability to fix his outside shot. Regardless, he’s going to find ways to score and to contribute to the team right away. I view him as a two but some believe that he might be able to handle the PG situation. I’ve heard him compared to Russell Westbrook in many respects too. I’d prefer to keep him at the two and have him back up Hayward.  Maybe one day we’ll even see him with a milk mustache on TV!

4.  JIMMMMMMMMERRRRR- Superhero from BYU- PG- 22 y/o- 195 lbs- 6’2"

            2011 stats- 45.2% FG, 39.6% 3pt, 89.4% FT, 4.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 28.9 ppg

Do we need to discuss him more? We all know the arguments. He can’t play defense, he can’t run an offense, he’s an amazing shooter, yadda yadda. I’m a BYU fan and if the Jazz draft him, awesome. If not, awesome. He’s going to give you something no one else will. He is going to instantly spread the floor because he can throw up shots from the locker room and drain them. As a 6th man/ specialist I think Jimmer could excel on the Jazz. Everyone thinks he needs to go to an offense like Golden State where he can dominate the ball and shoot however much he wants. Yea, that’s all fine and dandy, but you’re telling me you don’t want one of the best shooters in the game to be curling off screens and getting open looks in our offense? You’re crazy. I think he’d fit fine in our offense and in a certain role. He’s not the future at PG, but he could be a key piece as a contender. That’s all I’m going to say. We all have our opinions of him.

5. Jordan Hamilton- Texas- SF- 20 y/o- 210lbs- 6’7"

            2011 stats- 44% FG, 38.5% 3pt, 77.9% FT, 7.7 Rebounds, 2.1 assists, 18.6 ppg

Texas tried to run part of the Jazz’s offense this year which would give Hamilton a heads up coming into training camp if the Jazz were to draft him. The sophomore from Texas had a decent season stepping into his new role as the go to guy. He’s a pretty good outside shooter who is exception when he has the ability to set his feet and square up. He has NBA range and would be able to spread the floor from the SF position. Ironically, what he lacks is his ability to score off the dribble where he often appears awkward and rushed. His biggest weakness though, is his defense. He struggles. He seems to lack lateral quickness and often lets his man blow by him as he attempts a swipe at the ball. I really wish we could combine Hamilton’s outside shot with Terrence Jones. They’d be Lebron James scary. Anyone want to work a device that can do that? Regardless, Hamilton would be able to make an impact coming off the bench as a scorer or in a situation where he has help defenders around him.

6. (SLEEPER) Chris Singleton- FSU- SF- 21 y/o- 210lbs- 6’8"

            2011 stats- 43.4% FG, 36.8% 3pt, 66.7% FT, 6.8 Rebounds, 2 stls, 1.5 blocks, 13.1 ppg

Chris Singleton is a defensive monster. He’s not the offensive guy a lot of us are looking for but he would instantly make an impact on the defensive end. What’s odd about his offensive game is that he has great mechanics but lacks the touch to guide the ball into the hoop. I think Horny could do wonders helping this kid find the touch. Mechanics are much harder to correct but it seems like he already has those. His shooting percentage has gone up this year in all e percentage areas and he’s scoring more efficiently despite being on poor offensive team. He doesn’t have the ball handling skills to really create an offense but he should be great at working without the ball. Crashing boards, put backs, etc. Like I said though, his defense is what is intriguing. Singleton has great lateral speed, size and length. He can stay in front of his man and cuts passing lanes down. He can match up to a variety of positions playing undersized PFs all the way down to over sized SGs on the perimeter. He has great anticipation which is reflected in his steals and blocked shots. If he can fix his offensive game to match up with his defensive game, Singleton can be a great great role player. I could see him eventually replacing AK’s defense and coming straight into the NBA he’d give our second unit a great defensive player to pair Favors with.

Honorable Mentions: Klay Thompson, SF, from Washington State. Marcus Morris, PF, Kansas. Travis Leslie, SG/SF, Georgia. Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State.

This has gotten pretty long so I’ll just close with a  few scenarios.

If the Jazz win the Lotto with the 12th pick giving them the 1st and 7th picks in the draft I would hope the Jazz drafted Irving and then Jan Vesely.

If the Jazz win the Lotto with the 6th pick giving them the 1st and 12th picks in the draft I would hope the Jazz take Irving and Terrence Jones.

If the Jazz stay at 6th and 12th in the draft I would hope the Jazz take Jan Vesely and Reggie Jackson. My second two choices would be Bismack Biyombo and Terrence Jones.

Sorry this got so long! Feel free to leave arguments, questions, swear words, name calling, and compliments in comments below and I’ll try to respond in a similar fashion. I also plan on doing a mock draft once the draft order is set and we know who has declared for the draft.

Note: Looks like the positioning and alignment got thrown off when I pasted it into here. Sorry about that! It was also a pain to try and embed the videos in so hopefully the youtube video links work for player previews/highlights.

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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