Hello All, it's been a while for me posting on here, I've been working nonstop on finishing up my master's research and sorting through job offers, life is good. I am also excited in anticipation from the Jazz's coaching search as well as the lottery and draft results in the ensuing months.
Today's post will be looking at the likely top 8 picks (since we are picking somewhere in that range) and how they would hypothetically mesh with our potential team next year (assuming we keep them all for next year).
Cheesy Pro-tank motto: Riggin for Wiggins
The Lowdown: This young man is the top guy that most GMs have been drooling for all season if not longer. He is a 6'8" 19 year old 2nd team All American with off-the-charts athletic ability ideal for transition play. He averaged 17 points and 6 rebounds per game off of 45 FG% and 34 3P%. The question mark surrounding him is his tentative, unaggressive habits that can lead him to disappear from the game for stretches at a time which could hold him back from being an all time great.
Where Would He Fit In: Wiggins would be a lock for the starting small forward spot on 27 NBA teams already as a rookie! (Heat, Thunder, and Pacers are the 3 where it would be questionable) The likely starting lineup for the Jazz would be Burke at point guard, either Hayward or Burks at shooting guard with the other coming off the bench, Wiggins at small forward, then Kanter and Favors as the bigs. We could basically see a rotation similar to this year but with Wiggins being in RJ's a place, in other words, the biggest upgrade of all time! This is THE PLAYER that could lead us to contender status within 1-2 seasons. However, I could see Hayward or Burks becoming very expendable (from the front office's point of view) with this draft pick. Burks trade probability: 20%, Hayward trade probability: 40%.
Cheesy Pro-tank motto: Sorry for Jabari
The Lowdown: The other highly touted freshman is really the only threat I see to Wiggins of being picked #1 over him. He is also a 6'8" 19 year old, but 1st team All American with elite offensive talent already. He is regarded as the most NBA ready player out of this draft class after averaging 19 points and 9 rebounds off of 47 FG% and 36 3P%. A question mark for Jabari is whether he is athletic enough to compete consistently in the NBA.
Where Would He Fit In: Parker would also be a lock as a starting small forward for the vast majority of NBA teams (maybe 25 out of 30). The scenarios would be very similar to if we drafted Wiggins with the minor difference being that Jabari would be guaranteed to be a high usage player, definitely carrying the lion's share of the offensive load from the get go. Burks trade probability: 30%, Hayward trade probability 30%.
Cheesy Pro-tank motto: Concede/Bleed for Embiid
The Lowdown: Embiid is a tower straight out of Cameroon who looks to be the ultimate boom or bust pick. This monstrous 7'0" 20 year old is looked as the top defensive candidate of the draft class. He still has a ways to go on polishing his offensive game and his current injury raises question marks for those who are gambling with a top 5 pick on the line. He averaged 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game while shooting 64 FG% and 69 FT%. This man raised his draft status the most during the season, rising from a fringe lottery prospect to potential #1 pick of a legendary draft class. I sure do hope he is not the next Oden or *cringes* Bennett!
Where Would He Fit In: While I am not rooting for the Jazz to draft this talent due to his boom or bust potential, I do find the option intriguing. He could allow Favors and Kanter play at the power forward while he would take the bulk of the time at center with Gobert being a worthy candidate for backup center for about 10 to 12 minutes per game. I do believe this would doom Kanter's chances of ever being a starting Jazzman. Kanter trade probability: 60%, Favors trade probability: 10%.
Cheesy Pro-tank motto: Hex 'Em/ Rest' Em for Exum
The Lowdown: Exum is widely seen as the best guard of the draft class. He is an 6'6" 18 year old Aussie. I'm a bit unclear of what he has done in the last year since he graduated high school in 2013, but he definitely did not play college ball. He averaged 18 points and 4 assists at the 2013 FIBA U19 Tournament and made 1st team all tournament. He is as extremely quick and is seen as a natural leader while being great at drawing fouls. Being 6'6" also allows him to play quite a bit of shooting guard if desired. Right now, people would like for him to improve his shooting overall as well as his strength on the NBA level. I see him as a better version of Michael Carter-Williams.
Where Would He Fit In: I am a huge fan of Exum as the 3rd best candidate for the Jazz, behind Wiggins and Parker. He could either start at point guard or play at the same time as Burke and have Burks come off the bench. This could definitely be a blessing in disguise for our backcourt. This would give Burke a worthy competitor for starting shooting guard and could lead both of the Burkseseses to compete their hardest to earn their time, I see this as a win-win so long that team chemistry is not downgraded. Burke trade probability: 30%, Burks trade probability: 30%, Hayward trade probability: 10%.
Cheesy Pro-tank motto: Scandle for Randle/ Dubious for Julius
The Lowdown: Julius is a motor guy and can finish with either hand. I can see him becoming the new and improved Millsap. This 6'9" 19 year old is just oozing strength and is very versatile. He averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds off of 52 FG% and 71 FT% on a stacked Kentucky team. He is a great rebounder who is very solid at both offense and defense skills. The major things holding Randle back from being considered a sure thing is being a bit undersized for a power forward and thus could be the next victim who falls to the dreaded 'tweener' label.
Where Would He Fit In: It appears in many ways that we are destined to pick Randle. He lost in the championship game, he is slated to go somewhere between 4th and 6th, which is right where we will pick unless we win the lottery, and he just seems like another blue-collar hard-working guy who could become the next prototype Jazzman. If we drafted him, I would see him as an upgrade to Kanter, which allow for Kanter to either be the 3rd big or be a trading chip to bolster our depth in the backcourt. I can see Randle and Favors being a very scary legit combo. Kanter trade probability: 80%, Favors trade probability: 20%.
Cheesy Pro-tank motto: Shart for Smart
The Lowdown: Smart is a sophomore who probably would have gone top 3 in last year's draft and would have been a lock for top 5 this year if he did not display attitude issues this season or improved more from his freshman campaign. This 6'4" 20 year old reminds me a lot of Deron Williams and Dwyane Wade with his build as an ideal combo guard. He averaged 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals off of 42 FG% and 30 3P%. This guy is determined and has a strong desire to win. He is a playmaker and solid shooter. Some weaknesses are his lack of speed for a guard, average shooting, and needing the ball on offense.
Where Would He Fit In: I really don't know if Smart and Burke could play effectively at the same time, but I could see a Smart-Burks combination working great. I would be happy with this pick if Wiggins-Parker-Exum were all off the boards. Smart's steals and overall skills makes me drool at the thought of him and Burks running the floor as a deadly combo on the court. Burke trade probability: 40%, Burks trade probability: 10%.
Cheesy Pro-tank motto: Darin' for Aaron?
The Lowdown: Frequently compared to Blake Griffin or Kenneth Faried due to his athleticism, this jumping freight train very well could be a dark horse candidate for the next big thing. This 6'9" 18 year old has a lot of promise as a bullying big who could posterizing people as a rookie. He averaged 12 points and 8 rebounds off of 51 FG%, 36 3P%, and 42 FT%. His dreadful free throw shooting is probably the biggest factor keeping him from being considered a top 5 pick. Also inconsistent shooting overall as well as being a bit undersized could lead him to being a dreaded, wait for it, TWEENER!
Where Would He Fit In: I can see Gordon fitting in as a more explosive Kanter. I really don't know who I would choose out of the 2 to start this season, so experimentation for the best lineups would be a must. I'm not so sure I would ever want to see Gordon and Kanter on the court at the same time, but either one with Favors could work out well with a decent offense/defense combination. Kanter trade probability: 40%, Favors trade probability: 10%
Cheesy Pro-tank motto: Playing wrongly for Vonleh?
The Lowdown: While Vonleh appears to not be regarded as highly as the other players on this list, many people claim he has all-star potential. He is a 6'10" 18 year old who can play the post or the midrange. He averaged 11 points, 9 rebounds off of 53 FG%, 49 3P%, and 72 FT%. He seems to be fairly good at everything on the court and has a good attitude. Only drawbacks people say regarding him is a lack of confidence as well as possibly needing to put on a bit more muscle.
Where Would He Fit In: I can see Noah coming in as the stretch forward we need who can stretch the paint with shooting without having to appear outmatched on most nights like Marvin. I think a lineup of Burke-Burks-Hayward-Vonleh-Favors could be very deadly with Kanter subbing in for either one to give all of them 30+ minutes. That said, I would only be okay with drafting Vonleh if Wiggins, Parker, Smart, and Exum are all off the board and probably wouldn't be enthusiastic if a healthy Randle, Gordon, or Embiid were on the board either. However this is the probably the lowest player that has any likelihood of being drafted by us; he still does make quite a consolation prize (if we drop to 6th or 7th).
Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any suggestions for my next post