6. Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State
Faried and his team will be up against a very talented Louisville team today. Louisville will most likely win, but Faried might be the most entertaining player in the game.
Strengths: Elite rebounder grabbing 14.5 a game in 34 minutes. Fantastic energy and athleticism. You can't watch the guy and not be excited about his effort. He tries to dunk the ball as often as possible and is fairly athletic. Very active around the basket on offense and defense. Can guard multiple positions. Put up 20 and 18 at Florida this season and 15 and 12 at Ohio State.
Reservations: He is undersized at 6'8" and doesn't have much of an offensive arsenal. Gets his points and marks on hustle and desire.
NBA comparison: A stronger Jeremy Evans.
How he would fit with the Jazz: I know a lot of you have looked at Faried and already written him off for the Jazz. He's undersized and won't help the Jazz get longer. But the Jazz, or any NBA team can never have enough guys who love to play basketball and whose energy is infectious. The Jazz won't and I am not advocating for the Jazz to draft Faried in the top 10, but if they have the 12-14 pick and aren't convinced of anyone available, Faried is the guy. He is a can't miss in that he will contribute and at worst, be a top guy off the bench who can change the complexity of the game by doing anything that is asked of him with a huge effort. He can hang in the league athleticism wise. And the Jazz need more guys who enjoy playing lockdown defense. I don't see any reason why he won't be able to guard opposing 3's and 4's and play great pick n roll defense.
7. Jimmer Fredette, PG, BYU
I'm not going to say much, because Evans Almighty already did a nice write up and I agree with what he said essentially. Fredette is not as good as BYU fans think, but he's better than most Jazz fans think as well. I'll add a note or two.
Strengths: Nobody and I mean nobody has his shot making ability. Only Kemba Walker can rival his ability to create space to get an open look, but Walker doesn't have Jimmer's range. His ability to shift his weight, use crossovers and square his shoulders in any situation are once in a long while type of talents. He has an underrated release on his shot as well. And if you like Stephen Curry's game and don't like Jimmer, then I think you are contradicting yourself. Here are some numbers.
Do the numbers get any closer? The questions about their ability to play in the NBA are similar as well. Size, ability to guard people, getting their shots off. And Fredette certainly played in a much, much better conference against better athletes.
Reservations: see above
NBA Comparison: Stephen Curry with wider shoulders and better strength.
How he would fit with the Jazz: It would be a good pick if the Jazz feel that they need him for the franchise. Drafting a local can backfire, but not many NBA prospects will be as dependable and frankly marketable as Jimmer Fredette. I think we all agree that the Jazz would be silly to spend a top 10 pick on Jimmer. But if you aren't convinced that he won't be worth a pick in the teens, I think he will be the most profitable and probably the best player available to the Jazz in the 12-14 range. His maturity will allow him to play backup point guard or shooting guard in his early years and if he hones his skills and learns the game, there is no reason he can't be an average starting point guard. You may not feel like that is worth a lottery pick, but most lottery picks aren't worth it. At the worst, he would be a better pro than Sasha Pavlovic, Kirk Snyder and Ronnie Price.
And if you must know, Jimmer's numbers were all the first ones. Curry's the second.
8. Kemba Walker, PG, UCONN
You've all seen Walker's abilities and his shot making ability. You'll hear a lot of guys say he is like Jonny Flynn and a lot of guys swear he isn't. The truth probably lies inbetween.
Strengths: Elite quickness, athleticism, shot making and general play making skills. Has endless energy. Very good rebounder for his position.
Weaknesses: Only 6 feet tall, probably more like 5'10" from what I've seen on TV. Only a 2 to 1 assist to turnover ratio. Streaky shooter. Not a great deep threat yet.
NBA comparison: I prefer comparing him to Earl Boykins more than Jonny Flynn. He has Ty Lawson's speed and quickness, but is not the outside threat that Lawson was at the same stage in his career and is smaller than Lawson.
How he would fit with the Jazz: He would fit very similarly to Jimmer Fredette as a backup point or shooting guard, who would be counted on for his play making to spark the bench. Fredette's close ties to Utah give him a slight edge. I wouldn't be surprised if Fredette and Walker play similar roles in the NBA during their respective careers.
9. Kawhi Leonard, SF, SDSU
I've watched Leonard play a lot the last two years and he keeps coming up for the Jazz on that ESPN mock lottery game.
Strengths: To me Leonard is really similar to Kenneth Faried, but a little less athletic and energetic. Leonard has good athleticism and great length and a good motor. He rebounds well at his position.
Reservations: Like Faried, he has no real offensive game. He gets his points off athleticism and hard work. Can't shoot from deep. He has a place in this league, but it will be as a defensive specialist.
NBA comparison: Corey Brewer or Quinton Ross
How he would fit with the Jazz: Leonard wouldn't answer any of the perimeter shooting problems for the Jazz, but he could turn into a very good utility player. Probably a career bench player at best, but he could thrive as a defensive specialist. Unless he develops an outside jumper, that won't be enough to really impact the Jazz in my opinion.
10. John Henson, PF, UNC
I get to watch this guy play up close and personal and I'm always afraid he is going to break in half. He's fun to watch though.
Strengths: Active defender. Challenges every shot in his reach. Ridiculous length. Good rebounder for his size.
Reservations: He makes Jeremy Evans look big. Not sure what position he will play in the NBA.
NBA comparison: A skinnier and shorter Javale Mcgee.
How he'd fit with the Jazz: It's really hard to say and that is Henson's biggest problem. He will be super athletic and play hard, but will have a hard time scoring at the next level. Probably too slow to guard the wing, but too slight to guard anything down low as of now. He'd be a guy who needs two years at least. Even if he enters the draft, I don't see the Jazz being really high on him.