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Countdown to the Lottery: Targets

First of all, thank you to @dianaallen, who's questions about my post yesterday (and the lottery in general) pretty much helped me explain it to myself (and her). Yes, it took a 1700 word email, but I got it. The ping pong balls, and the combinations, and all that jazz - I'm confused no longer. At least I don't think I am. (By the way, I only wrote out like 100 combinations and not a full 1001, but man - that's a lot of numbers.)

Anyhow, one day closer to the lottery. So now the question (for a day) turns to the Jazz. Greg Miller has, it seems, said that the Jazz will be looking to get bigger and improve the shooting (via moni's blog). I'm kinda worried he didn't state defense, but maybe size and shooting will help that? (Okay, maybe not the shooting, but the size?)

So with two picks, both of which happen to be in the lottery, what options do the Jazz have to do this? I was going to have a more number-strong post, but then I ran into a problem - like when 5 different sites gave me 3 different numbers for the number of games Ronnie Price played in college. So instead, I'll just stick with the basics for now and see if I can come up with something. Otherwise I'll just have a random post where I'll be throwing a bunch of Amar's numbers at you and be like "see, good!" and "no, this be bad".

Pretty much, I'm just going to give you a list of targets. I'm hoping to get enough numbers to make a better post about this later on. But for now we'll go with a simple list. (Yes, I call a 2200+ word post a "simple list".) As fair warning, for the draft sites, I used 8 sites. They are, in no particular order...

  1. DraftExpress (last updated 5/4)
  2. (last updated 5/5)
  3. (last updated 5/4)
  4. NBA Draft Insider (last updated 5/5)
  5. WalterFootball (last updated 4/27)
  6. HoopsWorld (last updated 4/28)
  7. ESPN Machine (only 14 players deep)
  8. Drafttek (last updated 4/21)
Using these sites, I calculated the average draft position for all the players in two ways. First, I just averaged up the positions on all the sites that they showed up on. Except for ESPN, which only goes 14 players deep, all the players below showed up on all the sites, with 3 exceptions. has left 2 players off (putting them in their 2012 mock) and Drafttek has excluded one. The second number is about the same, but I've averaged the positions after removing the highest and lowest draft spot. This has a bigger impact on, say, Bismack Biyombo, than someone like Kyrie Irving. But still, it helps make up for some of the sites that haven't updated in a while (or sites that just seem down on a guy). Some sites are known for their NBA draft work, others not so much. We'll see as time goes on, I guess.

Lets go by position - some guys have "two positions" (as in, people are unsure which position they'll play), so I just picked one. I'll list them in the order of draft position (without removing the high and the low). The "overall" is out of 23, because that's how many players I looked at. The "average" is the average draft position (technically out of 60, though no one drops below 40 in any mock), while the "trimmed" eliminates the highest and lowest position from all the mocks they're in.

The Jazz currently have Devin Harris under contract, with Ronnie Price and Earl Watson being free agents. So there could be a need here, even if one of the two is resigned. Plus, it can't hurt to have your PG of the future - just ask the Minnesota Timberwolves. They tried to take enough "PG of the future" guys for 3 teams - and still blew it. Okay, maybe that's a bad example. ... Of course, if you think Devin Harris is the PG of the future, then this is irrelevant. But who knows? Maybe we can turn this into the next Eric Maynor situat... okay, maybe that's a bad idea too. Lets just get on to the names.
  • Kyrie Irving, Duke. (Overall position: 1. Average position: 1.25. Trimmed average: 1.17. Mocks: 8/8)
  • Kemba Walker, Connecticut. (Overall: 4. Average: 5.5. Trimmed: 5.17. Mocks: 8/8)
  • Brandon Knight, Kentucky. (Overall: 6. Average: 5.75. Trimmed: 5.5. Mocks: 8/8)
  • Jimmer Fredette, BYU. (Overall: 15. Average: 13.75. Trimmed: 13.33. Mocks: 8/8)
  • Nolan Smith, Duke. (Overall: 22. Average: 24.57. Trimmed: 26.2. Mocks: 7/8)
  • Reggie Jackson, Boston College: (Overall: 23. Average: 26.67. Trimmed: 27.5. Mocks: 6/8)
The last two are highly unlikely to be lottery picks, though both have one mock placing them in the lottery (obviously both are the "highs" that are cut out, thus the lower position when you look at the trimmed mean). In Reggie's case, the mock was updated today - in Nolan Smith's case, the mock was updated in April. Advantage Jackson. Irving is going top-2 in every mock, it is highly unlikely that he slips below that. Then it comes down to whether you prefer Walker or Knight, it seems - both have a high of #4 and a low of #9. It is worth noting that if you look at the trimmed mean's, Jimmer's position jumps from 15th to 13th. Three mocks have Knight to the Jazz, three have Fredette to the Jazz, and one has Reggie Jackson coming to Utah. 

Depending on who you consider a shooting guard, the Jazz are either set here or mostly set here. I'm going to assume that Raja Bell and Gordon Hayward fall into the 2-guard spot. Hayward, of course, is set here. Bell is nearing the end - the Jazz could look to replace him in the draft. Luckily for the Jazz they seem set here (if Bell goes, Miles can play some 2-guard as well), because the draft is really weak at this position. Which, coincidentally enough, describes the Jazz at the position since the retirement of Jeff Hornacek. (Hopefully things are different now.)
  • Alec Burks, Colorado: (Overall: 8. Average: 9.63. Trimmed: 9.5. Mocks: 8/8)
  • Klay Thompson, Washington State: (Overall: 20. Average: 22.43. Trimmed: 21.8. Mocks: 7/8)
Burks seems like a definite lottery pick. The biggest question about his game is shooting. He'll almost certainly be there for the Jazz first pick. His "trimmed mean" average position drops from #8 to #9. Klay Thompson has a wider range in his position, from just outside the lottery (#15) to last pick of the first round (#30). He's a shooter primarily - but does seem like offensively he'd fit the Jazz mold of an ideal 2-guard. (At least under Jerry's system.) One mock does have Burks going to the Jazz, but it seems that if the Jazz are going to fill the 2-guard spot in the draft, it will be by taking Brandon Knight and plugging him into that spot. Nolan Smith could also be an option as a 2-guard.

By putting Hayward and Bell at the 2-guard, that leaves you CJ Miles (option on his contract) and Andrei Kirilenko as your wings here. And, if you like stats, this here and this here suggest that you really need a good SF. A good C too, but a good SF takes the cake. While the chances we find one in the draft this year are slim, you might be better off taking a shot. And with both guys potentially leaving, it seems like a good idea to take one. Things change if you view Hayward as the SF of the future, but who knows.
  • Derrick Williams, Arizona:  (Overall: 2. Average: 1.75. Trimmed: 1.83. Mocks: 8/8)
  • Jan Vesely, Europe:  (Overall: 7. Average: 6.88. Trimmed: 6.5. Mocks: 8/8)
  • Terrence Jones, Kentucky:  (Overall: t-10. Average: 12. Trimmed: 11.5. Mocks: 8/8)
  • Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State:  (Overall: t-10. Average: 12. Trimmed: 11.67. Mocks: 8/8)
  • Jordan Hamilton, Texas:  (Overall: 16. Average: 14.38. Trimmed: 14.4. Mocks: 8/8)
  • Chris Singleton, Florida State:  (Overall: 19. Average: 19.86. Trimmed: 20.4. Mocks: 7/8)
Derrick Williams, the other guy in the running for the number 1 spot, is either a 3 or a 4. That happens to be true for Vesely and Chris Singleton as well. I put them all as 3's because I think they can handle it. Vesely has drawn some comparisons to AK-47 - but he's also said to dunk and bring excitement like Blake Griffin. Leonard is primarily a defensive-minded wing; Chris Singleton is pretty good defensively too. Jones and Leonard are two of three players that have an average draft position of 12, which happens to be exactly where the Jazz are slotted to pick at the time being. Singleton's highest spot is 14 (from April), but he's more likely to go in the early 20s or so right now. Two mocks have Leonard coming to the Jazz at #12, one has Hamilton at 12, and two have Vesely to the Jazz at #6.

Ah, the PF spot. First, a quick game. Millsap. Jefferson. Favors. Three guys, each of whom should be getting 30+ minutes a game. Agreed? Two positions - PF and C. 48 minutes a game X 2 positions = 96 minutes. If you play 3 guys 30+ minutes, that's 90 minutes right there. And this is assuming you get ZERO production from Okur, you let Fesenko and Elson go, and Evans sees all his time as a SF. If given that, you'll have 6 minutes/game left. Or you won't be playing your current guys enough. That said, the Jazz want to get bigger, so who knows? Maybe they're going to trade one of Jefferson/Millsap, or something odd. Can you develop a young project in 6 minutes/game? Can you take an older draft prospect (junior or senior) in the lottery and just play him 6 minutes/game and be happy with that?
  • Donatas Motiejunas, Europe: (Overall: 9. Average: 11.71. Trimmed: 11.6. Mocks: 7/8)
  • Bismack Biyombo, Congo:  (Overall: t-10. Average: 12. Trimmed: 9.17. Mocks: 8/8)
  • Tristan Thompson, Texas:  (Overall: 13. Average: 12.57. Trimmed: 13.6. Mocks: 7/8)
  • Marcus Morris, Kansas:  (Overall: 14. Average: 13.71. Trimmed: 13.8. Mocks: 7/8)
  • Markieff Morris, Kansas:  (Overall: 17. Average: 15.57. Trimmed: 16.6. Mocks: 7/8)
  • Kenneth Faried, Morehead State:  (Overall: 18. Average: 19.57. Trimmed: 20.4. Mocks: 7/8)
  • Trey Thompkins, Georgia:  (Overall: 21. Average: 23.71. Trimmed: 25.6. Mocks: 7/8)
Yeah, there's a ton of bigs - the question is if the Jazz can fit another one. Yes, I know - you can never have too many, and its a good problem to have. But a bench full of big men won't help when you desperately need a wing to check into the game. These guys are almost all projects - the exceptions might (MIGHT) be the Morris brothers and Faried. Faried is a small-school PF who checks in at 6'8 and is more-than-anything a strong rebounder and a good defender who plays with energy. Sound like someone you know? (His comparison is Louis Amundson - remember him?) Andno, a 6'8 defender, no matter how strong, is not the answer against the Lakers/whomever else. As for Biyombo - well, Amar just (like literally just - earlier today as a matter of fact) hit on this. Amar mentions other recent draft picks and hits on the minutes - I'm not even going to compare him to any other player. I'm just going to say we don't have minutes. I hope the Jazz realize that right now. A couple of these guys do have some good range, if you're out to replace Okur. Two mocks have Biyombo to the Jazz, but that's it for the PFs.

I'd play a game with you again - but its the exact same as the PF one. Jefferson. Maybe Favors, maybe Okur. Then you have Fesenko's "potential" (read: funny quotes) and Elson as free agents. Yes, height would be nice - but even if you drafted some random 7'7 guy, you wouldn't have minutes for him.
  • Enes Kanter, his couch:  (Overall: 3. Average: 3.86. Trimmed: 3.5. Mocks: 8/8)
  • Jonas Valanciunas, Europe:  (Overall: 5. Average: 5.57. Trimmed: 5.4. Mocks: 7/8)
Kanter was not allowed to play by the NCAA this year because he got paid in Europe before, or something like that. One mock has him falling to the Jazz, another has him at #7 - the other six mocks all have him at #3. Valanciunas is a top-10 pick in all the mocks except, which has him going mid-first round... next year. (Of course, they also have Biyombo at #22, so they definitely haven't fallen in love with these bigs.) Of the bigs, I guess Kanter would be a nice pick-up - assuming we had minutes to play him. But if we are going to have a European big just to sit on the bench and play cheerleader, we might as well keep Fesenko - he'll probably come cheaper, and he already has the role down good.

As the draft draws closer (and the lottery before it), get used to these names - you'll be hearing them a lot in the coming month-and-a-half.