Utah Jazz NBA Draft 2017--What should we expect, and does it even matter?

Thankfully, the most exciting topics for Utah Jazz fans, right now, late in this 2016-2017 NBA season are:

(1) whether the Jazz can maintain their current position of having home court advantage in the playoffs as the 4th seed in the West;

(2) which team the Jazz will face in the first round of the playoffs--LA Clippers, OKC Thunder, or Memphis Grizzlies, as either the 4th or 5th seed (or Rockets, Spurs or Warriors, if the Jazz drop further down in the playoff seeding to the 6th or 7th seed--I think the Jazz dropping down to the 8th seed or dropping entirely out the playoffs at this point in time is pretty much an impossibility);

(3) whether the Jazz can get Rodney Hood and Derrick Favors (and even George Hill) healthy for the playoffs; and

(4) whether the Jazz can win a first round series in the playoffs.

And also, thankfully, unlike the past 6-7 seasons--when the Jazz had a strong possibility or certainty of having one or more lottery picks in the NBA draft (and not much prospect for success in the playoffs, other than in the 2009-2010 season)--the 2017 NBA draft is more of an afterthought for most Jazz fans this season.

However, with the upcoming certainty that the Jazz will have to pay many of their own players a lot more money on new contracts in the next couple of seasons, and with the strong possibility that the Jazz will have to make some hard decisions about which players to keep--because they most likely won't to be able to afford to keep all of the Jazz's current players--replenishing and adding depth to the Jazz roster with some productive young players from the NBA draft at a low cost may be one of the keys to future Jazz success.

In addition, with the Jazz being able to keep 17 players on their roster under the new NBA CBA, second round picks immediately have much more value to the Jazz, because they can be used on players the team can stash and develop in the D-League (whom the Jazz would not have been able to hang onto in the past).

Therefore, there are some incentives for Jazz fans to pay attention to the 2017 NBA draft, in spite of the fact that the primary focus of Jazz fans for the next couple of months will be the efforts of the Jazz to get into and succeed in the playoffs.

The Jazz currently have their own first round pick, which is projected to be in the draft range of #24-26, and the first round pick of the Golden State Warriors, which is projected to be either the 29th or 30th pick of the draft. The Jazz also currently have the Piston's 2nd round pick, which is projected to be in the #33 to #37 draft range, and their own second round pick, which is projected to be in the #54-#56 range of the draft.

With picks that are later in the draft, and with the luxury of not really having an immediate need at any particular position, the Jazz will probably be looking to merely pick the "best player available," regardless of position (especially since the Jazz will now have the luxury of stashing two players in the D-League to develop). However, there are still some general categories of players I think the Jazz may focus upon in the 2017 NBA draft.

Category I

The first category of players the Jazz may focus upon is very young, very athletic players with very good talent and measureables, who normally would have been lottery picks, but who have slipped in the draft for one reason or another. There are several players in this year's draft who may meet that criteria, and who may be available to the Jazz as "high risk, high reward" picks in this year's draft.

OG Anunoby is a very long, very athletic, 3-and-D type of SF/stretch PF, who was projected as a lottery pick earlier in the season, but then suffered a season-ending knee injury, and therefore, may be available when the Jazz make their own first round selection in this year's draft.

Harry Giles is a talented PF (often compared to Chris Webber) who was projected to be a top 2 pick in the draft prior to the season, but then suffered a knee injury (and has had several knee injuries the past couple of years, with at least one injury to each knee). He may slip down in the draft as far as the Jazz's draft pick because of his injury history, but he may be worth the risk, because of his unique size, talent and athleticism when healthy--although he may also turn out to be a player who does not have a successful career in the NBA because of injuries (that's the risk).

Kentucky freshman center Bam Adebayo has reminded people of a young Dwight Howard because of his size and athleticism, but has not been very dominant so far in his college career, and is still very raw in his skill set.

Category II

The second category is the group of older, more experienced, but very productive college players, who have dropped in the draft because of their age--whereas it is pretty much the consensus opinion that older college players will never be quite as good in the NBA as players who developed their talent at a younger age.

Some players who may fall into that category are Josh Hart, SG for Villanova; Jaron Blossomgame, SF for Clemson; Dillon Brooks, combo forward for Oregon; Johnathan Motley, PF for Baylor; Justin Jackson, SF for North Carolina; Nigel Hayes, combo forward for Wisconsin; and Grayson Allen, SG for Duke (and I'm sure I'm missing a lot of other players in that category).

Category III

The third category is international players who are not able to be easily compared to U.S. college players, because of where they play internationally.

Some possible international players who may be available and who may be able to help the Jazz are Latvian SF Rodions Kurucs; Texas native Terrance Ferguson, who has spent the season playing in Australia; German PF Isaiah Hartenstein (who was actually born in Oregon); and Latvian C Anzejs Pasecniks (and I'm sure there are more potentially good foreign players that none of us have ever heard of).

Category IV

The fourth category is point guards who in a normal draft would have been much higher picks in the draft, but have slipped way down in this draft crammed full of very good, very young point guards, because they do not have good size or length for a point guard, because they stayed in school longer, and therefore, are presumed to be less good than the younger point guard prospects, or some other reason.

Some players who may fall into that category are Jawun Evans of Oklahoma State; Monte Morris of Iowa State; Devonte Graham of Kansas; and Frank Mason III of Kansas (and probably many more of whom I am not aware).

Please feel free to share your thoughts about the Jazz and the upcoming 2017 NBA draft--when you can pry yourself away from the frenzy of the Jazz's playoff race and the Jazz's playoff battles during the next couple of months.

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