With the 2017 NBA Draft over it’s clear that there are a handful of intriguing prospects left unclaimed. The Utah Jazz have been doing their homework, and it’s likely they sign a handful of undrafted college and foreign players to play in Utah’s summer league games, or bring them into the Utah Jazz organization with the SLC Stars for a more long-term development opportunity.
George de Paula, Isaiah Briscoe, Melo Trimble
George de Paula (21, Brazil)
This kid has a freakish physical profile. At the 2015 combine, he measured a hair under 6’5” without shoes and recorded a 7’1/4” wingspan. That would be absurd length for a shooting guard, and he’s a point guard. He’s a good passer, a great rebounder for his position, and he seems to be at least passable on defense. However, he’s not an explosive athlete and he’s not a great shooter or scorer. Right now, he seems like a less explosive Dante Exum. But a player with measurables that delicious is worth taking a look at in summer league.
Isaiah Briscoe (21, Kentucky)
Briscoe is built like a tank - a Kyle Lowry type body at just over 6’1” and 222 pounds (with a 6’9” wingspan). He has good lateral quickness, with lane agility and shuttle run times similar to Frank Jackson and Derrick White, but he lacks straight line speed, recording the worst 3⁄4 court sprint among point guards. He’s not very explosive, recording standing and max verticals that were below average. He’s not a good shooter (29% from 3, 64% free throws), and his AST:TO ratio isn’t great for a lead guard. However, a big part of his poor shooting numbers are a 10-game slump towards the end of the season, where he shot 1-of-15 from 3 and 15-of-34 from the stripe. Limited athletically and offensively, but there are glimpses of potential.
Melo Trimble (22, Maryland)
Short, with alligator arms and severely lacking in the athleticism department. He shoots 79% from the stripe but a paltry 31% from 3. He doesn’t take care of the ball (roughly a 1:1 AST:TO ratio) very well, especially for a 22 year old junior. Small hands, 2nd highest body fat percentage among point guards at the combine, and the worst standing vert and max vert numbers among point guards. This guy is just not an athlete and doesn’t seem to have a very good basketball IQ. Maybe worth a summer league appearance to appease an agent, but that’s about it.
PJ Dozier, Devin Robinson, Alberto Abalde, L.J. Peak, V.J. Beachem
PJ Dozier (20, South Carolina)
Impressive physical measurements and athleticism. Just under 6’7” in shoes with a 6’11” wingspan and 201 pounds - basically Trevor Ariza size. Solid vertical leap numbers at the combine (39” max vert, 34” standing vert). Good straight-line speed and lateral quickness. Good frame to add muscle as he gets older. Good rebounder for his position, decent playmaker, good at picking off passing lanes. Shooting is his biggest weakness. 29% from 3, 60% from the stripe. Could possibly develop into a Ronnie Brewer type player, but in the modern NBA will always be a liability on offense unless he fixes his jump shot.
Devin Robinson (22, Florida)
6’7” and 190 pounds with a 7’3/4” wingspan to go along with a 41.5” max vertical. His physical profile is nearly identical to that of the high-flying Gerald Green. Robinson shot 39% from 3 this past season, and is a really solid rebounder for his position. He’s more of an energy guy that a skill or finesse player. He’s not a playmaker or shot creator at all. His best hope of making a team is by defending the hell out of opposing players. He showed in college that he’s capable of guarding 1-4, and if he can add some muscle to his frame, he should be able to continue that defensive versatility. He’s still a couple of years away from being a rotation player, but down the road he could reward a team that gives him a chance. Potential as a versatile defender and rebounder who can stretch the floor and throw down highlight dunks off backdoor cuts.
Alberto Abalde (21, Spain)
Abalde has been playing pro ball since he was 16 years old. Reportedly 6’7” and 215 pounds, he has good size for an NBA wing. From his draftexpress profile page: “Abalde has solid size for a wing and is a fluid athlete who plays with great energy. He isn't freakishly long or explosive, but can catch lobs, use rangy strides to attack closeouts, and is smooth with the ball in his hands.” Apart from the bit about catching lobs, that sounds a lot like Joe Ingles to me. He shot just 31% from 3 and 69% from the stripe this past season, but in seasons past he’s been much more effective from deep. His struggles seemed to have more to do with his new role than anything involving mechanics - his jump shot seems fine. Probably worth a look in summer league, and maybe even worth a Stars contract.
L.J. Peak (21, Georgetown)
In 2015 he measured 6’3” without shoes with a 6’9.5” wingspan and 212 pounds. 80% from the stripe, but just 33% from 3. Versatile player who filled up the stat sheet - 16/4/4/1. He wasn’t invited to the NBA combine, oddly enough, so there’s no easily accessible data on his athleticism and explosiveness - though his good finishing ability (61% at the rim) indicates that he’s a solid and strong athlete. He’s good at a lot of things but not great at anything. In the right developmental situation, he could blossom into a solid role player.
V.J. Beachem (22, Notre Dame)
A legit 6’6 with a 6’10” wingspan, but he needs to bulk up and add strength to his 193 pound frame before he’ll be able to hang with NBA wings. Shot 84% from the stripe, and 36% from 3 on 6.7 attempts per game. Not really a facilitator on offense, and doesn’t pressure on defense (around 1 steal and 1 assist per game). Solid (not great) athleticism, but draftexpress says he’s a fluid athlete who makes the most of his physical tools. Lanky shooters can usually find a home in the NBA. Limited ceiling since he’s already 22 years old, but an offseason or two of NBA level training could help him bulk up a bit and add some explosiveness to his game. Worth a summer league look and potentially a Stars contract.
Johnathan Motley, Isaiah Hicks, Jake Wiley, Nigel Hayes, Amida Brimah
Johnathan Motley (22, Baylor)
Motley is draftexpress’ highest-rated big man to go undrafted (projected to go in the early or mid-2nd round). Great size and length for a PF, and he’s even big enough to play some C. Good athlete and a great offensive rebounder. He shot 62% at the rim last season, so he knows how to use his size and athleticism as a finisher. Defense is his biggest question mark, as he played mostly zone at Baylor and struggled in both man-to-man and post defense. He still isn’t a great jump shooter, but he made strides and improved a great deal. Physically impressive enough that he’s worth a summer league spot, and if he performs well there, he’ll likely land a contract in the G-league.
Isaiah Hicks (22, North Carolina)
Hicks has the prototypical body, height, weight, and length at the power forward spot. He recorded a 37” max vert, and although his speed and quickness didn’t look great at the combine, draftexpress indicates that he was able to switch onto just about any position defensively at the college level because of his quick feet. He shot 78% from the stripe in college, but his shooting form isn’t great. He’s mostly seen as a rim-runner, rebounder, and energy guy. Could potentially be a Taj Gibson type player if he’s developed properly. Never great, but solid - if he has the work ethic.
Jake Wiley (22, Eastern Washington)
A bit undersized at 6’6”, but he has a 7’ wingspan and a 37.5” standing vertical, according to Portsmouth. He’s listed at just 215 pounds, so he seems like more of a combo forward than a true power forward. Productive and efficient scorer, shooter, and rebounder (he shot 64% from the field and 82% from the stripe). Averaged 21 points and 9 rebounds per game, along with 2.3 assists and 2.8 blocks. Really high turnover rate, at 3.8 per game. Considered an energy big, but his high free throw percentage on high volume is promising. Brandan Wright-lite, possibly a Kenneth Faried type?
Nigel Hayes (22, Wisconsin)
A solid 6’6” and 254 pounds with a 7’3” wingspan. He wasn’t great from deep in college, but he did shoot 40% a few seasons ago, so the ability is there. He’s not a great athlete and struggles to finish at the rim, but he did improve his vertical leap numbers by 5” from the 2016 combine to the 2017 combine - indicating a good work ethic and improved athleticism moving forward. He’s not a great rebounder and he struggles from the free throw line (58%), but he’s a good passer for his position. If he works on his overall game as hard as he worked on his explosiveness from 2016 to 2017, he’ll likely develop into a productive player 3 years down the road.
Amida Brimah (23, UConn)
This guy is definitely in the running for Names Amar Would Love 2017. Just under 6’10” without shoes with a wingspan of 7’6.5”, Brimah has length for days. He has a solid frame at 230 pounds, but at the college level he wasn’t able to turn that size and length into production. He averaged a modest 7.6 points and 6.2 rebounds in 25 minutes per game. He was a great shot blocker, though, at 2.6 per game. Not much of a passer, and has a high turnover rate (1.5 per game) considering his low usage rate. He did shoot 57% from the field and 62% from the free throw line, so there is some promise ... but he’s 23 years old so his ceiling is likely really limited. Good rim-runner in transition. Potential is there simply because of his incredible size (very nearly as long and tall as Rudy) and if he’s a late bloomer he could develop into a productive bench big. Summer league candidate, but he likely ends up overseas.