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SB Nation Mock Expansion Draft: What if there was an NBA Expansion Draft?

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Which eight Utah Jazz players do you choose?

2017 NBA Draft Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

NBA expansion is picking up momentum right now. Especially with Adam Silver mentioning that it’s big on his radar. We here at SB Nation wanted to see what would occur if the NBA had an expansion draft. So all of us blogs picked our 8 players that we would protect, and our pals at SonicsRising.com will pick from who’s left.

This was a hard one. We picked the players to protect based on the premise that Utah is trying to contend for a playoff spot this year. So that affected who Utah protected and who Utah didn’t. Keep him mind, this does not mean all players will be gone. Just open for the draft. At noon today, Sonics Rising will select their team of castaways. Having seen the list, it’s interesting to see who was left for the draft.

LET US BEGIN.

Protected Players

Rudy Gobert

No explanation needed here. He’s the best player on the Utah Jazz and the best center in the league.

Donovan Mitchell

He’s got a massive wingspan, ridiculous vertical leap, great speed/quickness with high upside. He’s going to turn into something special. Besides you don’t let go of your talented young asset in an expansion draft.

Joe Ingles

He’s a solid glue guy and the best 3 and D player on the roster. We love him and he loves us. Enough said.

Ricky Rubio

He’s the best passer and point guard on the team—and, frankly, the best pure point guard Utah has had since Deron Williams. The Utah Jazz have big Jason Kidd sized plans for him. He staying.

Dante Exum

We haven’t given up on him. He’s still young and athletic with a lot of potential. He showed a lot of that at summer league.

Rodney Hood

At the beginning of last season Rodney Hood showed his potential. Soon after he was hobbled by nagging injuries the rest of the year. He’s a good catch-and-shoot threat and has potential as a second scoring option. He’s needed after the exit of Gordon Hayward.

Derrick Favors

Mychal had a post about what Derrick Favors can be when healthy. Other than Rudy Gobert he’s the only one who has shown he can produce at an all star level.

Joe Johnson

He has good versatility and all around game. He showed how amazing he was in that stretch 4 role against the Clippers in the playoffs. Plus, we don’t want to relegate Joe Jesus to an expansion franchise.

[Editor’s Note: Jordan had originally selected Jonas Jerebko. I overruled it. Joe Jesus expects better. I hope that Joe Jesus forgives Jordan in the world to come.]

Unprotected Players

Jonas Jerebko

While he’s a good stretch 4, he’s no Joe Johnson. Utah might even be able to nab him again when his 2nd year isn’t picked up.

Thabo Sefolosha

Utah already had a lot of wings and he had to be available. The promising news is most teams overlook defensive strengths. He could have a strong chance of being undervalued and returning to Utah.

Ekpe Udoh

This one is a hard one. Udoh is a great pickup with the Utah Jazz’s offseason. He spells Rudy Gobert when he’s off the floor. With rim protection at a premium, I can’t see Udoh making it through the expansion draft and back on Utah’s roster.

Alec Burks

I love the guy, but he hasn’t been healthy for 3 years. This is also an amazing opportunity to get out from Alec Burks two years and 21 million remaining. Hopefully Seattle gets enamored with his potential as a scorer at drafts him.

Tony Bradley

This was hard. This decision was made with the intention of Utah being able to compete for a playoff spot this season. Bradley isn’t going to help them with that goal. Unfortunately, for that reason he didn’t make the cut. But that doesn’t mean this was an easy decision.

Nigel Williams-Goss

The NBA’s best dressed rookie is going to Expansion Draft Thunderdome.

Summary

The Utah Jazz keep their best players, still have youth, and have a good balance of ball handlers, shooters, and bigs with solid defense still on the roster. Cutting Sefolosha and Udoh hurt, but there’s a chance because of their defensive skills they get overlooked and come back to Utah. The idea that Alec Burks salary could be taken off the books is also enticing. I would expect a lot of teams to use the expansion draft as a way to get away from some bad contracts.

How did we do? Who would be your protected 8?