The draft is just 2 days away!!!
The NBA offseason is already one of the most entertaining stretches of the sports cycle, but factor in that the Utah Jazz project to be a prominent figure Thursday night with three picks in the first round and we have the makings of a classic on our hands.
Multiple picks is a common theme in this year’s class. The Charlotte Hornets, Portland Trailblazers, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, and Brooklyn Nets all have multiple 1sts. This provides a unique opportunity to “stack” players who address needs and potential in complimentary ways.
“Stacks” are a common approach in fantasy sports, particularly fantasy football. One might “stack” a quarterback and wide receiver on the same team so as to achieve co-dependency and ensure mutually successful outings. What if we took a page out of this playbook and put our own spin on it?
In similar fashion, the Jazz could “stack” players by position, skill set, potential, age, physical traits, or a combination of any of the above with the intent to tap into a magic formula unlocking a new level of production.
Let’s dive into 6, two-player stacks that peak our interest for the Jazz to consider for the upcoming draft.
The “Hendricks-Jackson Jr.” Stack
A commonly mocked player to the Utah Jazz is UCF forward Taylor Hendricks. At 6’8” tall and 214 lbs, boasting a 7’1” wingspan and a 23.5 BMI, Hendricks coalesces elite perimeter shooting with the ability to rim protect. He does lack self-creation and isn’t strong making plays with the ball.
Andre Jackson Jr., however, is a multi-faceted wing with strong ball control and passing skills. Thanks to his speed, athleticism, and physical measurements, he projects as a strong perimeter defender. He lacks a strong perimeter shot. He measures 6’6” tall and 198 lbs, featuring a 6’10” wingspan and a 22.9 BMI.
Stacking Hendricks and Jackson Jr. gives the Jazz an exceptionally strong defensive frontcourt and along with Markkanen and Kessler, could occupy approximately 80% of the minutes at the 3, 4, and 5 positions.
The Utah Jazz are in pull position to draft Taylor Hendricks at #9 and Andre Jackson Jr. at #28. Based on the variability observed from industry draft boards, these two are estimated to be available at those respective positions in 60% of simulated scenarios.
The “Cason-Keyonte” Stack
The Utah Jazz have another good opportunity to overhaul their guard line this draft. While Agbaji and Dunn showed intriguing potential, Horton-Tucker is likely to opt in, and Clarkson is reportedly wanted back, there’s a lack of potential potential on both ends.
Cason Wallace brings potent defensive potential. At 6’3” tall and 195 lbs, with a 6’9” wingspan and a 24.4 BMI, he doesn’t appear physically imposing. But don’t let that fool you. His tenacity, effort and instincts are impeccable, often earning “best defender in the class” remarks from scouts.
Keyonte George, on the other hand, is a potent offensive player. With a strong handle and loads of wiggle to his game, Keyonte gets off almost any shot he wants. While sometimes a streaky shooter, he has the scoring pedigree and profile to be prolific at the next level. At 6’4” and 185 lbs, he’s got enough size for a combo guard.
Both guards can get off ball and have enough of a foundational skillset on the opposite end of the floor respectively to compliment the other. Based on the variability observed from industry draft boards, these two are estimated to be available at #9 and #16 respectively 16% of simulated scenarios.
The “Coulibaly-Lewis” Stack
The Utah Jazz have a wing problem...they don’t have very many. In a league dominated by players with an array of skills to compliment the ideal physical frame, the Jazz could overhaul their fortunes considerably by selecting Bilal Coulibaly at #16 and Maxwell Lewis at #28.
Bilal Coulibaly is the hot ticket item at the moment. He dominated the junior division in France before being promoted to the Metropolitans92 toward the latter end of the year. A fluid athlete and tremendous defender with just enough ball skills to make you wonder what he could turn into. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s 18 years old, 6’7” tall, 194 lbs, 7’2” wingspan, and 21.9 BMI,
Maxwell Lewis is another wing with fantastic size and intriguing ball skills. At 6’6” tall, 207 lbs, a 7’0” wingspan, and 23.9 BMI, he’s flashed a lot of potential in every skill. A confident scorer creating on his own or finishing, while also contributing to positive defensive chaos, Max is one of the best value plays in the draft.
Adding two wings in this draft could have a serious impact on this Jazz team and hit a lot of the short and long term check boxes. Based on the variability observed from industry draft boards, these two are estimated to be available at those respective positions 38% of simulated scenarios.
The “Jalen-Dariq” Stack
Utah could opt to reunite the dynamic duo from Monteverde Academy in Jalen Hood-Schifino at #16 and Dariq Whitehead at #28, addressing concerns over shooting, passing, creation, and defense in one fail swoop.
Hood-Schifino was the #26 ranked high school recruit for this year’s college class by ESPN but made a big splash during his season at Indiana and in the pre-draft process. Jalen’s ability to punish drop defenses with his body positioning, deadly midrange shot, and wicked passing are an exciting combo in a 6’4” tall, 217 lb frame with a 6’10” wingspan and 26.4 BMI.
Whitehead was the #2 ranked high school recruit for this year’s college class by ESPN. Billed as a ball in hand scorer with a beautiful jump shot, he set his sights on Duke ready to prove his top 5 status in this draft class. An early injury, slow start, and loaded Blue Devil team translated into a different role that he nonetheless excelled at as a 3&D wing. Measuring 6’6’ tall, 217 lbs and sporting a 6’10” wingspan and 25.1 BMI, he has one of the best high ceiling, high floor combos in the draft.
Based on the variability observed from industry draft boards, these two are estimated to be available at those respective positions 20% of simulated scenarios.
The “Black-Miller” Stack
Positional size is a reportedly big emphasis for Utah in their roster construction approach. With Markkanen, Kessler, and Agbaji, they’re off to a good start but could explode into the top echelon of the league by drafting Anthony Black at #9 and Leonard Miller at #16.
Anthony Black is connective guard who’s passing, intelligence, and aggressiveness toward the rim impact the offense in unique ways while his 6’6” tall, 210 lbs frame with 6’8” wingspan and 24.3 BMI contribute to a tenacious, disciplined defender. His shot is weak but the approach to the game is that of a winner, impacting even the subtlest of areas.
Leonard Miller is a physical marvel, standing at 6’9” tall and 213 lbs, with a 7’2” wingspan and 22.8 BMI. In high school he was a ball-in-hand creator, hitting tough shots and getting to the rim at will, while mixing in impressive passing displays. At the next level with the G-League Ignite, he transitioned to a defensive stopper who cut and crashed the boards on offense. This proves Miller to be a player who can morph based on team needs, a valuable weapon.
Landing these two two would give the Jazz incredible height, length, and athleticism to pair with their core and a good amount of potential for the future. Based on the variability observed from industry draft boards, these two are estimated to be available at those respective positions 42% of simulated scenarios.
The “Kobe-Colby” Stack
The Jazz have prided themselves on positional versatility and multi-faceted skills sets. Players who can dribble, pass, and shoot were a theme of the team Danny Ainge crafted in Boston that repeatedly made the conference finals and beyond. Drafting Kobe Bufkin at #9 and Colby Jones at #28 give the Jazz two combo guards who can play off each other and accentuate a foundational skillset of no obvious weaknesses.
Kobe Bufkin is a sophomore out of Michigan. Standing 6’4” tall and 187 lbs, he sports a 6’8” wingspan and a 22.8 BMI. Kobe demonstrated competency in every area of the game his year and passed both the eye test and data evaluation with flying colors. He’s a guy who will contribute positively and hasn’t showed a weak link to his game yet.
Colby Jones is of a similar mold as a junior from Xavier. At 6’5” tall, 199 lbs, he has a 6’8” wingspan and a 23.6 BMI, which he uses regularly on both ends of the floor. He’s a confident shooter, strong with the ball, excellent passer, and really good defender. He contributes everywhere with his steadying presence on or off ball.
This stack presents immediate production, dynamism, and chemistry, which just enough potential in Bufkin to have you excited. Based on the variability observed from industry draft boards, these two are estimated to be available at those respective positions 46% of simulated scenarios.
Which stack is your favorite