The Utah Jazz haven’t made any significant splashes in free agency until today. The newest member of the Utah Jazz is an intriguing European forward, Simone Fontecchio.
The Utah Jazz have agreed on a two-year, $6.25M deal with Italian forward Simone Fontecchio of Baskonia in the Spanish ACB, his agent Sam Goldfeder of @ExcelBasketball tells ESPN. @DraftExpress considers Fontecchio, 26, the best available international small forward prospect.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 17, 2022
The news was originally reported by Eurodevotion.
With all the Donovan Mitchell trade rumors to the New York Knicks, it’s a good reminder that the Jazz have multiple tasks at hand that include building a roster and coaching staff for the upcoming season. Just yesterday, we also got the news of the Jazz hiring new assistant coach, Jason Terry. Fontecchio is another piece of the puzzle this offseason.
According to Woj and Draft Express, Fontecchio is the best small forward prospect available. When you look at his stats, they’re pretty compelling.
Over his last 5 seasons, including a 4-game stint in the Olympics, Fontecchio’s worst percentage from three was 38%, but in 4 of those 5 seasons, he shot 40+%. That includes seasons with different teams and in different leagues. Is that a sign that his shooting can also translate to the NBA? He also has decent assist and rebound numbers for a score-first wing. That 4-game Olympic stretch might be the most interesting. Fontecchio scored 19 points per contest shooting 52% from the field and 45% from three and he was the best player for an Italian team that included Danilo Gallinari.
With a quick glance at Fontecchio’s highlights, you can see he passes the initial eyetest with his length and athleticism.
But the euro leagues are different than the NBA, and it’s not always clear if the skillset will translate. But so far, it looks pretty good.
This is also another signal that the Utah Jazz are doing what’s best for the team, not just the wishes of current Jazz player Donovan Mitchell. In a way, it’s a freeing feeling. Utah can go after the best players available without having to get a signoff from a player that doesn't seem interested in being on the team long-term. Who knew that would be such a healthy development for the Jazz?!
The Jazz have a lot more moves to make, including a massive potential trade of Donovan Mitchell, but it feels like the Jazz are content right now making all the other moves they need to while they wait on the Knicks to give the go-ahead on their current trade request. A crazy summer for the Jazz continues!