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Utah Jazz Consensus Mock Draft 1.0: With the 11th pick in the NBA Draft ...

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Would the Utah Jazz select yet another point guard in the lottery if given the chance?

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The NBA season is almost halfway through and while it’s anybody’s guess how the Western Conference will settle in April, NBA prospects are starting to set themselves apart in the NCAA and international ranks. If the season were to end today, the Utah Jazz would finish with the 11th pick in the NBA Draft. They would enter the NBA Draft Lottery with a 9.4% chance of landing a Top 4 pick and a 2.0% chance of winning the Zion lottery. Today we start following who the Jazz could be tied to in this year’s draft.

Before we move on to who experts around the league are linking Utah to, it’s important to touch on the quality of this draft. Sam Vecenie of the Athletic had this to say about the upcoming Class of 2019:

In large part, that is because this draft continues to largely disappoint evaluators within NBA front offices. At the top, Zion Williamson has firmly established himself as the top prospect and exceeded every reasonable expectation for what could have been in his freshman season. Beyond him, in discussing the state of the draft with executives at the G-League Showcase in Las Vegas, the excitement for this class has been muted.

“The race for Zion might overshadow it all, but other than him this has the look of a weak draft,” one high-ranking executive told The Athletic. “Our guys are really hunting all around the country for players we like.”

“It’s still early, but right now it looks like a lot of flawed upperclassmen, or unproven underclassmen who would likely be projects for us,” another executive said.

Now, don’t take this the wrong way. There are still plenty of players who will succeed and blossom into good NBA players from this draft. But I think a lot of evaluators are still parsing through the skepticism that this draft figures to feature across the board. There aren’t many players who can be considered truly “safe” bets. It’s one of those drafts similar to 2013 (outside of there being an actual, true No. 1 pick) where it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to look up five years down the road and see that picks No. 10, 12, 15, and 27 produced four of the best players in the class.

If the Class of 2019 turns out like the Class of 2013 where Utah missed on Trey Burke, but landed Rudy Gobert and Raul Neto, then I think Utah would be okay with that result. With it being a weak draft, it’s possible Utah might be currently considering trading their current draft pick. Until that does happen, we’re going to continue bringing the Consensus Mock Draft for the Utah Jazz throughout the season.

It’s important to know what the real cost of trading a draft pick could be. If it’s truly like the class of 2013, the 11th pick would be Michael Carter-Williams. Trading that pick to someone who overvalues it, doesn’t feel so bad anymore, does it?

With that said, on to the 1st Utah Jazz Consensus Mock Draft.

Utah Jazz Consensus Mock Draft 1.0

Website Pick Draft Pick at BPA Age Position School Height Points Rebounds Assists Blocks Steals 3PT% FG% Last Update
Website Pick Draft Pick at BPA Age Position School Height Points Rebounds Assists Blocks Steals 3PT% FG% Last Update
Tankathon.com 11 Keldon Johnson 19.3 SG/SF Virginia 6'6 19.2 6.3 1.7 0.1 0.9 43.20% 53.70% December 30th, 2018
NBADraft.Net 11 Kezie Okpala 19.7 SF Stanford 6'8 19.4 7 2.2 0.9 1.1 48.50% 47.80% December 30th, 2018
Sports Illustrated 11 Rui Hachimura 20.9 PF Gonzaga 6'8 25.3 7.7 2.1 0.8 1.1 45% 59.10% January 3rd, 2018
The Athletic 11 Darius Garland 18.9 PG Vanderbilt 6'3 21 4.9 3.4 0.5 1 47.80% 53.70% December 30th, 2018
CBS Sports 11 Darius Garland 18.9 PG Vanderbilt 6'3 21 4.9 3.4 0.5 1 47.80% 53.70% December 7th, 2018
ESPN.com 11 De'Andre Hunter 21 SF Virginia 6'7 18.4 6.4 3 0.4 1 42.30% 53.60% December 30th, 2018
One Click on Tankathon 3 Cam Reddish 19.3 SF Duke 6'8 20.4 4.8 2.5 0.4 3.3 36% 37% December 30th, 2018
All stats are PER 36. All stats via Tankathon.com

Tankathon.com - SG/SF Keldon Johnson, Virginia

Prospect Report via Sam Vecenie of the Athletic

Given the way the NBA is going, it’s clear that Johnson should go into the season seen as a likely lottery pick. At 6-foot-6 with a well-built 215-pound frame and a 6-foot-9 wingspan, Johnson has exactly what you’re looking for physically from an NBA wing. He’s not an elite athlete by NBA standards, but he’s a good one who gets the absolute most out of his tools due to his motor and high basketball IQ. Assuming the jump shot continues to come along, this is the exact skill set that NBA teams are in search of. The wing position is still talent-scarce in the NBA simply because it’s difficult to find players who are between 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-9, can make plays with the ball in their hands, create opportunities for teammates, shoot it a bit from distance, and maintain the quickness and strength to slide up and down the lineup defensively.

NBADraft.Net - SF KZ Okpala, Stanford

Prospect Report via CBB Today

The 6-foot-8. 195-pound sophomore has been playing considerably better and more comfortably than he did in his first season on campus. He’s improved in most of the major offensive statistical categories, becoming a better defender in the process as well.

Should he continue to show his potential and upside throughout the season, he should then start to get some serious looks from NBA teams come this June.

Here are his stats so far this season:

16.8 PPG, 1.9 APG, 6.7 RPG

47.8 FG%, 48.5 3P%, 76.7 FT%

109.6 ORtg, 99.0 DRtg

Okpala does a lot of nice things on offense that easily translate to the next level. He can handle the ball well enough to take his defender off the dribble, finishes fairly well at the rim and is a great spot up 3-point shooter.

Sports Illustrated - PF Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga

Prospect Report via Sam Vecenie of the Athletic

After a confidence-building session with the Japanese national team in the summer of 2017, Hachimura showed up ready to contribute. He had a better grasp on the English language, had a better balance between academics and basketball, (mostly) understood what the coaches were telling him and simply had a better feel of how to work within a team concept. He came off of the bench because Gonzaga’s frontcourt was loaded with pieces from the previous year’s Final Four team, but still made such an impact that he was named first team All-WCC.

Hachimura averaged 11.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, and his per-minute numbers were outrageous. He put up 22.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per 40 minutes, leading the team in scoring per minute while also shooting 56.8 percent from the field and posting a 62.4 true-shooting percentage.

The keys that hold Hachimura’s game together are his unique strength, quick first step and ability to extend his strides to cover long swaths of the floor to the bucket.

The Athletic/CBS Sports/ESPN.com - PG Darius Garland, Vanderbilt

Prospect Report via Sam Vencenie of the Athletic

So, in that respect, it should come as no surprise that Garland’s goal right now is to round out his pull-up capabilities.

Lillard’s style of play is what I’m most reminded of when I watch Garland, so I was unsurprised when he mentioned the Portland point guard as someone that he watches a ton of tape on. The way that Garland gets downhill going to the basket, but also keeps a live dribble when stationary and keeps his defender on a string is pretty remarkable. But as he mentioned above, the side-step pull-up is the skill he’s trying to get down. It’s a lethal part of Lillard’s repertoire, something that makes him nearly unguardable on shots off the bounce.

*One Click on the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery Simulator*

Utah gets #3 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and select ...

SF Cam Reddish, Duke

Prospect Report via Sam Vencenie of the Athletic

Reddish doesn’t have the quickest first step, but his long strides cover ground quickly, and he knows how to change pace on defenders to get the smallest bit of hesitation in their head or balance. Once he gets them off-balance, he can use his controlled handle to take two quick strides to the basket and finish. The big key here is the way that Reddish can finish from different angles. His ability to leap off one foot or two feet allows him to change the angle on rim protectors. He can use his length to extend and finish on layups at the basket, or use it to finish above the rim. Also, he’s adept with finger rolls to go under the arm of defenders, and he can also finish with the ball high at his head.

Part of the reason he can get defenders off balance to begin with is that he’s an adept shooter with range already out beyond the NBA 3-point line. His mechanics have always been simple, but as you’ll see he’s done a good job of ironing out some small quirks. In the clips from Jordan Brand and from Duke’s exhibitions, you’ll see a set shot that works both off the catch and off the dribble. He has terrific balance throughout his lower half, gets a clean release and ends up with good rotation on the ball.


SLC Dunk’s Take

If Utah ends up keeping their pick and falling just shy of the playoffs due to an overcrowded West, I think my current feeling is Utah should go after the big man from Gonzaga, Rui Hachimura.

While it seems like Utah should be going for a point guard with Rubio becoming a free agent, I think the future at point guard for Utah is with Donovan Mitchell and Dante Exum. With slashers like those two, it’ll be important for Utah to fill the floor with shooters to give them space to operate moving forward.

Enter Rui Hachimura.

He has amazing size, great feel for the game, and he’s an upperclassmen. He can come and contribute really quick for Utah. He would fit in well with Utah’s international roster that has already featured players from France, Australia, Switzerland, Brazil, Spain, and Sweden in the last two years.

By filling the stretch four need in the Jazz, Utah would be able to go out on the free agent market and go after high impact wing players who can guard multiple positions and not be in a terrible rut if they have to go bargain bin shopping at wing. I still look at stretch fours as a rare commodity in the NBA, and Rui Hachimura would be a great fit.

His game against Duke against the undisputed #1 pick Zion Williamson impressed me. He held his own, put up big numbers, had some key defensive plays, and led his team to the victory. He’s be a great player to pair next to Rudy Gobert who could help Joe Ingles and company space the floor.