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2019 SB Nation NBA Mock Draft: I traded for Andrew Wiggins, hate me

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Some writers just want to watch the Jazz burn

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, okay, okay, okay. I get it. You’re mad. I made a fake trade that on the surface seems objectively bad. I even feel it’s subjectively bad. I’m still not even sure about it. But it seemed like a good idea at the time. In case you didn’t hear, we traded the Utah Jazz’s #23 pick, Jae Crowder, Dante Exum, and Kyle Korver for Andrew Wiggins and Dario Saric. I wanted to explain why I did it.

First the terms of the deal:

These are the terms of the trade in our Blogger Mock Draft between the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves:

Jazz receive: Andrew Wiggins, Dario Saric

Timberwolves receive: Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver, Dante Exum, 23rd Pick

Now here’s how damn excited Canis Hoopus (Timberwolves) was to get that albatross of a contract off their backs.

We think Chuma Okeke is a lottery talent, something we couldn’t pass up at this point in the draft. We will not rush his return from ACL surgery, and are prepared to sit him out for the entire season if that is the advice of our medical personnel. We think he’ll be worth it. We love his defensive abilities, and think he’ll be able to effectively switch several positions. His balanced offensive skill set also appeals to us. He should be able to stretch the floor effectively, crash the offensive boards, and eventually we think he’ll be able to do some attacking off the dribble.

The trade is: The Wolves trade Andrew Wiggins and Dario Saric for Jae Crowder, Dante Exum, Kyle Korver, and pick #23. A no brainer from the Wolves perspective, we were able to jettison our most onerous contract and get back a pick as well as some useful players. Saric will be missed, we hated to part with him, but that’s the cost of doing business. The Jazz were eager to acquire Saric. This trade gives us more financial flexibility this summer as well as in years to come. We like Jae Crowder very much, and have a year to see how he fits with what we are trying to do. We would love to convince Korver to come back for his final year and help us, but we’ll see about that. If not, it gives us further flexibility. And we will give Dante Exum, the only player we acquired who is under contract beyond this upcoming season, every chance to stay healthy and turn those flashes of his upside into consistent play in the back court.

I know that Andrew Wiggins’ plateau last year has a lot of people worried but here’s why I did it, and it wasn’t just for Andrew Wiggins.

As acting General Manager of the Utah Jazz, I traded Jae Crowder, Dante Exum, and Kyle Korver + #23 to acquire Dario Saric and Andrew Wiggins. The aggressive rebuild around Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert continues. It was hard to part with Jae Crowder, but the chance to get Dario Saric was too good to pass up.

Dante Exum and his evergreen potential just can’t withstand the onslaught of injuries. Kyle Korver is close to retirement and who knows if he’s coming back. Jae Crowder is a rollercoaster of three point shooting and spacing.

The Utah Jazz brass believe Dario Saric will become an amazing frontcourt partner for Rudy Gobert. Dario Saric will adjust to Utah pretty quickly as Utah has been one of the best places in the NBA for international players to land. Dario is still young and has a lot of potential in the NBA and Utah’s development system will work wonders with his game. In Minnesota, he shot 38.3% from three and he’s just going to get even more open looks from here on out with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert collapsing the defense inward. Think of the open looks Jae Crowder gets and replace those with a young stretch four who is going to be coached by Utah’s amazing development coaches.

The high risk/high reward decision lands squarely on Andrew Wiggins’ shoulders. The once young prodigy is now 23 years old and has lost his way after two Jimmy Butler affected seasons to his psyche. With Utah becoming heavily rumored to be in the hunt for D’Angelo Russell, the Utah Jazz wanted to open the point guard position up for him (trade Dante Exum who has failed to stay healthy) and bring in a Small Forward who can learn from Joe Ingles and get back on the right path.

We believe Utah has become this generation’s Spurs: able to find a once struggling player (see also Boris Diaw , Rudy Gay) and develop them into a monster. Getting Andrew Wiggins who has never had a strong organization, development system, and coach with the Jazz could prove to be an Oladipo-type coup for Utah.

While Utah did not want to part with the #23 pick, it was necessary to jettison it away or Utah would not be able to cobble together $27 million to acquire D’Angelo Russell should he become available in free agency. Utah will still have to part with Grayson Allen and not pick up Tony Bradley’s contract for next season in order to make room for Russell, but there’s no sense making that decision now without Russell guaranteed in Utah.

If Russell foregoes Utah, the Jazz are still able to attack the free agent market and now have greater depth on the younger side (closer to Donovan Mitchell’s age range) while they can add veterans like Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, or Patrick Beverly to the squad, or if they strike out, they can still keep Derrick Favors.

Honestly, looking back at the whole trade, it makes me insanely nervous and gives me terrible buyer’s remorse. It’s one thing to say, “Utah has the best development system in the NBA. If you give a struggling potential star to Utah, they’ll turn him into a superstar.” I honestly do believe that. But if I was the actual Utah Jazz do I have the confidence to put my money where my mouth is? Uhhhhhhhhhhh ... I don’t know. It’s a fascinating thought experiment though. What would the career of Andrew Wiggins look like if he was under the tutelage of Johnnie Bryant and Quin Snyder in Utah? What could Dario Saric become if he was paired with Destroyer of Rims, Rudy Gobert?

Who knows. The good news, is it’s a mock draft. The bad news is ... I get to ruin it again next year. Hate me.


If you want to hear James Hansen shame me for it, listen below.