If Utah Jazz fans went to bed early they may have thought tonight was a quiet night for the Jazz. Through 49 picks, the Utah Jazz remained quiet as players graded in the 1st round dropped into the second round. When the 50th pick rolled around, the Utah Jazz traded with Indiana for Jarrell Brantley from the College of Charleston. They then used their original pick to draft a high scoring guard—Justin Wright-Foreman—from Hofstra. If two were not enough the Jazz then drafted another player in the second round—Miye Oni from Yale. HELL, if you’re reading this, you may have been drafted by the Utah Jazz in the second round. But why cash in for THREE second round draft picks?
The Utah Jazz when acquiring Mike Conley gave up a key cog in their most effective lineups in Jae Crowder. Without Jae Crowder, the Utah Jazz will be relying heavily on Georges Niang to unlock the key. While they are bullish on Niang’s development, it’s a GIANT step from a few minutes a night to taking over Jae Crowder’s minutes completely.
That’s where the first of the second round picks comes in. Jarrell Brantley has the potential to be a steal at #50 and if he’s not ready, he at least can learn the ropes and begin to be developed. Small ball is here to stay in the NBA and Utah needs to be ready.
Utah also lost a young guard that could fill it up in Grayson Allen—as evidenced by Allen’s 40 point outburst at the end of the season. Justin Wright-Foreman averaged 27 points a game at Hofstra while shooting 42.5% from three. That’s a player I think Utah would like to work with and develop. If Justin Wright-Foreman doesn’t work out, there’s always Miye Oni who is a 6’6 guard with an intriguing wingspan of 6’11 inches and has put on a show in big games. There’s potential.
The reality is that all of these players are the off-brand versions of what they’re trying to replace. To steal from a Space Balls, “YOU’VE CAPTURED THEIR STUNT DOUBLES!” The MAIN reason we didn’t see Utah going for 1st rounders was the guaranteed money they’d have to give up. Utah can sign a second rounder to a more team friendly contract that may be non-guaranteed. Likewise, that contract will not exact the financial toll that a 1st round contract will which will help Utah with their limited cap space as they approach 2019 NBA Free Agency.
As the NBA Draft has now passed, the beginning of NBA Free Agency is now 10 days away. The Utah Jazz roster now looks like this:
PG: Mike Conley, Dante Exum, Justin Wright-Foreman, Raul Neto
SG: Donovan Mitchell, Royce O’Neale, Miye Oni
SF: Joe Ingles, Jarrell Brantley
PF: Derrick Favors, Georges Niang
C: Rudy Gobert, Tony Bradley
*Non-Guaranteed Contracts in italics
Right now the Utah Jazz only have 12 players on their roster with half of them either being second rounders or going completely undrafted. The Utah Jazz still need an infusion of talent so we can expect to see them looking for bargain deals with players on veteran’s minimums and using their Mid Level Exception which will be valued at $4.6MM. If Utah can find a couple veterans who are going ring hunting while finding a quality player for $4.6MM, Utah is set.
Utah Jazz General Manager Justin Zanik said the Jazz will continue to be aggressive in free agency— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) June 21, 2019
Utah Jazz General Manager Justin Zanik said there is a chance a lot of roster spots are open— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) June 21, 2019
Utah Jazz General Manager Justin Zanik believes there will be quite a few roster spots available this upcoming season. However, the Utah Jazz likely will not to want to go into the season having to count on rookie second rounders like Jarrell Brantley or Justin Wright-Foreman. They are projects. If they progress faster, gravy, but they were not selected with the idea of instant production, rather they are future proofing Utah’s roster on a budget—and making Salt Lake City Summer League much more intriguing.
It does appear that Utah really does believe in guys like Derrick Favors and Dante Exum fitting in with Mike Conley well. Spacing is still an issue in the paint, but Utah is being aggressive as promised. I would be surprised if there were not more trades and fireworks from Justin Zanik and Dennis Lindsey.
[Correction: Prior version of this article had Utah selecting two players in the second round. We now have updated it to three. If you are reading this and you were drafted by the Utah Jazz in the second round, please contact us and we’ll add you to the story.]