The Utah Jazz ended the season with the best record in the league and, after a 2nd round exit in the playoffs, they’re left with the worst pick in the first round. The good news for the Jazz? There are a lot of options in a surprisingly deep draft that will give the Jazz a bunch of options.
Last offseason the Jazz talked about getting defenders that don’t compromise spacing and then promptly drafted a non-shooting center. That choice turned out to be painful in the playoffs when the Jazz ended up with a lot of shooters and centers and not enough players to defend the perimeter. That’s why when I finally got to make my pick at #30, I was happy to pick Ayo Dosunmu.
Dosunmu is 6’4” with a 6’8” wingspan. He’s a long defender that can defend the point of attack and switch. Those physical tools combined with proven defensive ability should make him a player that acclimates quickly in the league.
Dosunmu isn’t just a defensive player, he’s a proven scorer with the potential to be a nice secondary option for whoever he plays for. Dosunmu shot 38% from three in his final season at Illinois as one of the focal points of the offense. Dosunmu has a nice pullup midrange game that he used well in the PnR. It’s a game that translates nicely to the NBA. Dosunmu isn’t an elite playmaker but he set up big men with regularity and also showed an ability to find open 3-point shooters, sometimes with impressive cross court passes.
Dosunmu has an interesting game where he had better numbers on pullup threes than on spot ups. If Dosunmu can become a consistent shooter from 3 in the NBA, he looks like a player that will help any team he plays for win.
Probably one of my favorite notes on Dosunmu is that he’s known for being a hard worker and leads by example with that work ethic. Guys like that, with this type of toolset rarely fail in the NBA.
Dosunmu is a guy that has a wide variance of where he lands in the draft. He shows up in the 20s and outside the first round. On Ricky O’Donnel’s latest ranking of the top 30 players in this draft (Go read it to get a great feel for the draft) Dosunmu falls just short. That’s good news for the Jazz if he’s there because he checks a lot of the boxes for what the Jazz need.
This offseason the biggest question for the Jazz is what will happen with Mike Conley. Whatever happens, Dosunmu should fit nicely with whatever the Jazz do. If Conley re-signs with the Jazz, Dosunmu can play minutes as a backup combo guard that will provide length and defense. If Conley leaves, Dosunmu looks like perfect secondary option to play off of Mitchell. As a rookie, Dosunmu likely isn’t going to to play right away, especially for Quin Snyder who hasn’t been willing to give a lot of minutes to any of the Jazz rookies from the last two seasons. Regardless, Dosunmu is 21 with multiple years of college experience. It’s not out of the question to think that he might be able to contribute to the rotation quickly if Conley leaves.
Probably the biggest takeaway for me from this draft were how many solid options were available. I was hoping JT Thor would be available but he was gone in the mid 20s. Jared Butler was on the board but it was hard for me to pass on the defensive ability and length that Dosunmu brings. Dosunmu can also play on the wing with his ability to switch. There were also a wide range of Centers available, but I wasn’t about to make that pick again.
We’ll see how the upcoming draft pans out for the Jazz but it’s clear they should come out of it with a nice player and also multiple 2nd round options to go after as well.