We’re a little more than halfway through the season and the college basketball season is starting to ramp up toward the conclusion of the regular season so it’s time to revisit draft position and what prospects are currently in range of the Utah Jazz this upcoming draft.
If the season ended today, here’s where the Jazz would pick based on the picks/rights they own.
- No. 13 (Own pick)
- No. 18 (via Minnesota)
- No. 28 (via Philadelphia)
In previous editions of this series we’ve looked at numerous other players including Kel’el Ware, Terquavion Smith, Ausar Thompson, Tyrese Proctor, Kris Murray, Harrison Ingram, Leonard Miller, Jarace Walker, and Jordan Walsh. A few of those players have drifted out of Utah’s range or perhaps even interest, but today we’ll add nine more names to the list of possibilities.
We’ll look at who is in Utah’s range and who current mock drafts have the Jazz selecting. The reference for specific picks will be a consensus big board built by our very own Anthony Cheng. It compiles the latest of 11 mock drafts and ranks them by average rank on big boards or draft position in mock drafts.
Based on the current consensus rankings, the Jazz would be projected to draft Gregory “GG” Jackson II, a 6-10 freshman forward out of South Carolina at 13. At 18 Utah would pick 7-foot center Kel’el Ware, a freshman out of Oregon. And at 28 the Jazz would select Duke’s 7-foot-1 freshman center.
Suffice to say these consensus picks, while informative on where these prospects rank at the moment, don’t help us out in predicting who the Jazz may actually take. Considering a strength of Utah’s roster going forward is in its bigger forwards and centers (Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt) it’s unlikely the Jazz will load up on more size. The first-round picks will probably be used to add versatility on the wing and ball-handling.
Here are a few prospects I’d highlight that are currently in Utah’s range.
The mid-first range
Kansas | Freshman | 6-8 | No. 12 in consensus (12.94 ADP)
The freshman wing is a bit of a surprise jump into lottery consideration but his play has justified that rise. Dick isn’t the most high-flying wing and isn’t big at just 205 pounds. But he’s been a dynamite shooter (42.7 percent from three) and a solid scorer (14.8 points per game).
If Dick is able to fill out his frame he could be a very good 3-and-D player at the very least. He already ranks high in defensive metrics at the collegiate level and gets steals at a solid rate (nearly three per 100 possession). Adding more weight should also make him a better finisher at the rim.
Gregory “GG” Jackson II
South Carolina | Freshman | 6-10 | No. 13 in consensus (14.73 ADP)
Despite writing Jackson off a bit in the above paragraph, there is a possibility Jackson could draw interest from the Jazz. Although he possesses size that would lend to him clashing with Markkanen position-wise, he’s a very modern forward, one who handles the ball and works from the perimeter.
The downside of Jackson is that right now he is very inefficient. Of 1,196 NCAA players with at least 150 field goal attempts Jackson ranks 1,117 in True Shooting Percentage. He’s taking a variety of shots, the kind often taken by primary scorers, but those shots are not falling for him at a rate to be comfortable handing him the ball and asking him to score in the NBA. Perhaps he could develop in that area but it will take time. He does have plenty of that though. Jackson is only 18 years old and won’t turn 19 until December.
Michigan | Freshman | 6-8 | No. 14 in consensus (15.79 ADP)
The sun of former Michigan great, Juwan Howard, Jett is a player with all-around scoring ability but his floor is at least that of a floor-spacing forward. Howard is making 38.2 percent of his 3-pointers at a rate of nearly seven per game. Per Synergy Sports he ranks in the 91st percentile in spot-up shooting.
Defensively there’s some potential. He’s not been a world-beater on that end and it could limit his potential if the off-the-bounce scoring doesn’t translate to the NBA as well. Another area of concern on the defensive end is rebounding. Despite having good size, he only grabs 2.7 per game and he’s one of the bigger players on his team (aside from the 7-1 Hunter Dickinson).
Ohio State | Freshman | 6-6 | No. 19 in consensus (20.85 ADP)
The upside for Sensabaugh, who’s been shooting up draft boards (The Athletic has him at 14th in their mock draft/big board), is his scoring potential. Despite shouldering a growing scoring load (he wasn’t even a starter to begin the year) and taking all kinds of difficult shots, Sensabaugh is making 50.6 percent of his shots overall and 47.4 percent of his threes. At 235 pounds, Sensabaugh is a wrecking ball in the paint but athletic enough to get around the court.
Where skeptics may arise is the fact that Sensabaugh is likely not going to continue making the shots he’s taking at this current clip, especially not at the next level. But if he truly is a special shot-maker he could be a steal in the mid first round.
New Zealand Breakers | 18 years old | 6-6 (7-2 Wingspan) | No. 22 in consensus (24.35 ADP)
The Jazz have already shown interest in the young Rupert (turns 19 in late May). Utah was one of nine NBA teams that sent representatives to a Breakers game on Jan. 26.
Rupert’s upside is rooted deeply in his potential to become a 3-and-D wing. He has the size to do wo at 6-foot-6 and a wingspan of around 7-foot-2 However, his 3-point shot is a work in progress. This season Rupert has made just 26.2 percent of his 3-pointers and in the last four seasons in various leagues hasn’t shot above 33 percent from deep.
The late-first range
Xavier | Junior | 6-6 | No. 30 in consensus (32.48 ADP)
This year Jones has made a big jump and it has made him into a possible first-round selection. His scoring is up from 11.6 points per game last year to 14.5. But just as important are his jumps in 3-point percentage (29.2 to 40.6) and assists per game (3.2 to 5.0).
Limitations as an athlete may dissuade some from drafting him in the first round along with his shooting history before this season (and low volume in this efficient season). There is the possibility, though, of him being a solid bench and rotation player.
Terrence Shannon Jr.
Illinois | Senior | 6-6 | No. 31 in consensus (35.13 ADP)
Shannon has repeatedly turned down entering the draft. He could have entered after a breakout sophomore season where he displayed his athleticism and potential for NBA scouts. He also had a chance to leave after being part of a Texas Tech run to the Sweet 16. His draft stock hasn’t really risen, even after transferring to Illinois and upping his scoring average from 10.4 per game to 17.4.
Shannon has solid NBA potential with three-level scoring chops and good athleticism. His age at this point does stand out as a negative but he could find a spot in the rotation early as a scorer.
Jaime Jaquez Jr.
UCLA | Senior | 6-6 | No. 31 in consensus (35.13 ADP)
Jaquez is a player that has just about all the skills of an NBA players but lacks some of the athleticism. But he has enough athleticism plus solid size to be able to utilize those skills in the NBA. If he puts a bit more work into his 3-point shot (career 32.7 percent from three) and he could be a versatile wing with borderline starter potential.