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NBA Draft 2015: Utah Jazz early predraft workouts pay off - The Downbeat #1620

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Why the Utah Jazz work out so many players early, who has been a success, who are they working out today, Dante Exum and the Olympics, the Moneyman, and a pro team in Vegas?

The Utah Jazz worked out this guy on May 7th, 2014
The Utah Jazz worked out this guy on May 7th, 2014
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

So as Shums pointed out yesterday, the Utah Jazz are totally in pre-draft mode; going so far as to schedule pre-draft workouts before the NBA Draft combine -- which is no longer an oddity, as the team did that last season as well. I have many draft posts in the hopper, but I'm not in a rush to get them all out immediately. (I've been running this site now for a few years, it's a long off-season.) Sometimes the first few draft workouts are with solid players, like the team did back in 2010 with Greg Monroe, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Gordon Hayward; or in 2011 with Markieff Morris, Norris Cole, and Shelvin Mack. However, in more recent times the first few work outs are kind of a work out for potential players to be on the Jazz radar, and perhaps a tune up for the scouts and coaches running the drills. In 2012 they worked out 12 guys early, and you've only heard of two of them -- and only because I keep talking about 'em: Toure' Murry and Dee Bost. The same could be said for 2013 where the team worked out 20 guys early, and only Dennis Schroder, Shane Larkin, Cody Zeller, Nate Wolters, and Myck Kabongo 's names ring out. Last season the team worked out 24 guys before the end of May, and you get a lot of guys out there like Melvin Ejim and Luke Hancock. But you also get some players like Niels Giffey (who would then find a spot on the Utah Jazz summer league team), Bryce Cotton, Jerrelle Benimon (who found a spot on the Idaho Stampede), and Bryce Cotton (who would get called up by the Jazz late in the season). And that's precisely WHY you work out everyone possible. This is a smart group of people running the Jazz now. They are really good at this draft thing.

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There are six players being worked out today, and six more tomorrow. Will any of them end up being a Dennis Schroder or Bryce Cotton? Or will all of them just be fodder? I don't know. But I do know that some of them are on my big board (which is over 230+ players by now).

M D Y Player Pos Ht Wt School Consensus Rank Avg Draft Pos Draft n =
1 5 7 2015 D.J. Newbill 1 6 4 210 Penn State 135 85 ± 20.03 2
2 5 7 2015 Denzel Livingston 1 6 4 178 Incarnate Word -- -- -- 0
3 5 7 2015 Maurice Ndour 3 6 9 200 Ohio -- -- -- 0
4 5 7 2015 Rayvonte Rice 2 1 6 4 230 Illinois 111 72.5 ± 28.99 3
5 5 7 2015 Russel Byrd 2 6 8 215 Master's College -- -- -- 0
6 5 7 2015 Trey Zeigler 1 2 6 5 203 TCU -- -- -- 0
7 5 8 2015 Darion Atkins 3 6 8 234 Virginia 106 71 ± 15.56 2
8 5 8 2015 Richaun Holmes 3 6 8 232 Bowling Green 82 55.33 ± 6.09 6
9 5 8 2015 Shannon Scott 1 6 1 185 Ohio State 104 68.33 ± 14.57 4
10 5 8 2015 T.J. Price 2 6 4 223 Western Kentucky -- -- -- 0
11 5 8 2015 T.J. Sapp 1 6 3 190 Murray State -- -- -- 0
12 5 8 2015 Traevon Jackson 1 6 2 208 Wisconsin -- -- -- 0

If anything, well, you see the team is dipping pretty early into the point guard pool; which may be the simple similarity between Dennis or Bryce. Of course, upon this please expect more on all of these dudes.

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Current Utah Jazz starting point guard Dante Exum isn't exactly one who is going to have much of a break this off-season. The teenager who looked perpetually gassed after the All-Star break is going to be hooping it up down under for his national team as they attempt to avoid having to play in a qualifying tournament for the Rio Olympics in 2016. In order to do so they will have to beat up the New Zealand squad that features a fearsome Steven Adams. I do think Australia has more overt talent so it shouldn't be that much of an issue even if there are plenty of good Aussies who are going to be sitting out. (Like Joe Ingles.) Roy Ward of the Sydney Morning Herald talked with Dante about this, and about bringing some exhibition NBA Games to his homeland in the near future.

Australian NBA star Dante Exum says the Boomers' Rio Olympic qualifier at Rod Laver Arena on August 15 will be the catalyst for bringing an NBA game to Australia.

NBA stars Andrew Bogut, Matthew Dellavedova, Cameron Bairstow, Aron Baynes and Exum have all committed to the match, injury permitting, with the Boomers and Opals playing a double-header against New Zealand at the 15,000-seat stadium.

- Roy Ward, Syndey Morning Herald, 2015

Also of note, there is the possibility of Dante playing on the home court that his dad used to put work in, as a pro baller. (Dante's dad Cecil Exum played at North Carolina with Michael Jordan, James Worthy, and Sam Perkins back in the day, and then went on to play professionally down under.) Check it all out here!

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.... and speaking of exhibition games, there's a group of rich people in Las Vegas who want to make a pro team there that will grow into an option for high school kids who can't get into college, and need to fulfill that one year post high school requirement before declaring for the NBA Draft. Kevin Bolinger and Craig Huber of Fox 5 Las Vegas breaks down how crazy all of this is over here.

FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Sure, so a player who goes to high school like Emmanuel Mudiay will not have to play one season in China, and some kids will be making $700,000 straight out of high school -- but this entire idea is really wild. But I like it. They will be hard pressed to find competition from Europe, those teams have difficult enough schedules already. At least the top teams that go to EuroLeague play will. The lower ranked teams probably have more time on their hands. I would also love to see Tyrone Corbin coach this team. No one would get playing time. Except maybe the coaches. Speaking of which, happy birthday Mike Sanders!

I think the NCAA is a bad organization that does not actually care for the "student athletes" that they earn billions and millions on. So I am okay with a legit alternative option for those kids. But what do you think?

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I don't think there's enough love for Mehmet Okur out there. Let's re-watch some of his best shots!

We love you Memo! All Jazz Everyday!