In less than a week the Jazz will get the chance to select the 24th player of the first round of the NBA draft.
Mock drafts are popping up on every big sports site in America so it’s time to see who people are saying will be the first candidate to try on a Jazz hat. Everyone seems to think the Jazz will be thirsty for a new power forward on Thursday as that position is a concern with the salary cap difficulty of retaining aged and hobbled bigs like Boris Diaw and Derrick Favors.
The Jazz won’t get any world beating talent to start out from the draft as their impressive 51 win season landed them outside of a lottery pick. However, plenty of good players have been picked in the late first round. Rudy Gobert (27th) and Andrei Kirilenko (24th) are two examples of Jazz players who became dominant forces despite not being picked as the best newcomers in their rookie seasons.
Here is a short list of players people are saying could land on the Utah Jazz with the 24th pick:
Terrance Ferguson: While this tall shooting guard didn’t have the traditional college experience he was initially going to have at Arizona, this 6 foot 7 mammoth with a 6 foot 9 wingspan took his talents down under to the NBL in Australia.
While this kid jumped an athletically impressive 38 inches at the combine, he does weigh a meager 185 pounds. While he is a project he will be a valuable asset once he fine tunes his game and beefs up a little bit. Look for the Jazz to draft him if all their better prospects are taken.
Best Case: Kevin Durant
Worst case: Thabo Sefolosha
John Collins: This power forward out of Wake Forest seems to have the upside that could make him the future of the Jazz at the power forward position. Starting Jazz power forward Derrick Favors entered this offseason with a lot of question marks after his season was marred with injuries.
John was measured at 6 foot 8 and 1/4 without shoes at the combine. While he was widely considered the best player in the ACC last year, he confessed in a pre-draft workout that he is working on getting more arc on his shot to become a consistent jump shooter. In today’s NBA where the stretch four is a hot commodity, Collins will need to improve his mid-range shooting and shoot more three pointers than he did in college (he only shot one three in his two years with the demon deacons).
Best Case: a healthy Derrick Favors
Worst Case: a hobbled Derrick Favors
Semi Ojeleye: Semi Ojeleye is a 6 foot 7 small forward who played for a good SMU team in college. His 19 points and 6.9 rebounds per game led the Mustangs to several American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships. He will be a good backup to Hayward and a decent replacement should the Jazz All-Star decide to take his talents elsewhere.
Best Case: Paul Millsap
Worst case: Harrison Barnes
Tyler Lydon: Lydon should only be chosen if all the previously mentioned forwards aren’t on the board. He can be a stretch four but he isnt even a poor man’s Lauri Markannen in this draft. At 6 foot 10 he’s just trying to compete with guys outside the lottery picks like T.J Leaf and DJ Wilson.
A big guy that could shoot 40% from three will be a valuable asset on any NBA team but he will still need to be a consistent producer in intangibles if he hopes to be a consistent starter.
Best Case: Kevin Love
Worst Case: Andrea Bargnani
Homer Picks: The Jazz could get Kyle Kuzma from the Utes, Eric Mika from the Cougars and Jalen Moore from the Aggies but that might not be the way to go. They might want to look no further than The Lone Peak point guard sensation of Alpine: Frank Jackson. The guy played for Duke and looks promising despite a recent injury. This might not happen for the 24th pick but stay tuned for an in depth analysis for the other first and second round picks that the Jazz have.
Final pick: The Jazz should go for a power forward with this pick and the athletic John Collins looks like he will be the best available. Perhaps the Jazz can trade more picks to move up in the draft and get a Lauri Markannen but with their win now mentality they might just take the best guys available and send half of them to play for the Salt Lake City Stars in the D-League again.