Utah Jazz: Grading the 2021 NBA Draft

Utah Jazz: Grading the 2021 NBA Draft

by Griffin Gamble

The NBA draft is now over. We were able to see what the Utah Jazz front office planned to do and how successful they were.

As we know, the Jazz had pick number 30 in the 2021 draft. However, they did not end up not keeping this pick. Like a lot of other teams did last night, the Jazz traded their first-round pick.

The Trade

The Utah Jazz decided to trade out of the 30th pick and back to number 40. Moving back 10 spots got them two future second-round picks and also the player they wanted all along. 

Jared Butler

Jared Butler is a guard out of Baylor who has tremendous upside for the Jazz. A guy who won the 2021 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player for the champion Baylor Bears. He was thought to be a mid-to-late first-round pick, but due to some health concerns fell all the way to 40. 

Before even playing a game for the Baylor Bears, Butler was diagnosed with a heart condition. Furthermore, leading up to the draft, there was concerns over the health of Butlers knee. He was not able to participate in pre-draft workouts until NBA physicians cleared him. He wasn’t cleared until July 17th, just a couple of weeks before the draft. This could be the reason for Butler falling on boards, but there is no doubt he is a first round talent. The Jazz had their eye on him for quite some time and got two future picks in the process.

Butler’s Fit with Utah

Jared Butler is exactly what the Utah Jazz were looking for out of this draft. A veteran, winning player that could contribute and make the rotation next year. Butler has a tremendous understanding of the game and is also a lethal shooter. He lit up the NCAA tournament and final four on his way to becoming a National Champion. A perfect “3 and D” guy that NBA general managers are craving for in today’s league.

Butlers numbers last year for Baylor were very impressive. Averaging 16.7 points per game, about 5 assists per game, and 2 steals per game. He also shot 41.6% from the three-point line on a high volume of 6.4 three-point attempts per game. He showed the ability to take and make NBA-range threes during his time at Baylor. Butler has been a winner at all levels, and he looks to bring his shooting, understanding of the game, and defense to Utah.

Clearing Cap Space

Trading back in the draft was not the only thing the Utah Jazz did on Draft night. Sam Presti is the general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder and, for about a year and a half, he has been gathering multiple first-round picks. That did not stop as he went after the Jazz future assets. For the second time, the Jazz had to say goodbye to Derrick Favors in a salary dump. The Thunder will receive Favors and a future first-round pick in exchange for a 2027 second-round pick and cash. 

This move now means that the Jazz will be $13 million below the luxury tax, allowing them to make a move without exceeding the tax. Now this doesn’t mean the Jazz wont be a tax team, because if they bring back Conley they will be a tax team but at a lesser financial penalty. 

Overall, the Jazz front office did a fantastic job on Draft night, gaining a player they really like that has the experience and maturity to contribute right away. They addressed the issue of backcourt depth, receiving two future second-round Draft picks in return. Getting below the luxury tax is also a thing to be happy about, however it did cost them a fan favorite and a future first-round pick.

Featured image via Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

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