Posted by: Joey Parker on April 22nd, 2011The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
Up until the Jazz obtained an extra draft pick from the Nets (and up until it became apparent that the Jazz pick would be in the lotto) I really wasn’t paying much attention to draft prospects or to college basketball in general. But now? I’ve been devouring draft info as much as I possibly can.
Unfortunately though, I only had time to catch 1 or 2 games from most of the major draft prospects. Therefore, I have to rely upon written accounts and random YouTube compilations. So, with that said, here is my “Partially-Informed Fan’s Guide to the 2011 Utah Jazz Draft Possibilities”, or PIFGUJDP. I know! It’s catchy!
Let’s break down the different positions for the Jazz:
PG- Devin Harris will be with us next year. I’m guessing Earl Watson and Ronnie Price will not. I like Devin, but I would not be opposed to the Jazz drafting a PG if he was the best player available. He could always be Devin’s backup for a couple years, then take over.
SG- An absolute DISASTER for the Jazz in 2010-11! Raja Bell, Ronnie Price, Gordon Hayward, and CJ Miles can all play SG, but Raja is….not very good…anymore, Ronnie had a bad year and will be gone, as bad as CJ was at times, he will PROBABLY be back (just because he’s so cheap next year), and Gordon is more of a Small Forward.
SF- Also a troublesome position for the Jazz this year. Next year is a major mystery at this position.Will the Jazz re-sign AK? Will we re-sign CJ? Can Paul Millsap and Jeremy Evans switch to the Small Forward position? The only certainty is Gordon Hayward.
These factors create a mystery, but they also mean the Jazz have flexibility at this position. If a great SF falls to us in the draft, we can take him and deal with the other pieces later.
PF- We’re set! Favors, Millsap, Jefferson, Kirilenko, Evans, and even Memo can all play the 4 position. As you’ll see in a second, this stability in the PF position is a bit of an issue when it relates to this draft.
C- Jefferson, Memo, and Favors are our primary Centers. I guarantee that Elson will not be back and I doubt that Fesenko will be either. Drafts are usually pretty weak at Center, so we probably won’t find one in this draft anyway…
Given these facts, I would rank our needs in this order:
- Shooting Guard
- Small Forward
- Point Guard
- Power Forward
Unless the ping-pong balls finally fall our way, the Jazz will likely have the 6th pick and the 12th pick. Here are the players that usually make up the top 15 draft picks on most mock drafts:
- Kyrie Irving- PG
- Derrick Williams- SF/PF
- Enes Kanter- PF/C
- Donatus Motiejunas- PF/C
- Brandon Knight- PG/SG
- Jan Vesely- SF/PF
- Alec Burks- SG
- Kemba Walker- PG
- Bismack Biyombo- PF/C
- Tristan Thompson- PF
- Kawhi Leonard- SF
- Jimmer Fredette- SG
- Marcus Morris- PF/SF
- Terrence Jones- SF/PF
- Jordan Hamilton- SF
The top 15 changes DRASTICALLY depending on which NBA Draft site you visit. So this list is my best attempt to consolidate the ideas out there.
Let’s start with the pick the Jazz got from the Nets. Right now it is sitting at #6 with the slight chance of moving up to the top 3.
If we win a top 2 pick: The choice is EASY! We take Derrick Williams or Kyrie Irving. Whoever is available. Just about everyone witnessed what Derrick Williams can do in the NCAA tournament. He is a terrific scorer with NBA 3-pt range. Many think he is more of a PF in the NBA, but I think he could easily play as a big SF.
I did not get to see much of Kyrie Irving in the NCAAs. Somehow I missed all of the Duke games. Apparently, most people feel like he is by far the best PG in the draft and possibly the best overall player.
If we stay at the #6 or 7 pick: If this happens, we will likely get our choice of Power Forwards Kanter, Motiejunas, Vesely, and Biyombo or the guards Knight, Walker, and Burks.
Kanter looks amazing in highlight videos on YouTube, but he plays our least needed position and he hasn’t played organized basketball in a year. Motiejunas and Vesely are interesting Euro players that many experts seems to like due to their wide array of skills, but neither might be able to come to the NBA for 2 years! The Jazz really are not in a position to wait that long, especially for the guy we pick at #6. Biyombo is a very interesting player who is kind of a rising name in the draft right now. He is yet another PF, but apparently he is more in the defender/rebounder/hustle-player mold. One website said that he plays extremely hard, the whole game, to the point of exhaustion! The Jazz NEED that sort of player! The scary part is, the same websites say he is “Extremely raw offensively.” That is a little scary.
Knight, Walker, or Burks would make a lot more sense then those previous names, given our needs. Burks is the only true shooting guard in the top 15 and is the type of slasher/scorer that the Jazz have not had in awhile. Knight and Walker are both scoring point guards. I would be OK with the Jazz taking Knight or Walker because both are immensely talented, from what I’ve seen. Both made it far in the tournament, obviously, so both come from winning situations. Both of them can play either guard position, although Kemba Walker would be a very small SG.
As far as the #12 pick: We will likely have the choice of Leonard, JIMMER (byu fans can now make a little screeching noise while they applaud), Morris, Jones, or Hamilton. The Morris twins from Kansas are so boring that they make me want to take a nap. Terrance Jones is basically an undersized, but skilled Power Forward, ya know, like PAUL MILLSAP! Kawhi Leonard is a lanky, athletic small forward with a limited upside. Hamilton seems like your run of the mill spot-up-shooting small forward who is also pretty athletic…kinda boring as well.
And Jimmer…what can I say about Jimmer that hasn’t already been said 30,000,000 times over the last few months to the point where you want to jab a Q-Tip….. AHEM, sorry about that. Just getting over 5 months of non-stop Jimmer-mania. If the Jazz don’t take a SG or PG with their first pick and IF everyone on my list from #1-11 is off the board, I suppose the Jazz could take Jimmer. Would I rather have Jimmer get the minutes Ronnie Price got last year? Yes. Yes I would. Beyond that, I wouldn’t be ultra-excited about drafting Jimmer.
So given all of this, here is what I predict will happen:
If the Jazz pick #1: Derrick Williams
If the Jazz pick #2: Williams or Irving
If the Jazz pick #3: Williams or Irving, if they slip. If not…….I honestly have no clue. There is not a terrific number 3 in this draft. :(
If the Jazz pick #6: Burks, Walker, or Knight. In that order, depending on who remains. If none remain, Jazz will take Kanter.
Jazz #12 pick: Leonard, Jimmer, or Jones. OR, I could the Jazz taking one of the Euros if they happen to have fallen down the draft board due to their contract situations. Waiting a couple years for a player you got at #12 shouldn’t be a big deal, especially if it’s a really good player!
It’s scary to have 2 picks in a draft this shallow, but hopefully the players the Jazz pick will be diamonds in the rough.
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