The Utah Jazz Pre-NBA Draft Podcast
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA Draft is fewer than 24 hours away, and the Utah Jazz own the 23rd pick in the first round. KSL Sports Ben Anderson and the Deseret News Sarah Todd sat down for a special pre-NBA Draft Jazz Notes podcast to discuss the options the team will have with their first-round selection, as well as the potential to move up on draft night.
Additionally, Anderson and Todd answered your mailbag questions about the NBA Draft, and the state of the Jazz as they enter free agency later this week.
You can listen to the full podcast in the player below, or subscribe to the Jazz Notes podcast in the link provided at the bottom of the article.
Jazz Options with the 23rd Pick in the NBA Draft
Both Todd and Anderson discussed their extensive work previewing prospects before the draft. KSL Sports has 25 articles on different draft prospects, each of which can be found in this link. Todd narrowed her list down to five players the Jazz could look at in the first round, each of whom the two discussed in the podcast.
Tyler Bey: 6’7, 218 lbs SF/PF – Jr – Colorado
13.9 points, 9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 53% FG/41% 3p/74% FT
Both Todd and Anderson raved about the Colorado wing who wreaked havoc defensively against the PAC-12 throughout his career. Despite standing just 6’7, Bey led the PAC-12 in rebounds as a junior and showed promise as a three-point shooter in a limited sample size.
In light of the recent trades made around the NBA, both Todd and Anderson agreed that Bey has the potential to develop into a player like Robert Covington who was just traded by the Houston Rockets to the Portland Trail Blazers for two first-round picks.
Robert Woodard: 6’7, 235 lbs Wing – So – Miss St
11.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 49% FG/43% 3p/64% FT
Todd and Anderson agreed that Woodard had one of the best physical profiles of any player in the NBA Draft, though his production left something to be desired at Mississippi State.
Anderson said the issue could have been Woodard’s teammates at MSU that didn’t set the wing up for success, though acknowledged that he regularly looked passive when he did get larger opportunities.
“Woodard is really versatile defender who does not give up on plays,” Todd wrote. “He recovers quickly, has the length to close out on anybody, and plays well as both an on-ball and weak-side defender.”
Paul Reed: 6’9, 220 lbs Forward – Jr – DePaul
15.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 51% FG/30% 3p/73% FT
Todd mentioned that Reed might be one of the players that doesn’t get enough recognition as a potential first-round pick. Reed is a terrific athlete and help defender that flashes more traditional power forward skills than fans will be used to seeing in the modern NBA.
While Todd said she saw shades of Pascal Siakam in Reeds game, Anderson was more pessimistic drawing the comparison to springier forwards who lacked a fuller overall skillset like Tyrus Thomas and Stromile Swift.
Desmond Bane: 6’6, 215 lbs G/F – Sr – TCU
16.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 49% FG/43% 3p/80% FT
Bane will bring elite shooting to the NBA wherever he gets drafted, even though he has a bizarre shot release. Both Todd and Anderson agreed that the TCU senior is often mislabelled as a 3-and-D prospect, having more potential as a three-point shooter than he does as an elite defender.
Still, Bane could be one of the players that fits more readily into the Jazz plans next season and could add depth to a questionable wing rotation.
Xavier Tillman: 6’8, 245 lbs Big – Jr – MSU
13.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3 assists, 58% FG/27% 3p/69% FT
Tillman finds his name protected from as early as the late teens to as late as the early second round. He’s a high IQ big man who has shown some skills as a floor spacer and playmaker. Anderson noted that most of his damage is done in a more traditional role as a big man who finishes around the hoop and anchors a defense.
However, Todd likes Tillman’s upside as a player who spends time at both forward positions despite his size, having shown a knack for quick lateral movement against smaller opposition on the perimeter.
Todd and Anderson finished the podcast by answering mailbag questions sent in from their followers on Twitter. You can follow Anderson at @BensHoops and Todd at @NBASarah.
Perhaps one of the more under-discussed options for the Jazz in this draft cycle is the option to move up in the draft. Both Todd and Anderson agreed that the Jazz could use depth on the wing, and could look to move one of their existing wings, either Royce O’Neale or Joe Ingles to move into the late lottery.
The Jazz are likely to find themselves in a deep salary crunch next offseason with the looming extensions due for both Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. As a result, clearing up cap space by moving a more veteran player and finding their replacement on draft night could kill two birds with one stone.
Todd and Anderson recognized Anthony’s upside and the enormous numbers he put up as a freshman at North Carolina, while also asking why the Tar Heels did so little winning when he was on the floor.
Anthony is an elite athlete who makes NBA style plays with the ball in his hands, but was inefficient in his role and has some injury concerns due to his reckless style of play. Anderson said the guard would be hard to pass on with the 23rd pick if he was available due to his upside, while Todd didn’t project him as going in the first round of her soon to be published mock draft.
All four players are free-agents this offseason and fit needs for the Jazz. Anderson saw Alec Burks as too much of a step down from Jordan Clarkson, even though their production last season was remarkably similar.
Rodney Hood left the Jazz in the midst of Donovan Mitchell’s breakout rookie season. Hood wanted a bigger role but never found it with either the Cleveland Cavaliers or Portland Trail Blazers. Though he would be a fit, it seems unlikely he’d want to return to the Jazz.
Crowder is the most productive of the three and had a strong postseason performance for the Miami Heat, but would be hard to pry away. He could retain a starting position with the Jazz alongside Gobert and Bojan Bogdanovic in the Jazz line up, but the Heat are likely wanting to bring the high energy wing back to Miami.
Derrick Favors is the most likely of the three if he’s willing to take the Mid-Level Exception. Todd believes Favors can get more than that on the open market, but Andreson believes the amount of conversation there has been about Favors may lend itself to the belief that there is mutual interest between the two sides.
If you submitted a Jazz question about the NBA Draft, Todd and Anderson answered it in the podcast. You can find the rest of those answers in this link where you can subscribe to Jazz Notes and have every episode delivered directly to your phone.