Utah Jazz NBA Draft Cheat Sheet
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA Draft is Thursday and the Utah Jazz are set to make the 30th pick in the first round. Picking that late in the first round opens the Jazz up to a wider number of players that could potentially be available than in previous seasons.
Unlike previous seasons, the Jazz were tight-lipped about the players they brought in for workouts during this year’s pre-draft process, but by looking at the names of players who worked out for teams in a similar draft range, it’s not impossible to narrow down the likely options with the 30th pick.
Over the last month, KSL Sports has highlighted 12 different prospects that should be considered realistic options for the Jazz both in terms of best player available, and by team need.
Due to Rudy Gobert’s ongoing dominance and the presence of Derrick Favors, Udoka Azubuike, and Juwan Morgan, it seems highly unlikely that the Jazz would use another first-round pick to add a center in the draft.
With that in mind, the focus fell mainly on backcourt and wing players that the Jazz could use immediately, or develop over the next several seasons to become rotation players as the current roster evolves.
This is a breakdown of the role each player will likely have in the NBA.
Scoring Point Guards
Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland – Sophomore – VCU
19.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assists, 44.7/37.1/86.2
One of the best scorers in the draft, Hyland stands 6’3 with a 6’9 wingspan and shot nearly 40 percent from the three-point line in two seasons at VCU.
He’s thin and will need to add weight to compete for serious rotation minutes, but his combination of length, shooting, playmaking, and potential as a defender could give the Jazz a steal late in the first round of the NBA Draft.
Defensive Point Guards
Jaden Springer – Freshman – Tennessee
12.5 Points, 3.5 Rebounds, 2.9 Assists, 46.7/43.5/81.0
The combination of youth, defense, physical profile, and shooting percentages make Springer one of the more intriguing guard options in the second half of the first round.
He lacks some traditional point guard skills and will have to develop new methods to score at the NBA level, but his ability to defend will stand out early in his career.
Miles McBride – Sophomore – West Virginia
15.9 Points, 3.9 Rebounds, 4.8 Assists, 43.1/41.4/81.3
Like Springer, McBride will make his quickest impact on the floor defensively as his strong body and long arms should allow his aggressive on-ball attack to translate against both backcourt positions.
McBride also has a pretty jump shot which he relied upon heavily in two seasons with West Virginia. He’s not a natural playmaker despite his strong assist to turnover ratio and struggles to score at the rim, but he should have several pathways to stick in the NBA.
Playmaking Point Guards
Sharife Cooper – Freshman – Auburn
20.2 Points, 4.3 Rebounds, 8.1 Assists, 39.1/22.8/82.5
Though he played just 12 games in college, Cooper quickly became one of the more polarizing players in the draft.
Between his high scoring and assist numbers, and dazzling playmaking, Cooper looks like a future superstar. He is likely the best passer in the draft despite his limited experience.
However, his shooting numbers were truly abysmal, as was his defense at Auburn, both of which could keep him from having a long NBA career.
Jared Butler – Junior – Baylor
16.7 Points, 3.3 Rebounds, 4.8 Assists, 47.1/41.6/78.0
One of the most polished players in college last season, Butler led Baylor to the National title with terrific play on both ends of the floor. The junior is a dangerous shooter with range out to the three-point line.
He attacks teams that overplay him by reading the defense and making plays for others and is a strong defensive player for his position.
Butler is older than other young guards in the first round of the NBA Draft and doesn’t have tremendous length, but he’s the type of winner the Jazz could covet.
Scoring Combo Guards
Joshua Primo – Freshman – Alabama
8.1 Points, 3.4 Rebounds, 0.8 Assists, 43.1/38.1/75.0
The youngest player in the draft, Primo showed real promise as a shooter in limited opportunities at Alabama as a freshman.
He has prototypical size and length for a guard-forward in the NBA and his body doesn’t need as much work as other players his age. He’s raw and doesn’t possess high-level star potential, but his shooting, size, and defensive potential are intriguing.
Tre Mann – Sophmore – Florida
16.0 Points, 5.6 Rebounds, 3.5 Assists, 45.9/40.2/83.1
Mann is one of the best shot creators in the draft with his confident ball-handling skills and tremendous footwork. He can score both with the ball in his hands and as a spot-up shooter which gives him some high-end potential as a rotation player with better NBA spacing.
He’s not a proven defensive player and his playmaking is average, but his ability to score the ball makes him a relatively safe option in the draft.
Joel Ayayi – Junior – Gonzaga
12.0 Points, 6.9 Rebounds, 2.7 Assists, 57.5/38.9/78.1
Ayayi is one of the more unique draft prospects in recent seasons which is the reason for his drop to the bottom of the first round. He’s got good size at 6’5 with a roughly 6’7 wingspan and he can really shoot the ball.
The junior also proved to be one of the best off-the-ball floor spacers and rebounders among guards with potential as a pick and roll initiator.
Ayayi is not a great shot-creator, playmaker, or defender but his versatility and unique skill set could be a real asset on an already established roster.
Defensive Combo Guards
Quentin Grimes – Junior – Houston
17.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists, 40.6/40.3/78.8
Grimes is a prolific 3-and-D option who reshaped his game after early struggles as a top recruit at Kansas. The former prep-star transferred to Houston where he led the Cougars to a Final Four appearance while turning them into one of the top defensive teams and three-point shooting teams.
His history as a point guard could allow him to develop more playmaking in the NBA, but his age compared to other younger guards in the class could limit his upside. Regardless, his tremendous three-point shooting and willingness to defend should allow him to carve out a role at the next level.
Ayo Dosunmu – Junior – Illinois
20.1 Points, 6.3 Rebounds, 5.3 Assists, 48.8/39.0/78.3
Dosunmu was one of the most decorated players in college basketball being named to the All-Big Ten team as a sophomore and junior, winning the Big Ten Tournament Player of the Year Award, and the Bob Cousy Award which is handed out to the best point guard in the country.
He put up prolific numbers as a junior, but there are some question marks surrounding his three-point shooting and ball-handling abilities, as well as his abilities to create his own shot. However, Donsunmu ought to be able to defend three positions in the NBA while providing offensive support to more proven backcourt scorers.
JT Thor – Freshman – Auburn
9.4 Points, 5.0 Rebounds, 0.9 Assists, 44.0/29.7/74.1
Thor has as much upside as a defender as any perimeter defender late in the first round due to his combination of height and length. The freshman stands 6’9, with a 7’3 wingspan, and 9’2 standing reach which mixed with nimble feet allowed him to defend four positions in college.
He needs to add weight, and his offensive game is a work in progress, but his athleticism, smooth shooting stroke, and natural basketball instincts could make him a home run pick for the Jazz late in the NBA draft.
Herbert Jones – Senior – Alabama
11.2 Points, 6.6 Rebounds, 3.3 Assists, 44.6/35.1/71.3
Perhaps the most NBA-ready player that should be available to the Jazz late in the first round of the NBA Draft, Jones often drew the toughest defensive matchup during his final season at Alabama.
At 6’7, with a 7’0 wingspan, nimble feet, and above-average athleticism, Jones has the ability to line up anywhere on the floor defensively and give opposing teams trouble.
However, his shooting is a significant concern and simply may never develop in the NBA. Jones showed some promise as a passer, but was also turnover prone, and may not be much of an offensive threat outside of scoring in transition.