UTAH JAZZ

NBA Draft Insider Peek: Draft Opens Up At Jazz Ninth Pick

Jun 7, 2023, 4:07 PM | Updated: 4:15 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Yahoo Sports insider Krysten Peek sees the talent in the NBA Draft opening up significantly once the Utah Jazz are on the clock at pick number nine.

The draft is just two weeks away, and though the Jazz own three first-round selections, Peek told 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone that she believes the top eight prospects have begun to separate themselves.

“[Victor Wembanyama] is on an island of his own and then after that, we’ve got Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller for that two-three spot, I think possibly one of the [Thompson] twins could sneak in there — they just both worked out in Portland — it would not shock me at all if they snuck in that second tier as well,” Peek said.

“Then from [4-8], if the twins aren’t in the second tier, it would be Amen and Ausar, Cam Whitmore, Anthony Black, and Jarace Walker in the next tier, and then after that is when it dips off.”

After trading Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell last summer, the Jazz finished the season with a 37-45 record and failed to qualify for the postseason for the first in seven seasons.

“Unfortunately for Jazz fans, right around pick eight is where [it drops off,]” Peek said. “Which is why I had a lot of salty Jazz fans in my mentions and my DMs after my latest mock.”

In her latest mock draft posted on Yahoo Sports, Peek has the Jazz selecting Nick Smith Jr. out of Arksansas with the ninth pick, Dereck Lively out of Duke with the 16th pick, and UCLA guard Amari Bailey with the 28th pick.

Smith Jr. was the top overall high school recruit before joining the Razorbacks but struggled in his freshman season due to a minor knee injury suffered early in the year.

“[Nick Smith Jr.] and Cam Whitmore were the two names that came out of the McDonald’s All-American game that NBA scouts were excited to see what kind of NBA potential they had,” Peek said.

Despite their play at the McDonald’s All-American game, both Whitmore and Smith Jr. posted questionable numbers during their freshman seasons, but Peek cautioned it wasn’t a major cause for concern.

“I try not to look too much into a couple of player seasons — Cam Whitmore of Vilanova, just scrap that — Nick Smith Jr. at Arksansas, scrap that, and Brandon Miller in the NCAA tournament and how horrible he was, scrap that,” Peek said.

“These kids are 19-20 years old,  everyone is going to have bad games, bad stretches, bad tendencies, and all three of these players are going to be just fine as NBA pros.”

You can listen to Peek’s full interview in the player above, including her breakdowns on Bilal Coulibaly, Gradey Dick, Taylor Hendricks, Cason Wallace, Keyonte George, Kobe Bufkin, and Jalen Hood-Schifino.

When Is The 2023 NBA Draft?

The NBA Draft will be held on June 22nd at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The draft will be broadcast on ESPN.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers drives against Jevon Carter #5 of the Milwaukee Buc...

Ben Anderson

Lillard Trade Is A Win For Small Markets

Damian Lillard is the best things to happen to small markets in recent NBA memory, and his trade to the Milwaukee only helps.

8 hours ago

Mike Conley - Utah Jazz...

Ben Anderson

Top 50 Utah Jazz Players Countdown: #19 Mike Conley

The countdown for KSL Sports’ 50 greatest Utah Jazz players continues and coming in at number 19 is guard Mike Conley.

11 hours ago

Utah Jazz+ Logo...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz+ Streaming Service Launches At $125.50 Per Year

The Utah Jazz launched their self-run streaming service 'Jazz+' with a yearly price point beginning at $125.50 for local fans.

13 hours ago

Utah Jazz Notes...

Chandler Holt

Jazz Notes: Previewing Utah’s Upcoming 50th-Anniversary Season

The Jazz Notes podcast previews the Utah Jazz's 50th-anniversary season with conversations on the new jerseys, stat predictions, and more!

1 day ago

Paul Millsap #24 of the Utah Jazz...

Ben Anderson

Top 50 Utah Jazz Players Countdown: #20 Paul Millsap

The countdown for KSL Sports’ 50 greatest Utah Jazz players continues and coming in at number 20 is forward Paul Millsap.

1 day ago

Portland-Trail-Blazers-Damian-Lillard...

Ben Anderson

Report: Jazz Could Be Third Team In Lillard Trade

The Utah Jazz are mentioned as a possible third team that could facilitate a trade to move Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...

KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.

ksl sports logos...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

jimmy-buffett-tour-art...

KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.

NBA Draft Insider Peek: Draft Opens Up At Jazz Ninth Pick