Jazz Justin Zanik: No Such Thing As ‘Bad Draft’

Mar 6, 2024, 2:29 PM

The 2023 NBA Draft at Barclays Center...

The 2023 NBA Draft at Barclays Center (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz general manager Justin Zanik joined Hans and Scotty on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone to discuss the latest with the organization, including the 2024 NBA Draft.

After moving Kelly Olynyk, Ochai Agbaji, and Simone Fontecchio at the trade deadline, the Jazz will have at least two, and potentially three selections in the top 35 of the two-day event.

You can listen to the full interview in the player below.

Jazz GM Zanik: There Is No ‘Bad Draft’

With a late first-round pick from their trade with the Toronto Raptors, an early second-round pick from the Washington Wizards, and likely their own top-ten pick, the Jazz figure to be one of the more prominent franchises over draft weekend.

But, unlike last year’s draft with several prominent names expected to be chosen in the top five selections, this year has been labeled as having a weaker crop of talent.

“You’ll see reports like, ‘this is a quote-unquote bad draft,'” Zanik said. “There’s never a bad draft. There’s always good players.”

The 2023 draft held little suspense with Victory Wembanyama, Brandon Miller, and Scoot Henderson taken with the top three picks, as most mock drafts had projected for several months leading up to June.

This year’s draft has far less certainty.

“When people say that [it is a bad draft], what they’re really trying to say is there isn’t a lot of obvious things at the beginning,” Zanik explained. “So you have to project and make bets on qualities that you think will fit your team now going forward.”

The bad draft label isn’t entirely uncommon in the NBA, though rarely does any draft fail to bear fruit.

Led by a notoriously poor top overall pick in Anthony Bennett, the 2013 draft was expected to be one of the worst drafts in NBA history and still yielded two franchise-changing players selected outside of the lottery.

“Giannis [Antetokounmpo] is a first ballot Hall of Famer at 15, and Rudy Gobert is a first ballot Hall of Famer at 27,” Zanik noted, “And that was a bad draft, apparently.”

The Jazz were fortunate to select Gobert late in the 2023 draft and will look to find another franchise player in 2024.

“Our job is to go find them and identify them, even if it’s not obvious,” Zanik said.

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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.

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Jazz Justin Zanik: No Such Thing As ‘Bad Draft’