Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: G League Ignite F Matas Buzelis

May 9, 2024, 3:11 PM | Updated: 3:13 pm

Matas Buzelis #13 of G League Ignite...

Matas Buzelis #13 of G League Ignite (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – G League forward Matas Buzelis is projected to be selected in the lottery of the 2024 NBA Draft where the Utah Jazz own a yet-to-be-determined top-ten pick.

The Jazz own three of the top 32 selections in the 2024 draft allowing them to add valuable pieces to their already young core.

Here’s how Buzelis would fit with the Jazz if he lands in Utah in late June.

Related: Utah Jazz 2024 NBA Draft Prospects

Utah Jazz Draft: Matas Buzelis – F – Ignite

Stats: 14.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists: .448/.273/.679

Strengths: Standing 6-foot-8 with exceptional athleticism, Buzelis has some of the best tools in the 2024 NBA Draft.

The forward is an emphatic dunker who likes to finish on the top of the rim, and can be dangerous both in transition and closeout situations.

Though he’s one of the taller players projected to be selected in the lottery, he has the potential to play either the shooting guard or small forward in the NBA, potentially providing elite positional size to whichever team drafts him.

After an up-and-down start to his G League career, Buzelis finished the season strong once he became the primary focus of the Ignite’s attack.

Had the Lithuanian forward not shared the floor with the ball-dominant Ron Holland, his development may have been more pronounced throughout the G League season.

Buzelis has true rebound-and-go potential with his size and comfort handling the ball in transition.

The 19-year-old has the potential to be a multi-positional defender due to his length, athleticism, and effort, and is a surprisingly good shot blocker for his age.

While he prefers to finish at the rim, Buzelis also showed off an ability to use his length to shoot over smaller defenders inside the arc.

With added strength, he could become a more versatile scorer inside the paint due to his fluidity and size.

Weaknesses: Despite a high number of uncontested spot-up looks, Buzelis shot just 27 percent from the three-point line in the G League.

Buzelis had only one game last season where he made more than two threes, showing that he doesn’t even accidentally get hot for stretches, calling into question the long-term viability of his three-point shot.

Even his teammate Holland who shot a lower percentage from downtown had more games with at least three made three-pointers, with greater shot difficulty, while appearing in 11 fewer games.

Though he’s only 19, Buzelis’s tools are largely theoretical, and his highlights are more intriguing than his full-game performances as he tends to disappear for long stretches of the game.

That may have been the result of an ankle injury and being a secondary scoring option early in the season, but there were long stretches where he had little impact on either end of the floor.

Even with his adequate ball-handling and the ability to see over defenders, Buzelis has a negative assist-to-turnover ratio and isn’t ready to operate as a complimentary playmaker.

Originally projected as the top pick in this year’s draft, Buzelis has been jumped by several other prospects, despite there being no obvious superstars in the lottery.

Would Matas Buzelis Fit With Jazz In Draft?

Much of Buzelis’s NBA future will depend on how quickly he can improve as a three-point shooter.

If the forward can begin to knock down the long ball at an above-average rate, his ability to attack closeouts, get out in transition, and play consistent defense will make him a valuable supporting player at the highest level, and a terrific fit next to Lauri Markkanen and Taylor Hendricks.

If the three-point shot doesn’t develop, Buzelis may fall into a category with Kevin Knox, Skal Labissiere, and Luka Samanic of toolsy forwards with excellent size, but no ability to put the entire package together.

There is untapped potential with Buzelis, but his floor may be lower than his ceiling is high, and that could drop him down draft boards, even below where the Jazz are projected to select.

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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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Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: G League Ignite F Matas Buzelis