Utah Jazz Mailbag: Which Wing Fits Jazz Best In Draft?

May 14, 2024, 3:42 PM | Updated: 3:51 pm

Ron Holland #0 of G League Ignite...

Ron Holland #0 of G League Ignite (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Welcome to the Utah Jazz mailbag where every week our NBA insiders answer your questions on social media about your favorite team.

Each week we will send out a prompt on KSL Sports ThreadsInstagramX, and Facebook pages asking for the questions you have about the Jazz.

Then, we’ll respond to as many as we can in that week’s mailbag.

Jazz Mailbag: Which Wing Fits Jazz Best?

Question: If you had to choose between Ron Holland, Cody Williams, Dalton Knecht or Tidjane Salaun who would you choose and why? Who do you think the Jazz would pick from those four?

Answer: Though the Jazz obviously had rotten luck in the draft lottery slipping from the eighth pick to tenth, there is a strong likelihood that several players who fit their most glaring need on the wing will be available when they are on the clock, while still qualifying as best player available.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the four players you mentioned as options for the Jazz.

Ron Holland was a top high school recruit who wound up carrying an enormous offensive load in the G League last season, and the results were mixed.

Holland has a tremendous motor on both ends of the floor and has true star upside, but his 24 percent three-point shooting is a significant hurdle in the modern NBA.

Cody Williams was once in the discussion for the top overall pick, but a series of injuries, and an underwhelming close to his freshman season will likely push him to the back half of the lottery.

Williams shot over 40 percent from the three-point line and has elite touch near the rim, but a lack of aggression and a limited number of three-point attempts may prevent him from ever reaching his offensive upside.

Dalton Knecht would likely be in the Jazz rotation from day one due to his excellent shooting and athleticism. He’s a relatively safe bet to make the NBA because of his well-established skill set which can’t be said of any of the other three players you listed.

However, Knecht is 23 years old which limits his upside, and his mediocre defense would remain a problem in Utah.

Tidjane Salaun has the best physical profile of these four players standing 6-foot-9, outweighs Williams by more than 20 points, shot nearly 10 percent better from three than Holland, and is four years younger than Knecht.

But, he is the most raw of the players listed, and doesn’t have the one elite skill that will force him onto the floor in the NBA.

I do think all four players will be in serious consideration for the Jazz if they are on the board at 10, and the pre-draft process will go a long way toward determining who they would select.

Holland’s ability to affect the game defensively, mixed with his offensive upside if the shot develops would check a lot of boxes for the Jazz, so of the four, I’d likely lean towards him as the most intriguing prospect, but they are all solid options.

Q: It’s reported that Memphis will trade the 9th overall pick for a proven player. Which players who will be under contract for next year would you be willing to part with for that pick? Who would Memphis ask for?

A: Memphis wants a win-now player with the ninth pick, and when looking at the Jazz’s roster, the only name I see making sense in this type of trade is Walker Kessler.

Markkanen and Sexton are far too good to trade for this year’s ninth pick, and I don’t know who else would qualify as a win-now player.

After trading Steven Adams last season, the Grizzlies need another big body to do some of the heavy lifting in the paint, and with UConn’s Donovan Clingan likely off the board at nine, Kessler might not be a terrible alternative.

Ideally, the Grizzlies would have enough floor spacing with Jaren Jackson Jr. for Kessler to regain his rookie season form after a disappointing sophomore campaign playing next to John Collins.

And, just 12 months removed from being named to the All-Rookie first team, a different franchise may see upside in Kessler that hasn’t been unlocked in Utah.

The Jazz would have to really like someone on the board at nine to want back-to-back picks in this draft, but there’s some logic to this type of move.

Q: Coming off his EuroLeague Rising Star award, do the Jazz look at bringing Procida over this offseason?

A: The Jazz acquired Gabriele Procida along with the 32nd pick in this year’s draft in the trade that sent Simone Fontecchio to the Detroit Pistons.

Over the weekend, Procida was named the EuroLeague Rising Star after averaging 8.3 points in 17.4 minutes with Berlin.

Past winners include Luka Doncic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Goga Bitadze, Nikola Mirotic, and Ricky Rubio, all of whom went on to have successful NBA careers, so it’s a promising sign for the 21-year-old Jazz prospect.

After he was acquired, I spoke to someone close to the situation who said that Procida’s current three-year deal (signed in 2022) likely meant he wouldn’t move to the NBA until 2025 at the earliest, but that the Jazz were excited about his future.

So, I wouldn’t expect to see him in either  Summer League or the NBA this coming season, but he could be a candidate to join the Jazz in 2025.

Q: Ainge needs to make definitive choices with how he’s approaching next season. I personally want to tank for Cooper Flagg, but if not, what supplemental players should he go after to build around Markkannen?

A: The Jazz will continue to look for smart moves that can improve the team, maintain trade value, and not hurt the team’s long-term salary cap flexibility if a superstar becomes available.

While fans will certainly want to see the team pursue bigger names, one free agent I think makes sense on a short-term deal is Kyle Anderson.

Though his 6.4 point, 4.2 assist per game average won’t wow anyone, he’s the type of veteran who would bring both basketball IQ and experience to a Jazz locker room that is short on both.

Anderson is by no means a long-term solution for the Jazz, but his ability to initiate the offense could help alleviate the burden on Keyonte George, while providing connective tissue for the team’s older players who don’t want to exclusively share the floor with first and second year players.

Better yet, he’s the type of player the Jazz could overpay on a 1-2 year deal, understanding that he could still be flipped in a trade, or simply allowed to expire if he loses value.

Last week I wrote about the hidden value of moving into the NBA’s middle class, and Anderson is the type of player who helps a team do just that.

If the needle movers don’t land in Utah this summer, there are worse names on the market than Anderson.

Want to ask questions in next week’s mailbag? Give us a follow at @kslsports.

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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 Mailbag: Which Wing Fits Jazz Best In Draft?