Utah Jazz Mailbag: Can Jazz Consolidate 29th, 32nd Draft Picks?

Jun 11, 2024, 3:48 PM | Updated: 4:00 pm

Utah Jazz general manager Justin Zanik and head coach Will Hardy....

Utah Jazz general manager Justin Zanik and head coach Will Hardy. (Credit: Megan Nielsen, Deseret News)

(Credit: Megan Nielsen, Deseret News)

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.

Mailbag: Can Jazz Move Up Using Later Draft Picks?

Question: If the Jazz package 29 and 32 how high could they move up in the draft? Milwaukee/Phoenix range or higher?

Answer: Last week I wrote about the Jazz’s options to move up from the tenth pick if they were to package it with their late first and early second-round picks. 

Now, let’s look at who could be a trade partner in the mid to early 20s.

Here’s a quick glance at the teams drafting between 20-28, before the Jazz are scheduled to make their second selection at pick 29.

20. Cleveland Cavaliers
21. New Orleans Pelicans
22. Phoenix Suns
23. Milwaukee Bucks
24. New York Knicks
25. New York Knicks
26. Washington Wizards
27. Minnesota Timberwolves
28. Denver Nuggets

Unless the Jazz see someone falling down the draft board significantly, and they simply can’t afford to let another pick go by without trading up to acquire him, I don’t think swapping the 29th and 32nd picks to move up to the 26-28 range is great value.

That is especially true this year when the 32nd pick could have added value with teams having an extra night to prepare for the second round in the draft.

Related: NBA Announces Two-Day Draft Schedule

From there, the Knicks become an issue.

Not only does New York own back-to-back picks in the mid-20s, they also own the 38th overall pick, coincidentally from the Jazz. Thus, the Knicks seem very unlikely to look to acquire more draft assets.

That means we should really start looking at trade-up opportunities beginning with the Bucks at 23.

But here’s the problem. Like the Knicks, Milwaukee already owns the 33rd pick in the draft, so their interest level in the Jazz’s 29th or 32nd picks should be next to nothing.

That leaves the Phoenix, New Orleans, and Cleveland as the most realistic trade partners.

Of the three, Phoenix should be the most motivated to make a trade, needing to add multiple players on small contracts that should retain trade value in the coming seasons.

Swapping one pick in the early 20s for two picks that could contribute to their veteran roster next season may help them fill out their roster without further breaking the bank.

New Orleans is also in need of some roster turnover, and with several large salaries on the payroll, adding young talent with a low price tag could have some intrigue.

Cleveland, like both Phoenix and New Orleans, also has only one pick in this year’s draft, and may like the idea of adding depth to their roster with rookies who could step in and contribute immediately, though trading back nine spots might be a bridge too far.

I don’t think the Jazz want to add three rookies to next year’s roster, so making all three draft picks seems unlikely. I wouldn’t rule out an aggressive push to move up in the second round, and I’d focus on the Suns as a potential trade partner.

Question: Do you believe that there is a star that we don’t think is available that actually IS available behind closed doors? Say like a Cade, Zion, or Anthony Davis even.

Answer: With the new CBA kicking in, and the extra punitive cost of being over the second tax apron, I think more stars will be made available than have been discussed.

The same also applies to next summer after teams get a clearer picture of just how difficult it is to operate with the new trade restrictions in the new CBA.

While Trae Young, DeJounte Murray, and Brandon Ingram have been popular names, don’t be surprised if players like Jimmy Butler and Julius Randle are rumored to be available this summer as well.

I would also closely watch the pairing of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley in Cleveland.

While many simply expect Mobley to be the player the Cavaliers would keep, it’s worth remembering that Allen was on the court with Donovan Mitchell when Cleveland played its best basketball between January 3 and February 10, and Mobley who was sidelined with an injury.

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

Are you on Threads yet? Let’s connect, give us a follow @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: Can Jazz Consolidate 29th, 32nd Draft Picks?