22 June 2011
In the midst of what's been repeatedly termed a weak or shallow draft we have found ourselves wading waste-deep in what can only be called the most fluid pre-draft ever. It may not be chock full of all-stars or sure-fire MVPs, but there are undoubtedly many solid contributors to be found amongst the multitude of scintillating storylines.
Returning panelists and experts from last month's sneak peek include Zach Bloxham of The Upset Blog, SLCDunk's draft guru Clark Schmutz, 1320 KFAN producer Kevin Ferguson, and fan fav Brett Preston, plus two new voices to make sure we cover every angle, our own beloved admin (smirk...kidding, boss), Spencer Campbell, and Utah Jazz360 Jazzbot extraordinaire Andy Larsen, who can boast a following that includes stat geek and radio voice of the Jazz, David Locke, as well as having been featured in ESPN's TrueHoop by Henry Abbott.
So, please keep your arms and hands inside the ride at all times. Here we go!
1. TUJB: There are two or three very different drafts that could happen for the Jazz depending on who/what type of player they take with the 3 pick. Which likely scenario do you see helping the team the most?
Zach, TUB: After all is said and done, I think draft day for the Utah Jazz will go as expected. The top two picks seem all but assured and the Jazz won't be the first team to surprise. A Knight/Singleton draft has a relatively easy road map to fruition. That being said, I think the Jazz would benefit greatly from picking Enes Kanter at number three. Kanter has all the tools to be a dominant big man in today's game. A Favors/Kanter front court would be young and dynamic, not to mention giving Utah the profile to build on in the future.
Clark, SLCDunk: To answer this question, I think you have to ask yourself, what player or players are going to help the Jazz the most in 2-3 seasons and in 2-3 seasons the Jazz are going to have needs at every position except for whatever positions Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors are playing. So the Jazz have no reason not to take the best players available. Jazz fans can debate til they are collectively blue in the face about who the best players are, but for me the most likely scenario that would help the Jazz the most is Jan Vesely and Bismack Biyombo.
Ferg, 1320KFAN: It depends on what you think is helping the team. Winning games next season? Then you need scoring punch and a defensive presence. Preparing yourself for the future? Then it might be a PG and a player at 12 that might spend another year in Europe. The future of the Jazz is not determined by this draft, but by what they do with (hopefully) two lottery picks next season.
Brett, FanRep: A big man who can produce will always help the team most since they are harder to come by. Point guards can be found later in the first round. The problem is the big man in question has played less than I have over the last two years. I still think that his upside is greater than Brandon Knight and I would prefer Kanter. I don't think the Jazz will be willing to risk it. They can't screw this pick up after shipping an All-Star out of town.
Spencer, TUJB: Kevin O’Connor said that he will take the best player available. I think this leads to Brandon Knight at the #3 pick and Chris Singleton #12. Both players would bring much needed athleticism to the Jazz. With these athletes and those currently on the team I would expect a high paced offense and some length to play better defense.
Andy, UJ360: If either Irving or Williams were to be available, the Jazz would need to take that player, and then take a player of a different position at #12. Since that scenario isn't terribly likely, I believe a trade of the pick would help the most. Enes Kanter's lack of athleticism, defense, and rebounding fundamentals, as outlined by Draft Express in this video, would not help the Jazz in the areas they need it most. Knight is, I think, a better prospect, but doesn't show the court vision that PGs of the past had for the Jazz. Realistically, it's roughly even odds he turns out to be better than Devin Harris. A trade of the pick for help on the wings (say, for Andre Iguodala) would help the team much more than any prospect outside of the top two.
2. TUJB: Two of the most mentioned mock drafts include scenarios Knight/Singleton or Kanter/Fredette. What kind of risk/reward do you see for each of these scenarios?
Zach, TUB: Knight/Singleton: The reward with this duo is the ability to set the tempo of the organization for the foreseeable future. Knight has the tools to be a tremendous leader, and with assets like Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward improving around him, the Jazz would have a trio to build upon. Singleton's defensive bonafides are not in question. To be honest, I don't see a risk with his selection. He will be a legitimate stopper at the NBA level. And the risk in drafting Mr. Knight? He isn't a true point guard. The ability to run a team will be tested and if he proves more flash than substance, the Jazz may very well look back on this selection as the one that got away.
Kanter/Fredette: Enes Kanter and Jimmer Fredette could not have taken more different routes to the NBA draft. Kanter, gifted with exceptional ability and an NBA frame, has continued to remain at the forefront of the 2011 draft class despite a lack of playing time. Kanter is an unknown commodity. Drafting the big Turk places tremendous confidence in the young man's ability to develop at the next level. He may very well be the dominant big man that he has shown glimpses of being. He may also be the next Rafa Araujo. The jury is still out, seeking more information. Unfortunately, (or fortunately if he turns out) the team who drafts Kanter have to buy his stock before they find out the yield.
Fredette, on the other hand, has been tested, vetted, and reviewed with a fine tooth comb. Fredette's hard-work and determination have driven his stature to levels which seemed unimaginable just a year ago. The BYU star can certainly shoot the ball. Scoring is a premium in the league and the reward for drafting such an offensive talent should be known relatively quickly. The risk comes in the idea that Fredette will struggle not being the center of attention. Fredette dominated the ball so heavily at BYU, the question becomes: Can he succeed on a team where he is not THE guy?
Clark, SLCDunk: This is an interesting question because when you talk about Brandon Knight and Chris Singleton, you could say those are two of the safer picks the Jazz could make, especially Knight. I think Knight will struggle finding a role in the NBA, but at worst he is a guy who can get you 10-15 points a night off the bench. Kanter arguably has greater upside since he is big and can rebound, but his worst case scenario is worse than Knight's. I think the opposite is true of Singleton and Jimmer. I think Jimmer is a really safe pick at 12, since he'll be able to score off the bench and be marketable. For the Jazz his worst case scenario is Kyle Korver. Singleton has a chance to be Ron Artest minus the crazy or else another average defender who struggles to find a role on offense, similar to a Joey Graham.
Ferg, 1320KFAN: Knight/ Singleton - the risks are that Knight never becomes a pass first PG and Singleton never learns to shoot or dribble. The rewards are that Knight should have good size as PG as the 19-year old continues to grow and Singleton can develop into AK-lite (lighter on the offensive end and lighter on the contract).
Kanter/ Fredette - risks for Kanter is that he is not able to adjust to the NBA game in a timely fashion after missing so much basketball in recent years and also that he is a perimeter big. The rewards are he might just be the most talented in the draft and talented bigs are real hard to come by. For those that worry about the ability to sign players after their contracts are up, a nomad like Kanter would worry me as a man always looking for a better oppurtunity. One of the major risks for Jimmer is the spotlight and hype he will have to live up to in Utah. He may be really talented, but can he be the legend many make him out to be? The rewards are he is familiar with the environment in Utah, he would be a media darling, and all indications are that he can flat out shoot and should be able to score in the NBA.
Brett, FanRep: The Knight/Singleton combo makes sense for the Jazz and also are the much safer picks. You will get two solid players, both who could eventually be starting. They also will not be heading to any All-Star games and will leave the Jazz still searching for the star they need. I'm not saying Kanter and Fredette are going to be All-Stars, but I think the upside is higher with those two.
Spencer, TUJB: Knight/Singleton leads to speed and athleticism. The youth and upside is amazing. However, this scenario leads to a longer rebuilding process as these players are more rough on the edges. Kanter/Fredette however is a big question mark to me. Kanter hasn’t played competitively for a while. I personally think we have seen all Jimmer is. I think his game has peaked and will not translate well to the NBA. Go ahead BYU fans, lay on the hate. However, Jimmer has a skill set you cannot teach and would fill a hole the Jazz have to plug.
Andy, UJ360: A Knight/Singleton draft is a fairly safe one; the risk isn't terribly high, as everyone agrees both Knight and Singleton are legitimate NBA players. They have the size and ability to make a difference in the league. Knight, especially with his growth throughout his freshman season, could continue to become a good NBA player like his DX best case comparison: Chauncey Billups. However, Knight's court vision and passing skills won't ever approach the level of the elite PGs, and that is a critical consideration in the Jazz offense. Chris Singleton will undoubtedly be a good defender on the NBA level, but his offensive skills aren't at all impressive. He doesn't really have the potential to be anything more than a 3pt + Defense player. While those are undoubtedly helpful, you would hope for more from a lottery pick.
On the other hand, Kanter/Fredette is about as high risk/high reward as one team's draft can get. Kanter's lack of game tape means that drafting him is a huge risk: He could become Kosta Koufos, or he could become the Malone-lite that Calipari projects him to be. Fredette, of course, can shoot the ball, but has similar defensive question marks. To his credit, opinions of his defense have changed in his workout tour around the NBA. His ceiling, though, is quite high, should his allotment of skills translate fully to the NBA. At the 12th pick, the high level of risk is much more acceptable than at #3. However, should both players end up tails, so to speak, Kevin O' Connor's job would be in significant jeopardy.
3. TUJB: Some have said that what was once a two-man draft is now a four-man draft, with some chatter that Derrick Williams may be available at the 3 spot. Why should the Jazz take or not take him?
Zach, TUB: Derrick Williams was a fantastic commodity at the University of Arizona. Williams simply has a knack for scoring. I have no doubt that will translate to the pro game, where his tweener size/quickness will make him a difficult matchup for opposing defenses. His strength, however, is also his weakness as Williams would struggle mightily in defending both 3's and 4's at the NBA level, each for differing reasons. I think Kanter is the second best player in the draft and would take him if both Williams and Kanter were available.
Clark, SLCDunk: I think the Jazz would be crazy not to draft Derrick Williams if he fell to #3. Derrick Williams is simply a better player than anyone else the Jazz would draft there otherwise. He is going to be a great rebounder and guy who can score in a variety of ways. He draws fouls at a fantastic rate and he'll be able to pair up with Derrick Favors really nicely. The only reason the Jazz shouldn't draft Derrick Williams if he were available at 3, is if Kyrie Irving were also available.
Ferg, 1320KFAN: The Jazz should take him because he is the most talented big wing scorer in the draft and he has the ability to make the big plays in big games. There is no doubt in my mind that the Jazz should take him. The only reason you are not willing to take him is because you are crazy, or clouded in fear.
Brett, FanRep: If he is available at #3, they have to take him. People question what position does he play. Is being a tweener such a bad thing? Doesn't that mean he can play multiple positions? He is more capable of playing the 3 position than Millsap. I think he would add some flexibility to the roster. They would be able to play him at the 3 and go big, or play him at the 4 and go small.
Spencer, TUJB: If he is there the Jazz should take him. He is the small forward with a complete game the Jazz have never had. A player who can create and shoot the three. Plus I am sure there are plenty of Jazz fans who hope the Jazz get Williams and he chooses the #8 (although that won’t happen).
Andy, UJ360: In my judgment of the players, it's still a two-man draft: Irving and Williams (especially Irving) have shown much more than their lower counterparts, and have fewer question marks. Should Derrick Williams be available with the #3 pick, the Jazz should take him. While to me he projects to be a PF in the league, he would still be the best player available. Should he be able to play the 3, even better for the Jazz.
4. TUJB: It was reported that the Jazz may trade down. Even in this shallow draft do you give up a rare pick as high as the 3?
Zach, TUB: The age old question of quantity vs. quality. If Jazz brass truly feel that the top end of the draft isn't that much different than the last lottery section, I could certainly see them making such a move. The problem lies in the review process? You always have the fear of giving up a truly gifted, potential franchise foundation piece for three mediocre NBA players. 2011 is no different. If the Jazz were to look to trade down, I would suspect it wouldn't be more than 3 or 4 picks down the board. The Jazz are in need of a talent infusion and an already questioning fan base would be quite unhappy were the Jazz to look impotent after being granted such a tremendous gift at the NBA draft lottery.
Clark, SLCDunk: It obviously depends on what you are getting in return for the 3rd pick, but if it consists of two first rounders this year or a lottery pick next year, then I think you make that trade. I think "shallow" is the wrong term for this draft because the players between 11-30 could all be as good as the guys at 5-10, so in this draft picking up a 6 and an 18 or a 9th and a 19 for the 3rd makes a lot of sense. I'm looking at you Washington and Charlotte.
Ferg, 1320KFAN: Yes, especially if it nets draft picks next season. This #3 pick is equivalent to 6 or 7 in a normal draft. Stop staring at the number at stare at the talent available at 3. It is not can't miss, once in a lifetime talent.
Brett, FanRep: It would make more sense if they didn't have two lottery picks. They already have a chance to get the guy with the 12 pick. I would be more in favor of trading out and picking up a veteran.
Spencer, TUJB: If the Jazz traded down and actually received a proven player it would be well worth it. The draft is a lottery itself. You never know what you will actually get. Any of these players could end up out of the league after their rookie contract.
Andy, UJ360: Yes, definitely. All of the prospects below the top two have significant question marks. Trading up, if possible, would benefit the Jazz greatly. If they choose to trade the pick for immediate help, Andre Iguodala, in particular, would be a fantastic pickup for the Jazz. He held his matchup to a 9.8 PER against last year, as well as a 0.81 points per possession against. That means he is an elite defender. His offense, too, would actually be a good fit in the Jazz' scheme. He averaged 1.48 points per possession on cuts to the basket. He's actually a better shooter in spot-up situations: including 39.3% from 3 last year. His percentages were hurt by carrying too much of the 76ers offense, as evidenced by his 239 isolation possessions (compare to Kirilenko's 58 isos), in which he shot just 35% from the field and 22% from 3. Should he be able to adjust his role in the Jazz offense, he would be an immensely valuable addition.
A trade down, on the other hand, only makes sense depending on the pieces involved. Additional lower picks don't make much sense for the Jazz, though future picks might.
5. TUJB: Outside of the oft-mentioned Chris Singleton, Jimmer Fredette, Alec Burks, Bismack Biyombo, and Tristan Thompson who else is on your radar at the 12 pick?
Zach, TUB: I really like Klay Thompson. The kid can shoot the lights out and would give the Jazz a much needed asset to stretch the floor. The Mavericks showed how important the three point shot can be, especially when a player dominates the ball in the post. Favors/Kanter/Williams/Jefferson/Millsap are not the type of shooter that Dirk is, but they work in the same area of the floor. Coach Corbin hasn't shown any interest in changing the Utah offense going forward. That being said, with Hayward and Thompson on the roster, the Jazz could spread the floor, and for many years to come.
Clark, SLCDunk: Two guys: Reggie Jackson out of Boston College and Jordan Hamilton of Texas. Jackson has all the tools the Jazz would look for in a point guard: size, length, shooting, great shot selection, ability to get to the rim and good court vision. Ideally, he would be my pick at #12 after taking a big at 3. I'll take every opportunity to profess that Reggie Jackson will have a better NBA career than Brandon Knight. Hamilton, on the other hand, has the tools to be the offensive player that Singleton has to be a great defensive player. Hamilton is long, smooth and has a very reliable spot up jumper.
Ferg, 1320KFAN: Klay Thompson will most likely be gone, but the name for me is the same name I gave you in the first draft preview. Jordan Hamilton. Watch this video: http://www.draftexpress.com/article/Jordan-Hamilton-Video-Breakdown-3739/ Now Imagine he is wearing #15 and he used to play football in High School.
Brett, FanRep: I would take a look at Klay Thompson and Jordan Hamilton. Both are good shooters and could help stretch the defense. Biyombo would be tough to pass in at 12 even though he doesn't fill an immediate need.
Spencer, TUJB: Who knows what players will be there at #12. I personally am hoping there is so much craziness and moves in this draft that the #12 pick will be the last thing on our minds.
Andy, UJ360: Those players are certainly the favorites. Should the Jazz draft a PG at #3, and some of the aforementioned wing players be taken, Donatas Motiejunas makes some sense for the Jazz, as a high-reward type of big who has an impressive offensive arsenal, but disappoints on the effort and mentality fronts. While that's not a Jazz kind of player, the upside of a Pau Gasol-style big man might be worth the risk.
Jordan Hamilton, a SF from Texas, may be an option no matter what the Jazz do at #3. He displays NBA athleticism and skills, on both the offensive and defensive ends. He takes dumb shots and tries to do too much in Texas offense (which runs a similar flex to the Jazz's), but he acknowledges his flaws in interviews. To me, he's underrated as a prospect.
TUJB Editor: Thanks for your time and unequaled insight, fellas. Anyone else would charge an arm and a leg to offer the kind of excellence you've all served up to Jazz Fan here. Looking forward to the future with you all!
Editor: This is the first time in the Utah Jazz's franchise history that they've had two lottery picks.
Personally, I have Knight and Singleton as my 3 and 12 picks, respectively. Both fill more needs on the Jazz than say Kanter and Jimmer. Knight is a tremendous leader already and you know what you're getting as opposed to Kanter, who is mainly a perimeter big that gives you little in the way of defense or rebounding (read, Memo Jr.).
While Knight may not have the immediate impact of some of the other players, his long-term dividends will ensure that he's an impact player much further into the future than some of the other options available.
As for Singleton, if he can shot even a modicum better than Ronnie Brewer I love him. Where was Ronnie B again this year? Oh yeah, contributing to a deep playoff run in the Eastern Conference Finals. And the Jazz desperately need perimeter defense. It was their biggest hole in the bucket statistically-speaking last season. By a lot.
And count me in the camp that thinks Burks and Thompson won't be there at 12, otherwise you take one of them before you do Singleton.
However, the aforementioned fluidity reared it's head earlier today, making Derrick Williams a very real possibilty at the 3 pick. A player like that renders all thoughts of taking Knight or trading away a pick to the realm of the Robert Tractor Traylor Park. You simply have to take him, then motivate him to work a little harder. He has Carmelo Anthony-esque talent. It would be a shame to let talent like that develop a Melo-esque work ethic and attitude.
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