|Can we expect another pick like this?|
Wow! That may be an understatement for both Jazz fans and NBA fans as a collective after last nights Draft Lottery. The Cleveland Cavaliers with a 1.7% chance of securing the #1 pick, did so for the 3rd time in four years and for a second consecutive year. We could go on and on about conspiracy theories and the lottery being rigged, but I won't.
The only statement I will make on this is that Cleveland is a smoldering dumpster fire of an organization and its unfortunate that poorly run franchises continue to win the lottery. They fire a coach, then turn around and rehire him after he was fired by his previous team after 8 games. They sign players to hefty contracts (Andrew Bynum) and then pay them to walk. Lastly, they clearly under-develop talent. Kyrie, Trystan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett and now you can add this years first pick to that list (if they don't trade it....it would be the only smart thing they have done....) We can comfortably call the Cleveland Cavaliers the modern day L.A. Clippers. #SAD!
Ok, enough of that. Lets take a look at (in my opinion) the only 2 options the Utah Jazz really have with this draft. Lets preface this by saying that there is a general consensus that there are 3-4 sure fire players. Those being Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid (if the back checks out) and Dante Exum. Well as luck would have it, the Jazz are sitting at #5. If the consensus is that these are franchise corner stone players, its unlikely that teams in the top 4 are going to trade out of those spots without getting a current top 10-15 player in the league. So as far as the Jazz are concerned moving up is highly unlikely. So that brings us back to our only two options.
Option #1- The Jazz keep the #5, #23 and the #35 pick and use them according to best available and need.
As currently constructed the Jazz have Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, Trey Burke, Enes Kanter, Jeremy Evans, John Lucas III and Rudy Gobert on guaranteed contracts for next season. Gordon Hayward is a restricted free agent and Diante Garrett, Ian Clark and Malcolm Thomas are all team options. The Jazz clearly lacked depth last season particularly at the wing position. While Richard Jefferson was a nice vet, he didn't give you much other than that veteran presence. Brandon Rush gave you nothing. Ian Clark and Malcolm Thomas barely saw the court. The Jazz had depth with the front court but it was inexperienced depth, young and raw talents.
Option #2- The Jazz keep the #5 pick, but get aggressive and package the #23 and a current asset to move up in the first round.
The Sacramento Kings have already come out and said that they are looking to move the #8 pick. They are said to want an impact veteran, someone that can help them make that jump and develop with their young core. There will be other teams besides the Kings that have 2 first rounders like the Bulls or the Sixers that may look to save cap room for the pending free agent class. Plays like this would give the Utah Jazz an opportunity to grab a couple of high level players that could come in and contribute right away. Radio voice of the Utah Jazz, David Locke, said that he really likes the talent pool in picks 15-20. An example that I am personally fond of, would be to select Marcus Smart with the #5 pick and then package the #23 and Alec Burks or Gordon Hayward for Sacramento's #8 pick. Giving the Utah Jazz the choice between Doug McDermott or Aaron Gordon (according to Draft Express). All three of these players have a high probability of coming in and contributing right away. Smart and McDermott would be a perfect compliment to the current roster and to each other. Smart and Gordon along with Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert would make for a scary good defensive unit.
In my opinion, these are the to best and most feasible options for this young Utah Jazz squad. I like where the Jazz are at currently. I like the pieces they have to work with and love their financial flexibility. I would hate to see the Jazz package any of their picks for a good or mid-level player and sacrifice the flexibility they have worked so hard to establish. These two options allow this young team to continue to develop together and have the ability to make a splash in free agency or in the trade market. But I am not a GM and not Dennis Lindsey......