Leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft – in the stretch run now — we are going to preview each team in the lottery for their needs. Taking a look at each team’s individual strengths, weaknesses, roster, and what prospects would fit in with their current and future plans.
Is this the year where the Utah Jazz finally glue all these young players and high draft picks together? They have seemingly lived in the lottery since the Deron Williams era ended and were there before that when the John Stockton rra ended. What rra are they in now? This pick might define that for years to come…
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Here is the NBA Draft Fast Five.
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ONE: 2014-2015 Potential Roster Review
Goodbye Richard Jefferson. Goodbye Marvin Williams. Goodbye Andris Biedrins. It is time to let the youth shine through and the Jazz have a core young nucleus that is stronger than any of the other teams in the Top 5 of this year’s draft. With Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward [Ed note: restricted free agent], and Derrick Favors to build around, the Jazz are in a good position to add a quality athlete here and push towards further improvement in the tough Western Conference. With Alec Burks, Jeremy Evans, Rudy Gobert, and John Lucas rounding out the rest of the roster the Jazz are in need of some additional talent and depth.
TWO: Biggest Strengths
Last year Burke and Hayward made up for 47.8 percent (796/1664) of the teams overall assists and playmaking duties, which is a huge percentage. Favors and Hayward made up for 30.4 percent of the total rebounding (1028/3381) last year as well with Enes Kanter as the only other consistent contributor on the boards outside of the duo. Those three are the strength of the team and allow them to compete in games, but the roster runs thin after that.
THREE: Biggest Weaknesses
With how light the roster was after the main three last year, the Jazz finished in the bottom third of the NBA in total assists, steals, blocks, defensive rebounding, and three-point shooting. That is a formula for 25 wins and another trip to the NBA Draft Lottery with fingers crossed. Favors could use a reliable four to take some pressure off his game in the paint as a rebounder, defender and even scoring. Burke and Hayward need a third player on the perimeter to take defensive pressure off of them so they can be more effective when the offense runs through them. Shooting will spread the floor. An additional wing or four man are the clear needs on this team as well as depth.
FOUR: Odds In The 2014 NBA Draft Lottery
A 37.8 percent chance to move up into the Top 3 and nab a superstar, a 9.9 percent chance to stay at four and take the next best prospect. Instead, the Jazz slipped to No. 5 with their 35.1 percent odds to slide back a spot. It happens. The Jazz are still in a good position to address their roster and continue building.
FIVE: Recent History of the No. 5 Pick
Will the Jazz continue the run of big men here with the No. 5 overall pick? The last four picks have been Alex Len, Thomas Robinson, Jonas Valanciunas, and DeMarcus Cousins. Can they make it five-for-five? Looking at some other names here, like Ricky Rubio and his Minnesota teammate Kevin Love. Jeff Green, Shelden Williams, and Raymond Felton were also picked at No. 5. There is talent to be had here; there is also generally a big man.
Five Prospects That Make Sense For The Utah Jazz At No. 5 Overall
1. Andrew Wiggins: 6-8, 200 pounds – G/F, Kansas
Stats: (In 32.8 MPG) 17.1 PPG 5.9 RPG 1.2 SPG 34.1 percent 3PT
BOOM! The best athlete in the draft slides into the perimeter with Burke and Hayward adding defense, rebounding, and transition scoring. Everyone in Utah rejoices and the Jazz get back into the playoffs sooner rather than later.
2. Joel Embiid: 7-0, 250 pounds – C, Kansas
Stats: (In 23.1 MPG) 11.2 PPG 8.1 RPG 2.6 BPG 62.6 percent FG
While Favors is clearly a more productive player at the five, having the two towers in the middle now could be the formula to eventually be a San Antonio Spurs type dynasty in future years. Those two would clog the paint defensively, own the glass, and Embiid can play on the high post with his shooting offensively.
3. Jabari Parker: 6-8, 235 pounds – F, Duke
Stats: (In 30.7 MPG) 19.1 PPG 8.7 RPG 35.8 percent 3PT
This is the marketing home run. A large Mormon populous in Utah and a great basketball player who is also a Mormon is like printing season tickets and giving them away. Parker plays the four next to Favors, becomes the go-to late-game scorer, and is a pick-and-roll monster with the Burke/Hayward combo.
4. Julius Randle: 6-9, 250 pounds – PF, Kentucky
Stats: (In 30.8 MPG) 15.0 PPG 10.4 RPG 50.1 percent FG
Classic rebounding four with modern day athleticism and perimeter skills playing off of Favors in the paint would be an ideal match. Randle is no great defender, but he can play on the high post, rebound, and compliment this roster favorably.
5. Noah Vonleh: 6-9.75, 247 pounds – PF Indiana
Stats: (In 26.5 MPG) 11.3 PPG 9.0 RPG 52.3 percent FG
It seems Vonleh fits well on any roster because he is about substance rather than style. He, like Randle and Parker, slides in perfectly next to Favors as a more perimeter oriented four man, but also has the rebounding and defensive abilities to lock down the paint on that end as well.
No matter what the position in this draft, the Jazz have to leave with one of the Top 5 prospects in general. Whatever order you have them, these are the 5 best prospects and any of them would be a welcome addition to the roster and continue the rebuild that now has its fourth top-10 pick in the past five drafts.
What do you think?
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