Dakota’s 2015 Jazz Big Board 1.0

May 9th, 2015 | by Dakota Schmidt
ESPN.com

ESPN.com

With the upcoming NBA Draft Combine combined with the Draft Lottery on the 20th, I thought that the time was right to add a Jazz-oriented big board alongside my weekly prospect profiles. This big board shouldn’t be looked at as how I’d rank these players in a mock draft, but rather how I’d rank them if I was running the Jazz. For example, a lot of people may consider Jerian Grant as a better NBA prospect than Kevon Looney, but the UCLA product would be a more suitable fit for the Jazz. Also, tier 4 are prospects that I believe that the Jazz could look at if they decide to trade out of the lottery and move towards mid/late 1st round. Finally, you’ll note that I’ve taken out the players that are very unlikely to be around when the Jazz draft at #12.

 

Pick Player Position College Class
1 Kristaps Porzingis PF Sevilla
As I’ve discussed frequently in my draft profiles, the Jazz are in need of a prominent stretch big that they could place alongside either Favors or Gobert. In this draft, Porzingis is probably the best option to fit that role, as the 7’1 center was dominating from the perimeter (45% from 3 during Eurocup), while being mobile enough to cut to the paint. The combination of size and that offensive potential would allow him to be a spectacular 3rd big for the team.
2 Stanley Johnson SF Arizona Freshman
Although Justise Winslow has taken the throne as the best American wing in this year’s draft, Johnson would still be a fantastic fit for the Jazz, as he’s exhibited a unique ability to defend against multiple positions. That versatility combined with his developing perimeter jumper would allow him to be a fantastic rotational piece that will be able to develop alongside of Rodney Hood or Dante Exum
3 Mario Hezonja SG/SF Barcelona
While Rodney Hood and Alec Burks create a pretty threatening duo at the SG position, that still won’t be enough for the Jazz to pass up on Mario Hezonja if he’s still available. The 20-year-old Hezonja really is the perfect modern NBA prospect, as he has a fantastic 6’8 frame, quickness and a solid perimeter jumper. As well, the transition to the NBA might not be such a huge climb for Hezonja, as he’s been playing against top Euro competition since he was 17.
— End tier 1 —
4 Frank Kaminsky PF/C Wisconsin Senior
While not as sexy of a prospect as somebody like Porzingis, Kaminsky could definitely make an immediate and positive impact as Utah’s 3rd big. Like Porzingis, Kaminsky continued to showcase his skills as a dominant perimeter shooter, shooting 42% during his senior season. As well, he has a pretty well-defined post-up game with being able to score from both the left and right block. Although there are some concerns about his defensive potential, his skills on the other end would create a solid inside-outside dynamic with Favors or Gobert.
5 Kevon Looney SF/PF UCLA Freshman
Kevon Looney might be in the midst of tier 2 if he stood an inch or two taller. Despite his 7’2 wingspan, Looney’s 6’9 frame combined with a lack of strength could create some mismatches, at least in the early stages of his NBA career. However, his defensive tenacity and perimeter acumen makes him into an interesting prospect for the Utah Jazz’s #12 pick.
 6 Kelly Oubre SF/PF Kansas Freshman
Although Oubre is in the same freshman class as Justise Winslow or Stanley Johnson, he’s still a few steps behind either prospect. With that said, there’s still a lot to like about Oubre, as he has a tantalizing frame (stands 6’7 with a 7’1 wingspan) with a pretty smooth shooting stroke. However, his pedestrian ball-handling ability combined with not having a great feel for the game makes him more of a project than anything else.
— End tier 2 —
7  Sam Dekker SG/SF Wisconsin Junior
In the case of Utah looking forward to an immediate fit rather than a project like Looney, then Dekker might be the right way to go. Dekker’s size, defensive discipline and ability to work off-ball could allow him to be an immediate fit inside Utah’s rotation. However, I really don’t see him making any improvements that would warrant him making his way towards the Jazz starting lineup, which is why he’s slotted in tier 3.
8 Myles Turner PF/C Texas Freshman
Since my profile on him, I’ve been both hot and cold on Turner as a potential prospect for the Jazz. While on the frame he looks like a strong, 7’0 center that can knock down the perimeter J and block shots, he really wasn’t consistent from either end. With that jumper, Turner only shot 27% from 3, which is a concern because he’s so reliant on that jumper. Meanwhile, Turner really didn’t show anything to make me believe that he can be a solid PnR defender, which is another huge concern. However, I’m sticking him in tier 3 because of his youth (won’t turn 20 until the middle of his rookie season) and potential to be a solid two-way threat.
9 Devin Booker SG/SF Kentucky Freshman
As I talked about in my recent profile piece on him, Devin Booker will have the prettiest jumpers once he lands in the NBA next year. However, the reason why he’s in this tier is because he really doesn’t have anything besides that. Could his jumper help out Utah’s offense? Absolutely, but I’m super hesitant on drafting a specialist in the lottery.
10 Jerian Grant PG/SG Notre Dame Senior
Although the PG position is currently manned by two former lotto picks (Trey Burke and Dante Exum), the Notre Dame stud could still be able to find a role inside the team’s rotation. As a 6’5 guard, Grant is probably one of the more NBA-ready prospects that the Jazz could draft, as he’s a pretty solid facilitator (7.4 assists per 40 minutes). Alongside that, his unique size gives him a lot of potential as a two-way defender.
— End tier 3 —
11 Bobby Portis SF/PF Arkansas Sophomore
As mentioned in the intro, none of the following five players should be considered as options at #12. However, that isn’t a knock on Portis, as he brings a lot to the traits that Quin Snyder and crew seem to love: active defender that can guard multiple positions, be a solid pick-and-roll threat, and to just give 100% whenever he’s on the court. Portis could potentially be best suited in the role that Trevor Booker played. While it’s not too glamorous of a position, it’s an extremely vital role inside the Jazz’s infrastructure.
12 Christian Wood PF UNLV Sophomore
In the rare situation where the Jazz move out of the lottery and are still interested in a 3rd big, Christian Wood might have  the highest upside out of any other front-court prospects. Wood has at least exhibited the potential to score from all areas of the court by possessing a smooth shooting stroke and being a dominant presence on the offensive glass (3.4 offensive boards per 40 minutes). However his lack of defensive awareness and slim frame helps him maintain that “project” label.
13 RJ Hunter SG/SF Georgia State Junior
At least among the non-lottery bound prospects, RJ Hunter should stand as one of the more prolific shooters. While he wasn’t too efficient during his junior season (29% from 3), his range and slick shooting stroke is extremely appealing, especially for a team like Utah. As well, his solid frame (Hunter stands 6’5 with a terrific 6’8 wingspan) could allow him to guard multiple positions in the NBA.
14 Justin Anderson SG/SF Virginia Junior
At least in this year’s draft class, Justin Anderson is probably the best example of a “3-and-D” player. Since his Virginia arrival in 2012-13, Anderson has helped keep the team as one of the finest defensive squads in the nation, as they kept opponents to shoot 40% from inside the perimeter according to KenPom. A big reason for that was because of Anderson, as he used his fantastic frame (stands at 6’6 with a 6’11 wingspan) to defend against multiple positions. As well, Anderson was a pretty standout perimeter threat, as he shot 41% from beyond the arc during his junior season. Because of those traits, he could fill in as a solid piece that Snyder can fit behind Gordon Hayward.
15 Tyus Jones PG Duke Freshman
As I said with Jerian Grant, the Jazz probably won’t be looking for a PG early in the draft, after spending the last two years using their lotto picks on Burke and Exum. However, as Burke has seemingly slotted himself in as a score-first minded weapon off the team’s bench, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to find a player that’s more comfortable with working as a facilitator. Duke freshman Tyus Jones is one of the best examples of that, as he did a terrific job controlled the high-powered National Champions, as he was able to maintain an excellent 2.87 Ast/TO ratio.
16 Trey Lyles PF Kentucky Freshman
Although Lyles has the tools to eventually turn into a solid pick-and-roll threat based around his mobility and general feel for the game, I’m hesitant about putting him too high on this list because of his struggles on the defensive end. It just doesn’t feel like Lyles knows what position he’s supposed to guard, as he spent a lot of time against smaller players, who were able to cut right past him. For a team like Utah that rests on their work on the defensive end, drafting a potential liability in Lyles probably wouldn’t be a good idea, especially after having to watch Enes Kanter struggle on defense for the past three seasons.

Dakota Schmidt

A Wisconsinite who spends way too much time watching mediocre basketball. Started to love the game as I watched the "Big 3" era of the Bucks in the early 2000's but was eventually raised on the teams lead by the likes of Michael Redd, Desmond Mason and Andrew Bogut. Those mediocre teams helped me grow an appreciation for the less than spectacular style of basketball which has lead me to different gigs with Queen City Hoops (Bobcats), Ridiculous Upside (D-League) and now Salt City Hoops.

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8 Comments

  1. Carson Knuth says:

    I think Chris Wood is one of the types of players that we would go after if he fell near the end of the first round (sorta like we did with Rudy) and we had used our pick on someone else who fell to us that didn’t fit that “stretch-4” we are looking for. Could fill a Jeremy Evans type of role the first two years or so. I do think we end up with two first rounders this year though. With the Cap rising fast the next few years, it’ll be beneficial to have as many rookie deals as Coach Q can handle.

    I live in Las Vegas, and I’ve actually been able to see Chris Wood play quite a bit. He has a lot of defensive potential, UNLV just never could put together a decent scheme which hurts his draft tape. He’s a really good shot blocker, and an above average rebounder even with his slight frame.

    I’m just stoked for the draft and what next year holds.

  2. Paul Johnson says:

    From what I have seen of Porzingis, he is currently much too skinny and weak to play much defense, especially against front court players. On the other hand, although it is a bit hard to judge the quality of his ball-handling skills based on European competition, he looks like he might have a skill set in creating his own shot somewhat reminiscent of Kevin Durant. Therefore, he is one of those rare players (such as Dirk Nowitski) whose offense may far outweigh his defensive shortcomings. However, if his offensive ability does not become dominant in the NBA, he could easily become a bust. He reminds me a bit of a taller Andrei Kirilenko, but with a much better jumpshot, and not-as-good defensive instincts.

  3. Paul Johnson says:

    Initially, I was not very high on Frank Kaminsky, because of his lack of elite length and athleticism, and because he is older, and therefore, probably does not have as much upside as some of the other players in the draft. However, I am really starting to come around on him, as a good fit for the Jazz.

    He does seem to have enough size, length and athleticism to be at least a solid defender in the post, on backup players at both the PF and C positions. He seems to have the type of frame that could put on more muscle, so that he could compensate for his lack of length and athleticism by being stronger. And, he has good court sense, unlike Enes Kanter, so he can compensate for his defensive shortcomings by playing smart (much like Larry Bird was able to do–although I’m not comparing Kaminsky to Larry Bird).

    On the offensive end, he not only has a very good, reliable jump shot clear out to the 3-point line, but has a repertoire of other nifty offensive moves in the post and elsewhere that helps him to be a very effective scorer. He is also a smart team player, who can pass and make things happen on offense for others, as well as for himself.

    He looks like he could have a game similar to that of Mehmet Okur, which would be a perfect complement to the games of Favors and Gobert. He could provide much needed offense in the front court playing alongside either of Favors or Gobert, or on the second unit. The Jazz were willing to invest a good chunk of money in Enes Kanter (just not as much as Kanter wanted), despite his defensive shortcomings, because of his unique offensive abilities. Kaminsky could give the Jazz a similar offensive weapon at a much cheaper price, without some of the shortcomings of Kanter–such as lack of overall court sense and lack of desire to play defense.

  4. Pingback: Utah Jazz Draft Prospects 2015: Kristaps Porzingis | Salt City Hoops

  5. IDJazzman says:

    I would have to agree with your rating system and the way you have the players slotted. Good job. I would have to say that the player that the Jazz could possibly get and would be the best fit into Snyder’s system would be Porzingis. He can play defense. His lack of strength would show up on the defensive end but his height would help with his lack of strength, but on the offensive end playing as a stretch 4, the lack of strength wouldn’t be as much of an issue. As your system inferred, he probably won’t be available at the 12 spot, but he could be well within the reach of the Jazz by trading up 4 or 5 spots to get him, which might not be that difficult to accomplish. I think he’s worth it.

  6. Matt says:

    From what I can tell, draftexpress.com and nbadraft.net were the most accurate mockers last cycle. They both have Porzingus, Johnson, and Hezonja all off the board well before 12. It’s possible (but unlikely?) that DL could move up a few spots. Assuming UTA picks 12th, the pick will almost certainly come from your tier 2 group.

  7. Pingback: Utah Jazz Draft Prospects 2015: Christian Wood | Salt City Hoops

  8. Clint Johnson says:

    Justin Anderson will move up, maybe as high as the late lottery. 7′ wingspan (just 0.25″ shy), 43″ max vertical, 230 lbs, 45% from 3. If he shoots well in workouts, teams will see Vince Carter’s physicality with Devin Booker’s shooting. If the Jazz used pick 12 on him even with him projected to go ten picks later, I’d be fine with it. He’s the best 3 and D player in this draft, and getting that for pick 12 would be a steal.

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