It’s been almost a week since Dennis Lindsey, Kevin O’Connor, and the Miller family injected some amazing energy into the Utah Jazz faithful. In many ways, Hope is Renewed, or, at the minimum, greatly increased.
The Utah Jazz started out with the #14, #21, and #46 picks and through a series of maneuvers, finishing the evening with the #9, #27, and #47 pick. and as a result, Trey Burke, Rudy Gobert, and heartthrob Raul Neto. The Jazz clearly had a plan entering Thursday’s affairs and executed it.
The reaction from Jazz fans, whether sitting at EnergySolutions Arena or on Twitter, was overwhelmingly positive. Well, what does the national media think about Utah’s efforts? As you’ve seen, I’ve been posted a weekly compilation of the ever-evolving mock drafts. So it would only be apropos for me to do one last compilation: the various Draft Grades given by the different sites.
Sports Illustrated Team Grades, by Chris Mannix: A-
Chris Mannix liked what the Jazz did, saying the got “arguably the best [point guard] in the draft in Trey Burke,” also saying he is “ready to play right away.” He wasn’t as enamored with Gobert’s pick-up, but suggests it was worth the risk at the end of the Draft.
USA Today Western Conference Grades, by Adi Joseph: A-
Adi Joseph said what a lot of us were thinking: Burke should not have been available at #9. Honestly, it was a near-perfect sequence of events: Anthony Bennett being the surprise top pick, Cody Zeller heading to Charlotte at #4, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope going to Detroit at #8. KCP was rumored to be Minnesota’s top choice and when we was nabbed, it set up the transaction like John Stockton set up Karl Malone. As Joseph points out, the Jazz “acted quickly” with the trade working for both parties. He suggests that “Burke will start right away and give the Jazz a creative tour de force.” He liked the Gobert move, as he could potentially develop slowly.
Yahoo Sports NBA Draft Grades, by Kelly Dwyer: B+
Dwyer: “This is such a Utah Jazz-sort of pick, but in the “everyone’s tied for first!”-glow of summer, I love it.” Like many out there, he believed McCollum was a Jazz target, but Utah ended up favoring Burke due to his leadership qualities. He does say this: “At worst, he’ll be the trusted backup to That Guy if the Jazz pull a deal for a prominent point guard.” I think that the Jazz feel like Burke has all the tools to be a prominent point guard. Regarding Gobert, Dwyer thinks he could become a “rim protector nonpareil for years to come.”
ESPN Insider Draft Grades, by Chad Ford: B+
Ford was a fan of the Jazz’s wheeling and dealing. He said “With Burke they get a floor general who can excel equally at scoring and getting others involved. He’s a little small for his position and lacks elite athleticism, but he plays with a lot of moxie and has the winning credentials that scouts tend to love.” It looks like the reason he went with a B+ is that Ford preferred McCollum for Utah. He said the hope with Gobert is that “he can turn into a Roy Hibbert-type rim protector.”
As for me, I too give the Utah Jazz an A- for an excellent Draft. The way Lindsey and friends carried out the swaps was deliberate and intentional, a trend that I think we’ll see carried out moving forward with free agency and other trades. They knew who their targets were and when the aforementioned surprises occurred, they moved swiftly. Trey Burke was their main target, that is clear. In Rudy Gobert, they see a defensive presence – a giant with mobility who, at #27, could be a low-risk/high-reward guy. Raul Neto may not come over this year, but he’s someone the Jazz’s international scouting staff and Lindsey, through his interactions with Spurs center Tiago Splitter, are familiar with. He could be a stellar find with Utah’s ever-favorite #47 pick.
All in all, it was a brilliant evening, truly one of the most euphoric in recent Jazz history. While we don’t know how everything will unfold with these three players, we know that the Utah Jazz have a plan and this was just the beginning.