Morning After Drill: Dreaming Up – The 2011 NBA Draft Lottery

May 18th, 2011 | by Jeff Lind

I think we’ve all come to terms with the overall “meh” that is this 2011 NBA draft. It’s a two horse race, and the rest of the field is full of GM landmines. I mean, we have a Turkish player that hasn’t played a single competitive game in the last year being discussed as a top pick! Some of these players will certainly be good, but it’s hard to say ANY (besides maybe Irving) will be no-lose great. So, why wouldn’t the Utah Jazz use all their luck this year and get saddled with the number 3 pick? Your guess is as good as mine.

So, here we are… the Jazz have the 3 and 12 picks and need to make some magic happen. It’s a rebuild year, so they can’t afford not to have a successful draft… but it’s dicey at best. What do they do? Here’s my take on the two picks the morning after:

The 12: I don’t see a scenario where the Jazz don’t take Jimmer Fredette if he’s available. Right now, Chad Ford has Jimmer heading to the Suns at 13 (Sam Amick of SI has him going 22 to the Nuggets), but I think the Jazz grab him first. Here’s why:

  1. He’s a player and a winner. I know he played almost NO defense in college, but he was mandated to save energy for offense. The Jazz definitely need defense, but they desperately need someone that can create offense and shots off the dribble, and Jimmer can create. It’s rare, but Jimmer is the kind of player that is a threat as soon as he steps across the half court line.
  2. He is a goldmine. You thought Kyle Korver sold jerseys? All Kyle did was kinda look like a Mormon. I don’t think any of us have a barometer for what an actual Mormon kid can do in the Salt Lake market. He’s the Tim Tebow of the NBA draft, and whatever team picks him will sell a bajillion jerseys, put butts in chairs, and will whip the fan hypemachine into a lathered frenzy. All of which will be compounded if he goes to the Jazz.  Don’t underestimate the importance of any of those three items to a small market team that is in the throes of rebuilding.

Is he a long term solution? Can he play in the NBA? Is he too slow for the 1, but too small for the 2? I don’t know. All I know is that the talent disparity between Jimmer and anyone else in this draft at a relative position to his is not great. If the Jazz do end up keeping the 12, I’m willing to take a flyer on a kid that is going to keep the franchise I love alive during rebuild years.

[Saying all of that, remember that the Pacers once had a similar situation. They made the hard choice and took a pass at the 11th pick on hometown hero Steve Alford (Yes... the same Alford that was mixed up in BYU trouble last year). Fans were LIVID that the franchise didn't pick the New Castle, Indiana native. In the end they got over it... since the Pacers ultimately passed over Alford for the Knick slayer himself: Reggie Miller. Yikes.]

 

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The 3: This pick depends on one horrifying thing… David Kahn. The Minnesota Timberwolves notorious GM (who  is STILL dealing with the sins of his past picks) may be the Jazz’ great hope, or great destroyer. Make no mistake, the Jazz want Derrick Williams. He’s a talented (near) can’t-miss type that shoots well, is NBA ready (well… as close as anyone in this draft), and can be a viable wing for the team. Williams would immediately address one of the team’s greatest needs, but unfortunately, every draft board I’ve looked at has him going at 2 to the Wolves. BUT, if there’s one GM that will either A) trade this pick, or B) screw this pick up, it’s David Kahn. Hooray! Here’s the good, bad and lucky of the 3 pick:

  • The good: Chad Ford says “I’m already hearing from sources that Minnesota has told people it’s very open to moving the second pick. Kahn really wants to add some veteran help to the team.” Well, the Jazz have veterans, and need that 2 spot. My hope would be that the Jazz package a current vet, and maybe the 12 or 3 pick and jump to the 2 (Millsap?).
  • The bad: Other, more desperate teams want that 2 pick. If the Jazz don’t end up landing it, they are the team on the outside looking in. The 3 pick will probably ultimately turn into Brandon Knight – a fine player, but not AMAZING, or Enes Kanter…  the Turkish tough guy who hasn’t played a competitive basketball game in over a year (yep… your 2011 NBA draft, folks). I doubt the Jazz take Kanter, since they already have 5 guys that can play his position, and what are they going to do with minutes in that situation, but you never know. Kanter has more upside than nearly anyone else 3-10 in this draft.
  • The lucky: If David Kahn chooses Enes Kanter at 2 and Derrick Williams falls into the Jazz’ lap… pretty sure that’s a guarantee.

As a basketball fan, you really can’t complain about moving up in the draft, but if you’re going to pick a draft to move up in, this was not the one to do it. It will be interesting to see if Kevin O’Connor can make some magic happen, and more than almost any other GM – he has incentive. The Jazz lost the AMAZING Williams and HOF Sloan on his watch. Well O’Connor, it’s your time to shine. Time to make us believers. Prove to Jazz fans that you made the right moves last year. Right now, the jury is out… and Kevin is on the clock. We’re all dreaming up.

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29 Comments

  1. Tyler Riggs says:

    No chance the Jazz draft Jimmer at 12. You BYU homers are overestimating the amount the Jazz care about selling his jerseys. If the Jazz win, they will sell tickets and jerseys. They’re going to draft a player who will help them, not a can’t-play-defense 22-year-old who has an obsessive following in Utah County.

    • Hoax says:

      Give me a break Tyler. You’re just a Ute with an agenda, so please stop.

      If you gave a crap about the Jazz, you’d admit as we all have that the Jazz’s perimter shooting is pathetic right now. Jimmer would help in that category immensely.
      And if you can give me a decent prospect that’s better than Jimmer at 12, I’m all ears. Look at this draft field. Did you watch the combine?? Jimmer just looked better than everyone he played against.

      • r. benz says:

        +1 to your comment. Who is better at 12? Who would help the Jazz more than Fredette that will be available at 12? Selling jerseys and all that other BS aside, the best player for the Jazz at 12 is probably Fredette. There’s no way he can have worse defense and slower lateral movement than Korver and everyone was fine with him because he could knock down shots and be the go-to free-throw guy at the end of a tight game.

  2. Phil says:

    Just wondering if the ESPN affiliate has an editor. “O’Connor.” spell it correctly please. But there are some valid points, aside from the futile attempts to be funny.

  3. Jeff Lind says:

    Nice heads up Phil. Sometimes on a deadline these things happen. Cheer up, buddy. :)

  4. Matt says:

    Very insightful Jeff. Definitely one of the best articles on the draft I have read in terms of understandability and impact on the Jazz. Let’s hope for the best for our Jazzmen!

  5. As much as our faithful Aggie reader Tyler doesn’t like it, the Jazz are definitely open to drafting Jimmer at 12. If anything, we’ve completely undersold Jimmer on this site. You’re absolutely right, T-Riggs, about the Jazz wanting to win more than wanting to sell jerseys, but I agree with Jeff’s point: If everything beyond the top few picks is a wash, why not take a flyer on a proven commodity?

    I’m not sure Jimmer fits with the Jazz, but to say Utah isn’t going to seriously consider it is crazy.

  6. Kyle M says:

    Tyler, I think you’re conflating ends and means here. Making $$ is the end goal; winning is a means to that end, but not the only one. I also think you’re seriously underestimating Jimmer’s appeal. It’s not just a provo thing. I live in NYC and the hype at my office last year was deafening.

  7. nickyjam says:

    Nice article. I agree with you on most of your points: Jazz would love Williams, Fredette really does have an unbelievable upside, and being at the mercy of David Kahn’s dysfunctional brain scares me. I disagree that the Jazz need Fredette to keep fans in this. The Jazz truly have the best fans in the league, and they are not that desperate to draft a player to keep fans happy. However, that’s not your point. Your point was if picks 5-15 are all 6s, why not take a gamble on somebody that would inject some energy in the sport community. I couldn’t agree more. Also, I think you are making Kanter sound worse than he will likely be. I understand he has only played ONE game in over a year, but he has all the tools: big, very physical, rebounds, great jump shot, and a very good bball IQ. He’s like a much more physical Mehmet Okur; he can do it inside and out. I think that him not playing last year may be the reason why he could fall to 3. Who’s to say he’s not far and away the best player in this draft and will have the best career of all?

    Nice to finally see another article from you. Always really fun reads.

    • Dave S says:

      I totally agree with nickyjam. I was a little unsure about the article pinning its reasoning for a draft pick on some sort of money-making philosophy, but having read-on, and read nickyjam’s comment, it makes sense that the Jazz are at least thinking about Jimmer at 12. Indeed, in a weak draft, no one has as much potential to bring so much enthusiasm and energy to the arena, so it might not be such a bad idea after all. As for the 3, we just don’t need Kanter, it might be worth trying to move-up to 2 to secure d-will 2.0, although of course we might not sell so many jerserys if he’s assigned no.8, we can just use the old ones!

      Like the article, understandable yet detailed and comprehensive, thought-provoking.

  8. Rich says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO….anything but Jimmer. seriously the dude can’t play defense in college and the NBA is a bigger and faster game. He’ll get lit up anytime he’s on the court, and he won’t be able to get his shot off over the bigger players either. He’s a lose/lose situation on both the defensive and offensive ends of the floor.

    As for the #2 pick….We don’t want williams either because we got d favors, lets let the kid play. Williams is too small to play the 4 effectivly and not skilled enough for the 3. So he would end up being another 4 that we don’t need.

    Brandon Knight is the answer at #3. Devin Harris is hurt all the time anyways so we’re going to need a point guard. Think of a future revolving around Knight, Hayward, and Favors. I like that core.

    • Jeff Lind says:

      Thanks for the comment, Rich… I obvious disagree on both points, but I see what your’e saying.

      Regarding Jimmer: who is THAT much better at 12 that has Jimmer’s upside? The rules in the NBA give the point guard enough space to create (especially for someone like Jimmer), and he’s a good passer. I think you’re underestimating him a bit. His defense is atrocious, but he’s got the Tebow mentality… if I’m not good at it, I’ll get good at it. I like that. I think you take the risk (since it isn’t much of a risk in my mind).

      Williams is goooood. I agree 100% that Favors should play on at the 4, but I think Williams can develop as a nice 3 (think of the size with he and Favors on the floor). He’s not skilled enough out of college for immediate 3, but he’s got good fundamentals. He can shoot, he can penetrate, and he’s quick. Besides that, he can finish. For the Jazz’ system, he seems perfect. Lots of cutting for the 3.

    • Brady says:

      I agree with you about Jimmer he is a smaller Kyle Korver and the Jazz do not want that but Williams is an animal, he can play the SF. Did you watch the the NCAA tourney? He is very skilled and athletic, the Jazz would be fools not to take him if he is there. I do agree the Jazz do need a PG but i was thinking maybe they could package a player with the 12th pick to move up and maybe take Knight or Kemba.

      But picture this, if the Jazz do get to draft Williams then i think the starting lineup should look like this: PG Harris SG Miles SF Williams PF Favors C Jefferson (i love Milsap but i think with Favors and if they draft Williams they will probably look to trade him, i hope they keep him with everybody cause that would be a force) Then you would have Milsap or Williams coming off the bench which ever one doesn’t start, along with Evans, Fes, and i’m sure they can find some other big men in Free Agency, Hayward, the PG they draft. With Favors and Jefferson starting they would have big enough guys to match up with the Lakers big men and even Dallas too. The Jazz need to clean house, get rid of AK, Memo, Bell, Elson, Watson, that would open up a bunch of money to spend on younger players that will be the future.

  9. Mike says:

    One of two combos;
    Most probable and the one that makes most sense: B. Knight/Alec Burks or Donatas Moniejunas
    The one I hope happens but is unlikey: D. Williams/ Jimmer Fredette.

    We need a PG and Knight is the best prospect at 3 with the biggest upside. And Alec Burks could be an awesome player but at this point in his development he is not a great shooter (good thing we have horney on the coaching staff). However, if Donatas falls to 12 you have to take a look long, hard look at him. The guy can shoot, and anyone that big that can shoot the ball like that is special. There are a ton of red flags around the guy though. Can the rookie pay scale compare to his current salary? and then of course there’s that whole lockout thing.

    If Kahn could screw it up- Derrick Williams is a Jazz man. To me has he the most potential and could really be a special player. That would leave a golden opportunity to draft The Jimmer at 12, a PG which we do need. Guys, the kid CAN play defense and he WILL. Once he shows that at the combines and workouts I think he can move into the top 10. Lets hope he doesn’t. After watching him play how can you possibly think this kid is nothing but a college sweetheart burnout? He has heart, and if I recall I think that is why 90% of us are Jazz fans, because of guys like him.

  10. nickyjam says:

    I agree with Mike. Nobody will draft Jimmer if he is really THAT bad defensively. Teams will have a chance to see how Fredette plays on the defensive end, and if he can play, he will be drafted, and could even go high. But I have more confidence in KOC than him selecting Jimmer if he can’t play a lick of defense. That should not be a concern as it will surely be sorted out in due time through workouts and camps.

  11. Joe R. says:

    #1 No WAY is Jimmer is available at 12 , I’m not even a BYU fan but everyone is talking about how weak this draft is which means hes gone before 12.

    I would like to know when the last time the NPOY dropped out of the top 10?

    #2. IMO the biggest need is a 2. This draft has been weeeeeak on 2’s ever since Barnes and Jones decided to stay in school. If Williams does drop to 3 it opens up all kinds of possibilities moving the pick along with parts for a top tier 2. Hell I would take a hard look at Bogut/Redd for our picks and parts.

  12. Kngofswng (Blar) says:

    I’m not saying Jimmer couldn’t be solid, but to me, upside refers to great size, body, and athleticism, but underdeveloped skill. Unfortunately for him, you can’t teach 6’4″ with springs in your Reeboks. I don’t see the tremendous upside. That said, I’m anxious to see if he has what it takes and to say he’s not a viable OPTION for the Jazz at 12 seems absurd.

    I do like the Paul Millsap bargaining chip and would love to see an athletic freak like Williams on the Jazz……although somehow that just wouldn’t seem right.

    Kanter makes me nervous because last time I checked, we already have a skilled big man down low who has a soft baby hook. If we knew the guy could play D it would be a different story…..

  13. Josh says:

    “He’s a player and a winner. I know he played almost NO defense in college, but he was mandated to save energy for offense.”

    Adam Morrison?

    • Bloodshy says:

      A common, uninformed comment. Morrison was a great shooter who made ALL of his shots off someone else’s dime when he was open or off of a screen. He had almost no ability to create his own shot in college and it got worse in the pros. Jimmer could get his shot when he was triple-teamed by players that are now considered 1st round prospects. That is a big difference. Jimmer may be equally weak on D, but his O game translates WAY better than Morrison’s.

  14. RyanM says:

    I would love to see the Jazz draft both of these players! Williams is a very good athlete and will be a great presence under the rim. Jimmer is what the Jazz need as well! The Jazz gave Korver away and he was our best threat beyond the arc. (Just watch how he is always in when the game is close. The Bulls know that the three ball and a great free-throw shooter, win close games) We need someone that can create an outside shoot and open up the center for Jefferson and Favors. Ya his defense in college was a little weak but he has the skills to get better. If he is there at 12, we take him with no question!
    What would be good for the Jazz is to bring back an all-star! Howard is a free-agent this offseason and if O’connor was a man he would go after him! Who cares if you don’t land him on your team but be a man and try at least! He is what the Jazz need. A huge athlete that can finish stong under the rim. Give away AK, Memo, Fes, Elson and your third overall pick to get him. Offer him the max salary and you will be surprised when he actually may consider your offer. We aren’t the limelight district but we can offer him the money to come play for a team that will win games every year. Be a man O’connor and try to go after an all-star! I’m sick of everyone saying that Utah isn’t a place where players want to come. It is a stupid!! We never try and we should break the ice and go after Howard! Even if he doesn’t come here, at least we tried and showed the rest of the league we want to be a championship team!

  15. Tony says:

    Here’s how I see it going down. We take Brandon Knight at 3. Then at 12 we take Chris Singleton. If he’s not available we take Lucas Nogueira.

    Never in a million years would we take Fredette.

  16. BillM says:

    I’m excited too, but let’s remember Favors would be #1 in this draft by a 1000 light years and Hayward would prolly go #2 coming off a second deep run with Butler.

    Williams is the same size as Millsap, with a lower work ethic, less intensity on defense and fewer games (i.e. none) at playing small forward. The AZ papers are among his harshest critics; he takes plays off and gets by on raw talent.

    Kanter’s size has been wildly overstated lately, he’s as big as Al at best. His entire rep is based on ONE teenage all-star game. Plus his agent is scared to have work out against other players. He does have some potential, but he’s not Shaq and not even close to a prime Memo or Bogut. I smell Turkish Arajuo. Why not develop Fesenko instead, now that ol’ No Rings is gone?

    All the other Euros are years away from being NBA ready, never mind their contract buyouts.

    The most NBA ready guy in the draft is Kawhi Leonard. Will he be an All-Star, almost certainly not, tho All-Defense is not out of the question. But he’s long & nasty, has an NBA body, by all accounts is a hard worker and sick defender, and his improved shot mechanics have been widely noted in the camps so far. He can play and defend the 2, 3 & 4, depending on the matchups, which Corbin says he’ll consider, unlike his ringless predecessor.

    AK is done, Raja is a decomposed ash heap, and CJ will always be CJ, nothing more. The Jazz have been so putrid at all aspects of toughness, versatility, athleticism, defense and perimeter play for so long it makes me sick.

    Jazz thought outside the box with the DW trade, time to go the next step. Who cares how the “experts” rank players in this putrid draft? Unless KOC is 100% sure Brandon Knight is all that, take the sure, if limited, thing in Leonard at 3, and then the best available *READY TO CONTRIBUTE* player at 12, whether it’s Jimmer or Chris Singleton.

    Forget these Euro fantasy projects. We’ve already got one in Spain who prolly will never be here, and one on the bench the franchise has failed to develop who has more potential (never mind legit size) than all of them combined.

    • Bloodshy says:

      Great posts. Funny and very accurate. The Jazz have way more talent on their roster than is available in this draft. DEVELOP WHAT WE HAVE. However, if Williams or Irving fall in our lap @3, we should take them.

  17. BillM says:

    Tony, my guess is you’re correct. If Singleton is available at 12, the Jazz have to take him esp if they take a PG at 3. He’s raw, but his size and hustle on D can’t be passed up.

    I’m terrified we’ll waste this draft on the homeless man’s Millsap at 3, and some Tomic phantom at 12.

  18. BillM says:

    Ryan, after KOC signs Howard he needs to go after the Brooklyn Bridge. And Sasquatch. Even if we were championship contenders, no marquee player’s agents would ever allow them to sign here, due to the lack of exposure. Why do you think San Antonio never could get a top free agent, even when they had Duncan & Robinson?

    • Jeff Lind says:

      Nice points Bill… I totally agree with your first paragraph. And it’s completely depressing. Saying that, after the Jazz sign Howard, Sasquatch could be a solid contributor in the low post. :)

      (Still laughing at “ash heap.”)

  19. r. benz says:

    Don’t forget that KOC will follow the “Micahel Jordan” rule and draft the best available player at #3, regardless of what the need of the Jazz is. For that reason, you really can’t rule out Kanter. If the dude is durable, he has the movement and the skill set to be an impact player. Watch David Locke’s video breakdown of Kanter that was posted to 1320kfan.com last night. He goes over the good, the bad, the coachable things, etc.

  20. First, the Jazz will only draft Jimmer if they feel he can help them win and they didn’t already take a guard (Brandon Knight) with their #3 pick. The selling jersey’s and tickets is a small bump that will wear off after a year or so. At least that’s what Greg Miller and I think.
    Jimmer can help them win because he is such a great shooter with unlimited range. He can shoot over, around and through NBA defenders, just ask Kawahi Leonard (supposedly one of the most athletic defenders in the draft). If you watched the NBA combine, Kawahi Leonard said that he would rather guard Kemba Walker than Jimmer. The Jazz are one of the worst 3 point shooting teams in the NBA (Gordon Hayward aside). Jimmer is also more than just a shooter. He can pass too. His assists per game numbers (4.3 per game) are essentially equal to Kyrie Irving’s 4.3, Brandon Knight’s 4.2, and Kemba Walker’s 4.5. His basketball IQ is extremely high and he is crafty like Gordon Hayward. The career averages for the #12 pick over the past 30 years is 7.3 points per game and 1.9 assists. I’m pretty sure that Jimmer can be an average #12 pick and fulfill a need as a bench/role player who can shoot (think Kyle Korver with playmaking ability). BTW Kover was a horrible defender too.

  21. Mike D says:

    Please not Jimmmer!!!!!! I wanna see this guy succeed, but not at the expense of a lottery pick for my Jazz.

    A bigger need is somebody to defend Durant for the next 10 years. Chris Singleton!

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