Staff Scrimmage: Draft Reactions & What’s Next

June 23rd, 2017 | by Salt City Hoops

NBA hopefuls and fans converged on Brooklyn on Thursday night.

How would you rate or grade the Jazz’s draft-night acquisition of Donovan Mitchell (No. 13) in exchange for No. 24 and Trey Lyles?

Denim Millward: B+.  I like Mitchell, and more importantly I trust the opinion and scouting of Utah’s front office.  Dumping a player as young as Lyles, who at one time showed a lot of promise is certainly not without risk, however.  It could be that GM Dennis Lindsey and company simply felt jumping up 11 spots was worth pulling the plug on the Lyles experiment, but I also wonder if perhaps Jazz head honchos weren’t enamored with how Lyles handled last season’s demotion.

David Smith: A-. The Jazz targeted a player they loved in pre-draft workouts and made the aggressive move to get him. Mitchell seems like the perfect fit for Utah, on and off the court. He is athletic, competes on both ends of the court, can shoot and is a team player. Moreover, Mitchell was equally positive about the organization. Lindsey managed to get the guy he wanted, and gave up very little. Trey Lyles could have a bounce-back year, but as of right now, the Jazz absolutely came out on top in this deal.

Matt Pacenza: I’m more interested in how Lyles’ stock plummeted among Jazz fans. If the Jazz had traded Lyles to move up 11 spots after 2015-16, we all would have been flabbergasted. At the end of his rookie year, Lyles looked like possibly the ideal power forward to pair with Rudy Gobert: he competed hard on both ends and shot 38 percent on 3-pointers. But, especially in the latter half of 2016-17, Lyles was reduced to a shell, lacking confidence, bumbling about the court and seeing his minutes sharply reduced. Even as I welcome the promising Mitchell, it’s sad to see Lyles gone while wondering what might have been.
Spencer Wixom: I give this trade a 9/10. I’m absolutely shocked that Lindsey was able to turn a non-rotation player and a late first into a lottery pick. The value seemed incredible. The Mitchell pick is one that seems like a great fit. Mitchell voiced his desire to be in Utah. He is an elite defender with fantastic athleticism. His spot up shooting has improved and showed great potential. I think Mitchell has the chance to be similar to someone like Avery Bradley.
Ken Clayton: High marks to the Jazz for identifying their target and finding a way to get him. The cost of upgrading from No. 24 to 13 wasn’t that high, given Lyles’ sophomore struggles. Maybe he turns into an NBA player, but I don’t think he would have in Utah. Mitchell brings needed athleticism, length (wingspan if not height), and a defensive willingness. That should be enough to get him some time as a rookie, but he’ll need to improve as a shooter to demand an increased role. He should be able to play in lineups with the Jazz’ ball-handling wings, but if he can hone his PG skills over time, his opportunities will increase.

How would you rate or grade the Jazz’s draft-night acquisition of Tony Bradley (No. 28) in exchange for Nos. 30 and 42?

Dan Clayton: Adding the No. 42 to move up two spots is actually in line with historical trade value of late first rounders… but history doesn’t factor in that better G-League affiliations and the new two-way rule have made second-round picks more valuable than ever. Still, it feel like a small price to pay given that there was no way the Jazz were going to use all four picks anyway. As for Bradley, the thing that first sticks out to me is how engaged he is: he plays with effort and smarts on both ends. Obviously there are concerns or he wouldn’t have been available after 27 other picks, but that mental makeup could be a good sign that he’ll put in the work.
Spencer: 6/10. I’m not a huge Bradley fan.  The best part about Bradley is his NBA body. He is good at a lot of things, but not elite at anything. However, the Jazz clearly love him and I’m glad they got the guy they wanted. Value wise, it feels like an over pay to give 42 to move from 30 to 28. If Bradley turns out to be a rotation player though, it will have been worth it.
Ken: The Jazz were high on Bradley after his workout, and according to David Locke, would have taken him at No. 24 had they not traded that pick. They must have had intel that the Spurs were interested at 29, or else they wouldn’t have felt the need to jump over the Spurs to get him. Giving up the 42nd selection wasn’t crucial to the 2017-18 Jazz, but the pick could have been flipped for $3.5M or a future second-round pick. Bradley averaged only 14.6 minutes in his single season at UNC, but his production in those minutes ranked him #10 out of potential draftees. The Jazz will hope for that kind of production as Bradley develops his body and game.

What’s your take on Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss, drafted with the No. 55 pick?

Dan: A guard from Gonzaga — what could possibly go wrong? This one comes with the explicit endorsement of the best guy to ever come out of the Spokanne school: John Stockton is a believer. That said, it’s more likely that Williams-Goss will sign one of the new two-way contracts that allows him to learn and play with the SLC Stars but be available to the Jazz in a pinch.
Spencer: 7/10.  I would have gone with Jonathan Motley, but there is apparently concerning medical information that kept him undrafted.  Williams-Goss does have a profile of a second round pick who can succeed. He has a very high motor and has flaws that you could see being exposed in the process. Some don’t like that he isn’t much of a scorer, but he’s a fantastic shooter so he could fit well playing off ball with the Jazz wings.  He’s not incredibly quick and that is his biggest downfall that he will have to overcome. Overall I’m happy with the pick.
Ken: What Jazz fan isn’t rooting for an unheralded rookie point guard from Gonzaga? His opportunities to make the team will be limited, but given the expanding relationship between the NBA and the G-League, one potential short-term goal might be to ink a “two-way” deal, which will enable him to play for the Stars but spend up to 45 days with the Jazz1. Either way, he could work and develop in Salt Lake City while waiting for an opportunity.

Overall, given the Jazz’s draft night, what else do they need to do to be ready for July 1?

Spencer: They need to compile and asset or two and add someone that is a little more intriguing for Gordon Hayward. According to Tony Jones, Lindsey said he is continuing to look for a point guard as well. That will be key.

Ken: The primary goal is to give Hayward a compelling reason to remain a Jazzman, and draft night probably didn’t do much to help that cause. The first order of business is the point guard situation. Free agent George Hill helped the Jazz improve last year when he played, but when he didn’t (and occasionally when he struggled), the point guard position was a revolving door of who was playing the least badly. The Jazz could make a move before free agency that precludes bringing Hill back, like trading for Ricky Rubio. Another trade target, Patrick Beverley, has a favorable contract and could theoretically fit on the team with Hill. The Jazz frontcourt also got thinner on Thursday with Lyles’ departure, and Boris Diaw’s contract could become a casualty of a a luxury tax crunch.

Dan: I don’t really take the must-solve-point-guard-before-July-1 point of view at face value. Hayward is too smart to sign somewhere else at 12:01 a.m. just because the Jazz got to his house before they got to Hill’s. To me, it feels like a way to justify moving on from George Hill, who it sounds as though the Jazz may be ready to live without. Remember, Lindsey started the offseason by telling reporters he’d have no hard feelings if Hill “gets a crazy offer somewhere else and we helped him get that offer.” That sounds like an announcement that the Jazz aren’t interested in paying the going rate. Having said that, I do think they’ll canvas the trade market for available starting-caliber point guards, but the list is finite.

What’s your favorite semi-realistic dream deal, either for a June trade using the last of Utah’s 2016-17 cap space, or for a signing or deal after 7/1?

Matt: I would love to see the Jazz pick up a PG to pair with the improving Exum and the promising Mitchell who doesn’t require a four or five year commitment. That very well could mean Hill, who was so valuable when healthy next year. Would he take $40 million for two years, for example? Is there a trade the Jazz could make for Eric Bledsoe, due $29 million over the next two years? Now, of course, a huge chunk of the response to that question has to be the influence of those deals on Hayward, but looking at this roster, a long, costly commitment to an aging PG with a shaky health history doesn’t feel wise.

Ken: Of the known PG options, the best case scenario is to trade for Beverley and sign Hill at a reasonable rate. Rubio is younger and might be a better true point guard, but the Jazz were at their best with Hill’s shooting, defense and toughness. Beverley also brings defensive tenacity, and could be good for the development of Dante Exum and Mitchell. His contract is also incredibly tradeable at the deadline or next offseason, if there’s another opportunity to improve. The Jazz aren’t going to get a marquee big (sorry Paul Millsap fans), but they need to add to the current group of Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, Joe Johnson and Bradley. Depending on other salary saving moves, they might have to look for some relatively inexpensive bigs with upside. Guys like Patrick Patterson, Kelly Olynyk, James Johnson and Amir Johnson might be in this group.

Dan: I don’t know how realistic it is, but I’d see what Utah’s best trade package — Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood and the OKC pick — could get in terms of a quasi-star wing. It’s not going to net the Jazz a Paul George or Jimmy Butler level superstar, but if a package like that could get you a Khris MIddleton2 or Evan Fournier3, that’s a noticeable upgrade and takes some pressure off of Hayward without demoting him from top dog. Since it’s probably not altogether realistic, the Jazz could shore up the PG spot and see if the mid-level exception ($8 million and change) could help them add depth up front.

Spencer: As far as dream deals go, I would still love to see Utah acquire Patrick Beverly. Diaw’s contract is really valuable for cap room and Houston wants to clear space. Depending on how negotiations go, i wouldn’t mind adding to the deal to get Lou Williams as well. They make a combined $12 million, and I think I’d rather have that combo than George Hill at $20+ million.

Among the feee agents, my dream target would be James Johnson. I think he fits everything the Jazz need. He can switch between the 3 and 4, he’s a hard-nosed defender, he has a decent 3-point shot, and his motor doesn’t stop running. Amir Johnson would be another good target.

 

4 Comments

  1. Spencer says:

    I think there is a real possibility that the Jazz go after Millsap and at least introduce the idea of signing to him. Then they use Favors Burke Diaw trio to look into PG options, Hill, Lowry, Holiday as free agents. If you are a competitor you either go to a team that can compete with you there or you flounder. There are. It many rosters that you can add to like Utahs and get to competing for a championship.

    Bledsoe is a target for a trade.

  2. Todd says:

    The Jazz just drafted 2 more point guards after drafting 2 point guards the year before, trading for George Hill, and carrying 4-point guards on the roster (Hill, Mack, Exum, and Neto). Now they’re trying to trade for 2 more point guards (Hill replacement, better backup). We just need to pay Hill the max and finally solidify the PG position. So he’s older but he’s hardly injury prone just because he missed some games last year, maybe the Jazz medical staff needs to figure out how to help him with the toe. I’ve head no mention of off-season surgery and this is a guy who got a player of the week out of the gate for the Jazz and looked just as good as Hayward at times. Let’s not lose him over money when the Jazz brass can figure out a way later to trade him in year 3 or 4 of his contract if he’s showing signs of aging. We need a top 10 PG to compete in the West.

  3. Todd Kerr says:

    The Jazz just drafted 2 more point guards after drafting 2 point guards the year before, trading for George Hill, and carrying 4-point guards on the roster (Hill, Mack, Exum, and Neto). Now they’re trying to trade for 2 more point guards (Hill replacement, better backup). We just need to pay Hill the max and finally solidify the PG position. So he’s older but he’s hardly injury prone just because he missed some games last year, maybe the Jazz medical staff needs to figure out how to help him with the toe. I’ve head no mention of off-season surgery and this is a guy who got a player of the week out of the gate for the Jazz and looked just as good as Hayward at times. Let’s not lose him over money when the Jazz brass can figure out a way later to trade him in year 3 or 4 of his contract if he’s showing signs of aging. We need a top 10 PG to compete in the West.

  4. Paul Johnson says:

    Is either Motiejunas or Bogut a big who the Jazz might target?

    It appears that Motiejunas has finally recovered from the injury that caused Detroit to back off from the trade with Houston last season (and that caused Houston to ultimately waive him). However, lingering doubts about his health being a risk (along with lowered salary cap and luxury tax amounts for the 2017-2018 season) may bring his market value down into the range of Boris Diaw’s present contract. Also, Motiejunas has expressed interest in signing with the Jazz, so the Jazz may not have to pay a premium over market value to sign him. He has never had a reputation as a strong defender, but is tall and long and mobile, so you would think he could improve that aspect of his game. He’s a stretch big who could probably play both center and PF–but who has also shown that he has a pretty good post presence and game. He appears to have some of the same skills the Jazz perceived Lyles to have, so he could probably fill the role of a stretch/ball handling PF for the Jazz (making up for Lyles’ departure) as well as offer a nice change of pace to Rudy as a backup stretch-5 center.

    If the Jazz look like they could be enough of a contender to at least challenge the GSW a bit next season, Andrew Bogut might consider joining the Jazz at the veteran’s minimum next season. He is coming off a leg injury he suffered in his first game with Cleveland right after he joined the team following the trade deadline, so he may not be ready to play until later in the season and may not be at full strength until the playoffs–but he could provide some nice veteran depth for the Jazz in the playoffs next season, if was interested in signing with the Jazz. With his recent injury history (coupled with his overall injury history), it appears that he is clearly on the downside of his career, but he could still be a valuable player in limited minutes, if he could be signed for a reasonable contract.

    I agree with Spencer that James Johnson could fill a need for the Jazz, with two caveats. First of all, the Pat Riley regime in Miami is known for getting the best out of players, who never seem to perform quite as well when they move onto another team–so another team who signs James Johnson may not get the player who had career highs last season in almost every way (but would probably get a player closer to the one who played for Toronto for several years). Secondly, coming off a very productive contract year, Johnson may be able to get some team to overpay him in the range of $15 mil. per year in a contract going forward. I would not be interested in the Jazz acquiring him unless they could get him in the $8-$10 mil. per year range.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *