Salt City Hoops » Michael Carter-Williams http://saltcityhoops.com The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:09:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Salt City Hoops no The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Salt City Hoops » Michael Carter-Williams http://saltcityhoops.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://saltcityhoops.com Final Mock Draft Compilation/Random Jazz Draft Thoughts http://saltcityhoops.com/final-mock-draft-compilationrandom-jazz-draft-thoughts/ http://saltcityhoops.com/final-mock-draft-compilationrandom-jazz-draft-thoughts/#comments Wed, 26 Jun 2013 19:23:26 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=6770 Author information
David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Well, it is finally here. The NBA Draft is tomorrow and most likely the Utah Jazz will welcome three new players to the family. It could be more, it could be less. Who could guess what will happen when it is all said and done.

One thing’s for sure: those different mock drafts guessing what will transpire will cease for a season. Without further ado, here is the last mock draft roundup for the Salt City Hoops faithful (focusing just on those that have been updated since the last compilation).

Draft Express mock draft, updated 06.26 morning

Jonathan Givony predicts the Jazz will go big with Mason Plumlee at #14. He also suggests that Dennis Schroeder will fall to #21, where Utah will select him. With #46, he has another point guard, Nemanja Nedovic being the choice. Plumlee is a solid player, but this seems like a bit of a stretch to pick him at #14 (especially if, in this case, guys like Shane Larkin, Sergey Karasev, and Lucas Nogueira are still on the board). Nedovic is interesting. He has good size for a point guard, but shot just 37% from the floor and averaged more turnovers (2.5) than assists per game (2.1).

ESPN.com Insider Mock Draft 6.0, updated 06.25 afternoon

For the first time, Chad Ford adds the second round to this. He will update the entire mock one or two times Thursday, so be on the lookout. He sees the Jazz going with the big at #14, saying the team has not been impressed with the point guards that may still be available when Utah is on the clock. Like last week, he has Lucas Nogueira SLC-bound. Ford mentions Kelly Olynyk and Mason Plumlee as other possibilities here.

At #21, with both Shane Larkin and Dennis Schroeder nabbed, he says Isaiah Canaan would be the pick. He is a small school scorer that has an NBA body. Multiple accounts have mentioned the Jazz interest in him. Rudy Gobert also is mentioned as a possibility.

At #46, Ford sees Utah going with Nate Wolters. That would be an absolute steal. Wolters was part of Utah’s first workout. He has good size for the point guard position (6’5″), shoots very well (48% FGs, 38% 3s, 82% FTs), gets to the line often (7.1 FTA), and can pass (5.8 apg) and board (5.5). He also scored 53 points in a game once.

Ford has been naturally busy, but has managed to conduct podcasts or interviews with David Locke and ESPN 700. He also did his annual big podcast with Bill Simmons. All are well worth the listen.

Sheridan Hoops Mock Draft 7.0, updated 06.26 morning

They have Utah opting for Schroeder and Nogueira. There is less known of both, particularly the latter. Both are athletic and would be “upside” picks.

NBAdraft.net Mock Draft, updated 06.25 evening

They see Michael Carter-Williams, Shane Larkin, and Ryan Kelly all coming to Utah. It is not a stretch of the imagination to see the Jazz adding two point guards via the Draft, especially if the front office felt they constituted the best players available at each pick. A combination of MCW and Larkin would be intriguing–a good mix of size and athleticism. Kelly is a 7’0″ stretch four who shot 42% from three-point range. He also blocked 1.6 shots a game.

USA Today’s The Common Sense Mock Draft, updated 06.25 morning

USA Today has Utah selecting Larkin and Tony Mitchell. There are some red flags with Mitchell. He has good tools, but work ethic has been repeatedly questioned in different scouting reports.

NBA.com Mock Draft, by David Aldridge, published 06.24 afternoon.

Aldridge is one of the best out there. He too does his homework. D.A. sees Utah going with Schroeder and Jeff Withey. Withey would be a prolific shot blocker to the Jazz bench. He would certainly be a project offensively.

Hoopsworld.com Mock Draft, updated 06.26 morning

Another mock that sees Carter-Williams sliding down to #14. If he is available, Utah would almost have to take him, his court vision and size would add a lot to the young core. His shooting is certainly his weak area, but that can be taught (this would be a place where Jeff Hornacek would be greatly missed). At #21, Plumlee’s their guy. I like him much better with Utah’s second pick.

For other excellent mock draft round-ups, make sure to see those by our friends at SLC Dunk and KSL.com.

RANDOM DRAFT THOUGHTS

  • Much has been said about the Houston Rockets wanting to shed Thomas Robinson’s money, so as to be big players in free agency (with Dwight Howard being the likely target). Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle says that a deal may be imminent.” The Rockets are reportedly looking for a first-round pick, with hopes of drafting and stashing an international player. It would not be surprising if the Jazz were one of the teams that has inquired. Some are leery because this would be his third team in one season. It’s important to remember that the first team was in disarray (Sacramento) and the second simply has its eyes on bigger fish.
  • There are many teams rumored to be shopping their picks. The picks most bandied about are #1 (CLE), #2 (ORL), #3 (WAS), #7 (SAC), #9 (MIN), #10 (POR), #13 (DAL), one of ATL’s picks (they have both #17 and #18), #19 (CLE), #23 (IND), #26 (MIN), and #27 (DEN). It will be interesting to see if any of these are moved and which teams are looking to trade up, in, or out.
  • Likewise, many players’ names are circulating the rumor mill. Along with Robinson, guys like Kevin Garnett, Shawn Marion, Paul Pierce, Carlos Delfino, Aaron Brooks, Jimmer Fredette, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Luol Deng, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Kevin Love, Eric Bledsoe, Caron Butler, Arron Afflalo, Derrick Williams, Marshon Brooks, and LaMarcus Aldridge have all popped up at one time or another (or constantly). Each year, the media suggests that there will be a flurry of deals on Draft Day (and on trade deadline day), but sometimes things turn out anticlimactic. Many will be eager to see if any deals go down Thursday.
  • Obvious the rumor reported by ESPN involving Fredette and the Jazz is a topic for another post. Always a lightning rod topic.
  • Andy Katz is reporting that some teams outside the top 10 are trying to trade up to select C.J. McCollum. It would not surprise me if the Jazz were one of those teams, especially given Dennis Lindsey’s recent comments about the Jazz “aggressively” trying to move up.

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Draft Comparison: Michael Carter-Williams, Shane Larkin, and Dennis Schroeder Part 3 http://saltcityhoops.com/draft-comparison-michael-carter-williams-shane-larkin-and-dennis-schroeder-part-3/ http://saltcityhoops.com/draft-comparison-michael-carter-williams-shane-larkin-and-dennis-schroeder-part-3/#comments Wed, 26 Jun 2013 17:08:01 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=6774 Author information
Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson is a professional author, writing educator, and editor. In addition to his writing center work at Salt Lake Community College, he designed, coordinates, and teaches in an experimental author residency program for a West Valley City public charter school. A frequent presenter at both writing and educational conferences, he writes about the Jazz as a break from his other writing work.
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Today, we post the final Part 3 of Clint Johnson’s PG prospect breakdown of Michael Carter-Williams, Shane Larkin, and Dennis Schroeder. In case you missed them, you can read Part 1 and Part 2.

Ball Handling

Carter-Williams: Very good with either hand and at speed, MCW sometimes does let his dribble raise a little high.  He is agile with the ball and has good control, particularly for his size, but when heavily pressured his handle suffers, as does his decision making.  Against NBA defenders, he will need to learn to keep control and use his substantial court vision in the face of quick, fast, determined on-ball pressure, something he struggles with at this point.

Larkin: A good dribbler with either hand, his dribble is very hard to time for deflection because he is short and fast.  He doesn’t panic when pressured, including in double teams, keeping his dribble alive and drawing pressure away from the hoop to give himself and teammates room to operate.  He dribbles in straight lines and gets from place to place very quickly, not often juking or making use of change of speed.  He is likely the most secure with the ball of the three.

Schroeder: His ability with the ball is so great he sometimes becomes careless, even in double teams.  Also, he has a unique vulnerability among these ball handlers: weak hands.  It takes very little to rip the ball away from him, which is even more costly because of his tendency to be cavalier with his dribble.  But he counters this liability with a supreme ability to warp a defense with the basketball in his hands—most impressively, by getting a defender on his back and keeping him there as he maintains his dribble, almost forcing the defense to play 4 on 5.  He really reminds me of Steve Nash in those moments, refusing to give up his dribble in the interior of a defense, taking his time as he probes and manipulates angles to set up teammates.

Defense

Carter-Williams: 2.8 stls, 0.5 blks.  A disruptive risk taker who is really helped by his height and length, MCW shows lots of potential that is hard to project to the NBA because he constantly played zone defense at Syracuse.  He has good anticipation in passing lanes and quick hands; he also covers a lot of ground quickly, getting into lanes that appear clear.  His length and speed help him recover after many of the risks he takes, but as a consequence he plays out of position quite often.  Against penetration he is prone to swiping at the ball rather than fighting to maintain the best position possible.  A high risk/reward defender, he will need to get stronger and more disciplined to fulfill his defensive potential at the next level.

Larkin: 2.0 stls, 0.1 blks.  A quick and active defender, Larkin simply can’t overcome his physical shortcomings.  His greatest defensive ability is stealing the ball from the backside using his speed, and he employs this fairly often, to the point of letting his man get some distance so Larkin can try to zip around behind him for the steal.  When in defensive position, he is nearly always at a significant disadvantage.  He finds it very difficult to maintain position against bigger and stronger penetrators, lacks the length and strength to recover when out of position, and doesn’t contest shots very well.  He can be abused by height, length, or power, and looks to give up most or all these attributes practically every night in the NBA, suggesting he will be a substantial liability as a defender.  Larkin is greatly outclassed by the other prospects as a defender.

Schroeder: 0.9 stls, 0.0 blks.  This is one area where the limited film on Schroeder cuts counter to the statistics, as he looks like the best defender of the bunch to me.  His modest stats are partially a product of limited game time and his defensive strategy, which is based on good, intense defensive positioning.  He does reach quite often, particularly when he cuts players with the dribble off, but the reaching is often quick pokes not slaps, designed as much to annoy as grab the ball.  He can also read passing lanes, but often just stabs with his long arms rather than jumping into the lanes and costing himself defensive position.  He shows supreme confidence that he has the advantage over the man he is guarding, which gives him a rare aggressive defensive attitude.  His most demonstrative celebrations come from defensive triumphs, very rare in such a young player.

Overall Impression

Carter-Williams: A boom or bust pick that, if I had to wager on his future, I’d bet bust.  His game strikes me as too fragile to likely succeed in the NBA; too many things negatively affect his game.  Physicality throws off his shot and loosens his handle.  Pressure causes him to make frequent bad decisions.  Denial of penetration can seduce him into a spate of poor outside shooting, almost always misses, or make him disappear from the game.  If he booms, he strikes me as a rangier Jason Kidd type, and so lacking a better option at 14, I would take a chance on him at that spot.  But I wouldn’t be happy about it, and I would exhaust a number of options I consider superior (including other point guards, players at other positions, and trading up and back) before settling on this risky a pick.

Larkin: I just don’t like his game much for the NBA level, honestly, and I like it even less for the Jazz.  I imagine his ceiling as Ty Lawson with a quicker trigger and less developed court vision, which sounds suspiciously like Earl Boykins or Nate Robinson.  Even on a team that runs the pick and roll repeatedly, he will most likely take shots similar to Mo Williams calling his own number last year, marginalizing teammates.  Add in the substantial defensive liability he will be, and I wouldn’t consider Larkin at 14 in any circumstance, and fully expect a better player to be available at 21.  While Larkin seems a great young man, I don’t think his game will be great for the Jazz at all.

Schroeder: The more I watch Schroeder, the more I like him.  I acknowledge the maturity concerns floating around, that he shows negative body language, has at times been difficult to coach, and may not work as hard as he could.  But when it comes to his on-court game, he stands out.  There is a self-possession to his game, a quality of perception and control.  He is an exciting combination of intense defense and offensive facilitation, and views himself exactly this way.  A weapon with the ball, Schroeder strikes me as similar to Tony Parker while being very different stylistically.  When Parker has the ball in his hands attacking a defense, it feels like he is in control, and defenders, even when they double, are out of their league.  When Schroeder gets into a defense and pauses, posting his man on his back, the defense looks brittle as glass, afraid to do anything decisive in anticipation of Schroeder using that choice against them.

Where Larkin runs the pick and roll well and MCW is a truly good passer, Schroeder orchestrates an offense.  Even his slow shooting mechanics fail to dim my enthusiasm, because the Jazz need a pass first player to engage all their other young weapons, particularly the two young bigs.  Schroeder is undoubtedly pass first, but unlike Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson, he can hit an open kick out jumper at a high percentage.  His weak hands are the only real concern I have, but I think this will improve with time and as his respect for other players ability to threaten him grows.  Based on the footage, I would select Schroeder over any point guard in this draft, including Trey Burke.  I think there is a high probability he becomes a quality starting point guard on both ends of the floor, a shorter hybrid of Rajon Rondo and Gary Payton.  If he is available at 14, I will be disappointed if the Jazz select anyone else—unless they get him at 21, at which case I will be ecstatic.

Author information

Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson is a professional author, writing educator, and editor. In addition to his writing center work at Salt Lake Community College, he designed, coordinates, and teaches in an experimental author residency program for a West Valley City public charter school. A frequent presenter at both writing and educational conferences, he writes about the Jazz as a break from his other writing work.
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Draft Comparison: Michael Carter-Williams, Shane Larkin, and Dennis Schroeder Part 2 http://saltcityhoops.com/draft-comparison-michael-carter-williams-shane-larkin-and-dennis-schroeder-part-2/ http://saltcityhoops.com/draft-comparison-michael-carter-williams-shane-larkin-and-dennis-schroeder-part-2/#comments Tue, 25 Jun 2013 18:10:02 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=6739 Author information
Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson is a professional author, writing educator, and editor. In addition to his writing center work at Salt Lake Community College, he designed, coordinates, and teaches in an experimental author residency program for a West Valley City public charter school. A frequent presenter at both writing and educational conferences, he writes about the Jazz as a break from his other writing work.
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Yesterday, we released Part 1 of Clint Johnson’s PG prospect breakdown, covering the shooting and finishing games of Michael Carter-Williams, Shane Larkin, and Dennis Schroeder. Today, Part 2 focuses on their athleticism, size, and passing ability.

Speed and Quickness

Michael Carter-Williams: 3.22 sprint; 10.68 lane agility. MCW is faster than he looks, particularly in the open court.  His long strides remind me a little of Scottie Pippen, who always looked languid even when you knew he was really moving on the court.  MCW is also quite quick, both of foot and hand, which is emphasized by his size and length.  The combination of stature, speed, and quickness is really quite impressive.

Shane Larkin: 3.08 sprint; 10.64 lane agility.  Larkin is FAST, and he plays that way.  His game reminds me a lot of Ty Lawson in that he goes from still to really moving very quickly, and he likes to do so in straight lines.  Unlike a Tony Parker, who curves and winds his way through a defense, Larkin is like a knife—he makes straight, sharp, direct slashes whenever possible.  He’s so fast, in fact, that I’m a little concerned he doesn’t accent that with more feints or defensive manipulation with the dribble.  Against most college defenders, he was simply so much faster he could stare his defender in the eye; then, in a blink, drive past him.  The extreme speed perhaps limits Larkin’s quickness somewhat, because, even though his game always looked like it was put in slight fast forward, there was less sudden change and surprising shiftiness to his game than I expected.  Maybe you don’t have to make a move if, once into it, you’re so fast no one can match you.  That will be less the case in the NBA, certainly, but Larkin has world class basketball speed at any level.

Dennis Schroeder: 3.21 sprint; 11.09 lane agility.  Schroeder may have less raw speed than the other two, but he looks the quickest to me; what’s more, he is one of the rare players who looks faster and more agile with the ball than without it.  With the ball in his hands, he looks like he’s on ice skates.  He moves smoothly, dribbling lower when there’s more traffic around him, and can go any direction at any time with the ball.  He accents his natural quickness with a lot of subtle body motion, feints and jabs and leans and dips, which gives his game real suddenness and unpredictability.  Defensively, he doesn’t appear to dart about as much as the others, lending less a sense of raw speed, but this appears to me partially due to his greater awareness and anticipation of a play’s development.  Schroeder isn’t the fastest of the three, but he strikes me as the player most able to rapidly go anywhere at any moment in a game.

Stature

Carter-Williams: 6’5.75” in shoes, 6’7.25” wingspan, 184 lbs.  Williams’s most intriguing trait is his height, which is common knowledge.  But what struck me repeatedly when he played was how light he seemed, much weaker than 184 lbs.  His height does change the game given his ability to see, pass, and shoot over defenses where other guards might struggle, but the physicality he brings to the court is that of a much smaller player.  Unless he becomes stronger, he will play shorter than he is at the next level.

Larkin: 5’11.5” in shoes, 5’10.75” wingspan, 171 lbs.  Ouch.  There really isn’t another way to say it: Larkin is short, stubby, and slight.  He’s a gamer who isn’t afraid of a challenge, but there is no getting around his physical liabilities.  Sometimes in college, he looked like a younger child playing with the big boys, who would back him down or box him out or block his shots, making him look helpless in the process.  That is likely to be a daily occurrence in the NBA.

Schroeder: 6’2” in shoes, 6’7.25” wingspan, 168 lbs.  The youngest (only 19) and lightest of the players, Schroeder’s game is clearly the most physical.  He bodies up as a defender and wedges himself into the defense with his dribble.  Though of average height for a point guard, his extremely long arms give him substantial physical advantage for his position.  The European competition against which he’s played probably exaggerates the physicality of his game, as many of his competitors were certainly finesse-oriented, and that must be taken into account.  But physically, Schroeder projects as average or slightly better in stature for his position with superior length.

Passing

Carter-Williams: 7.3 asts.  While I won’t go as far as others in declaring MCW the best playmaker in the draft, I see the skills that make people say this.  Carter-Williams has excellent court vision in both the full and half court.  He is particularly good at kicking out to shooters after driving to the hoop.  From the perimeter, he has uncommonly accurate skip passes and uncanny vision and anticipation for lobs and alley-oops.  He is also excellent at advancing the ball up court in the fast break using the pass to teammates who have leaked out and bypassed the defense.  His height also gives him the ability to see and pass over a defense, an advantage he sometimes accents by jumping to pass, though this sometimes gets him in trouble.  His ability to consistently make simple, functional passes and feed the post are somewhat questionable, partially due to the offense he ran at Syracuse, but overall, he is a very good passer.

Larkin: 4.6 asts.  A very good passer out of the pick and roll, he predominantly passes in one of two ways: either penetrating to the hoop and dumping off near the end or, when he’s doubled off the pick, he stretches the defenders from the hoop and hits the big rolling to the hoop in the space he’s created.  He is skilled at hitting jump shooters from similar areas of the floor, either deep in the paint off a drive or early off a pick and roll while drawing defenders.  He is much less apt to pass from the middle of a dribble drive, so once moving he is most likely to reach the deep paint before considering a pass.  Also, his predisposition to shoot sometimes results in long, quick jumpers where a pass would have been the wiser course.  He is a good and willing passer in the pick and roll at certain times, but this is a secondary option for a player who is, essentially, a gunner.

Schroeder: 3.3 asts.  An extremely eager passer (assist numbers are typically lower in Europe than the NBA), Schroeder clearly gets more excitement from feeding a finisher than scoring on his own.  He is a fantastic passer out of the pick and roll, capable of making the pass at any point from any location on the floor.  He feeds the ball in many ways, including snapping passes long distances off the dribble one-handed (a la John Stockton).  He is exceptional when it comes to setting up his passes through body positioning and use of his dribble, manipulating defenders to open up teammates and passing lanes.  He does sometimes telegraph passes, particularly in set plays, taking the simple pass for granted.  But overall, I find him the best passer in this strong group.

That concludes Part 2. Tomorrow, Clint’s Part 3 will break down these PGs ball handling and defensive skills, and get to an overall conclusion about where the prospects rank. Tune in then!

Author information

Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson is a professional author, writing educator, and editor. In addition to his writing center work at Salt Lake Community College, he designed, coordinates, and teaches in an experimental author residency program for a West Valley City public charter school. A frequent presenter at both writing and educational conferences, he writes about the Jazz as a break from his other writing work.
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Looking at NBA Prospect Comparables http://saltcityhoops.com/looking-at-nba-prospect-comparables/ http://saltcityhoops.com/looking-at-nba-prospect-comparables/#comments Mon, 24 Jun 2013 21:41:20 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=6721 Author information
Andy Larsen
Andy Larsen
Andy Larsen is the Managing Editor of Salt City Hoops, the ESPN TrueHoop affiliate for the Utah Jazz. He also hosts a radio show and podcast every week on ESPN700 AM in Salt Lake City.
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One time-honored tradition of this time of year is the comparison of NBA draft prospects to current NBA players, and it’s easy to understand why. In order to make things simpler on ourselves, we simply substitute an NBA player for these highly unknown kids; suddenly, the world becomes easier to comprehend.

The problem with this is that the practice tends to be highly subjective: we skew what players could be based on stylistic differences, rather than production differences. While it’s somewhat helpful to our imaginations know a player has a fadeaway like Dwyane Wade’s, it matters very little in terms of actual production, especially if that fadeaway misses 90% of the time.

Enter Ian Levy, and his site hickory-high.com. Ian, too, was feeling the frustration of this yearly ritual, and probably put his feelings on the subject more eloquently than I did:

For years, every guard with exceptional leaping ability was potentially the next Michael Jordan. Every long white player who can shoot is the next Larry Bird, Keith Van Horn or Adam Morrison; depending on the era. Although, in some parts of Rhode Island they’re referred to as the second coming of Austin Croshere. Every point guard from Gonzaga is the next John Stockton, every huge, awkward center is the next Greg Ostertag and every shot-blocking center with African roots is the next Dikembe Mutombo. These comparisons, based on skin color, position, the college they attended or one singular attribute, do a disservice to the players and fans alike.

So instead, he created a system of statistical comparisons to escape the bias, based on 21 different categories. He takes a prospect’s collegiate statistics, and compares them to the collegiate statistics of current NBA players. The closer the match, the higher of a similarity score (indexed between 1 and 1000) between the two.

Utah, of course, has the 14 and 21 picks in this year’s draft, and there’s starting to be some agreement over which players are likely to be picked in that range (as itemized in David J. Smith’s weekly mock draft roundup). What does Levy’s system (which can only create comparables for collegiate prospects) say about those possible few? Let’s take a look.

Shabazz Muhammad

Shabazz’s highest comparable was another relatively collegiately disappointing one-and-done SF: Harrison Barnes. Their similarity score was 921, one of the highest we’ll encounter, and stylistically, it seems like a reasonable match to me as well. That’s a good sign for Shabazz. After that, we get a bunch of players with lower similarity scores: Terrico White, Jimmy Butler, Dahntay Jones, and Tobias Harris. Obviously, those guys are all over the board, production wise, but I think Harris is an interesting comparable: given the opportunity to take lots of shots (as Harris was given in Orlando after his trade from Milwaukee), Shabazz might do well. Without the green light, or playing time, Shabazz will probably struggle.

Michael Carter-Williams

MCW’s got an interesting list: his highest comparable (with a Similarity Score of 872) is Javaris Crittenton, who had neither the skill nor the temperament for the NBA. But look in the 15 or so names after that, and you have a littering of the best PGs in the NBA: Deron Williams, John Wall, Raymond Felton, Chris Paul, Mike Conley, and Rajon Rondo all make appearances. Those guys all had higher scoring rates than MCW, but it must give him some hope.

Mason Plumlee

I’ve attacked Mason Plumlee as a bad pick for the Jazz at #14, but these comparisons say otherwise. Looking at his top 10 comparables, you start to get a picture of the kind of player Plumlee could be, as well as his ceiling. The top 12: J.J. Hickson, Jordan Hill, Taj Gibson, Nick Collison, Meyers Leonard, David Lee, Greg Monroe, Jason Smith, D.J. White, Melvin Ely, Joakhim Noah, and Al Horford. The bottom half of that group suggests some upside that I’m not even sure Plumlee’s supporters would consider, while the top 5 suggests a defensively impactful big man, the kind every NBA team needs. That’s not a bad outcome as the Jazz seek to add talent to their roster.

Kelly Olynyk

Olynyk, on the other hand, has top comparables that don’t seem especially promising. The Morris twins are prominently featured, as is Curtis Borchardt. Andrew Bogut is an encouraging name, and Andrew Nicholson looks somewhat nice, but overall, Olynyk’s list shows a downside that Plumlee’s doesn’t.

Shane Larkin

Shane Larkin’s comparable list hints to the type of point guard he’ll become: likely good enough to make an NBA roster, but not a long-term impact player. D.J. Augustin, Aaron Brooks, Darren Collison, Brandon Knight, Luther Head, Jonny Flynn, and Jarrett Jack, Larkin’s top 7 comparables, all point to a similar picture: probably good enough to make an NBA roster, but certainly not a starter. These types of players tend to be fairly replaceable as well. In my opinion, this would be a significant red flag for a team to consider before drafting Larkin.

Gorgui Dieng

Dieng’s list is really encouraging for someone slated to be available in the 20s of the draft: Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, David Lee, and Derrick Favors are all in his top 10. There are some misses, like Sean Williams, but ultimately, fate seems to shine brightly on these relatively established collegiate big men coming into the draft. If available at 21, Dieng would be a good fit.

Isaiah Canaan

Cannan’s group, all largely small school PGs, is largely disappointing… with the exception of the recently drafted Damian Lillard, his 2nd best comparable. Still, the likes of J’Covan Brown, Dan Dickau, and even Utah favorites Kevin Murphy and Jimmer Fredette on his list don’t portend an NBA future for Canaan.

Jamaal Franklin

The long-sleeved SG from San Diego State was named on DX’s mock draft as a possibility for the Jazz to take at #21 earlier in the week, and while things have since changed on DraftExpress, he remains a possibility for the Jazz. His list, though, makes it hard to get a picture of his game: diverse talents Draymond Green, Kirk Snyder, Klay Thompson, and even fellow San Diego Statian Kawhi Leonard make appearances in his top 10.

Reggie Bullock

Bullock, named on CBS Sports’ mock as the Jazz’ #21 selection, is a SF from North Carolina. His comparable list is full of similar big-school prospects without mind blowing statistics, and unfortunately, the outcomes aren’t generally great. Bullock’s top comparable (with a score of 922), Wayne Ellington, hasn’t impressed, and Luther Head and Brandon Rush aren’t exactly big names either. Jimmy Butler is more promising, but… a selection of Bullock would be more risky than his big-school pedigree would suggest.

Using these comparable lists is, of course, not a holistic approach; there’s simply much more that needs to be done when analyzing NBA prospects. But when considered with large amounts of salt, we can start to get an idea of the possibilities for the production of the prospects involved, as well as the likelihood of them reaching their ceiling. Either way, this perspective is certainly better than making biased and subjective guesses at who a player will become.

Author information

Andy Larsen
Andy Larsen
Andy Larsen is the Managing Editor of Salt City Hoops, the ESPN TrueHoop affiliate for the Utah Jazz. He also hosts a radio show and podcast every week on ESPN700 AM in Salt Lake City.
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Draft Comparison: Michael Carter-Williams, Shane Larkin, and Dennis Schroeder Part 1 http://saltcityhoops.com/draft-comparison-michael-carter-williams-shane-larkin-and-dennis-schroeder-part-1/ http://saltcityhoops.com/draft-comparison-michael-carter-williams-shane-larkin-and-dennis-schroeder-part-1/#comments Mon, 24 Jun 2013 18:08:03 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=6727 Author information
Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson is a professional author, writing educator, and editor. In addition to his writing center work at Salt Lake Community College, he designed, coordinates, and teaches in an experimental author residency program for a West Valley City public charter school. A frequent presenter at both writing and educational conferences, he writes about the Jazz as a break from his other writing work.
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Editor’s note: This is the first part in Clint’s three-part scouting report of the PG prospects the Jazz are most likely to draft: Michael Carter-Williams, Shane Larkin, and Dennis Schroeder. Part 2 will be released Tuesday, Part 3 on Wednesday. First, Clint looks at the scoring talents of each of the three point guards. 

In its June 11th mock draft, DraftExpress projected Michael Carter-Williams to be selected 13th by Dallas, Shane Larkin to go 14th to Utah, and Dennis Schroeder to cap this trio of point guard selections by heading to Milwaukee at the 15th pick.  While their latest mock has since seen these players spread out, these three players are something of a microcosm of a draft with no clear standout prospects and precious little to separate many of the players.

Everyone has their favorite of these point guards most likely to earn a Jazz first round pick; or at least, everyone has their least disliked.  Different “experts” and organizational mocks prefer one or the other, but the profiles of the players are largely the same wherever you look.  It’s unlikely that any fan interested in the draft is going to find much new beyond rumor. That leaves true draftaholics like myself to watch actual game footage on which to base our preference.  So that’s exactly what I did: watched footage to write my own profiles of these three guards who will potentially draw a lot of the Jazz’s attention if they are available when pick 14 rolls around on July 27th.

Keep in mind that I’m not a professional scout.  I haven’t watched a half dozen games of Dennis Schroeder punking Germans with his crossover.  I have watched the footage readily available on DraftExpress and Youtube on each of these players (more times than is enjoyable, I promise you), as well as the NCAA tournament and two or three regular season games played by each of Larkin and Carter-Williams.  What follows are impressions from that amount of game observation.  The profiles are mine, not repackaged from other available sources (except for the statistics), so maybe there will be some fresh perspective here for those interested.

Here is my assessment of each in the following areas (statistics are the previous season’s from DraftExpress and Basketball.Eurobasket.com):

Shooting

Michael Carter-Williams: 39.3 FG, 29.2 3PT, 69.4 FT.  Easily his greatest negative.  His shooting form looks good from a distance, but I suspect there are mechanical breakdowns somewhere, maybe with his hand placement on the ball or when and how he sights the hoop, because he misses shots everywhere, sometimes badly—short and long, left and right, and frequently with no clear indication of why he missed where he did.  The shot type doesn’t much matter either: kick outs, off the dribble, contested and open, it’s likely to be a miss.  He is not a good shooter.  His height and length give him the ability to shoot over the top of shorter defenders, but his slight frame means even slight contact throws him off balance as he shoots.  From what I’ve seen, I suspect whatever is going on is going to be hard to correct and that MCW will be the least capable shooter of these three throughout his career.

Shane Larkin: 47.9 FG, 40.6 3PT, 77.7 FT.  My favorite aspect of his game.  Larkin is a good shooter with great range.  He kind of reminds me of Trey Burke, to be honest.  He really elevates on his jumper, which is good because he’s so short.  He’s a good shooter off the ball, which is not particularly common for players who dominate the ball as much as point guards, and sets up his shots well through motion.  He also has a very quick step-back jumper that he’ll use at nearly any range, as well as a good one or two dribble pull up.  He doesn’t set up the step-back or pull up with his dribble particularly well technically because he’s so dang fast he typically doesn’t have to.  He hits contested shots and takes and makes big jumpers.  Overall, Larkin is easily the best shooter of the three.

Dennis Schroeder: 43.6 FG, 40.2 3PT, 83.8 FT.  Schroeder is a good shooter with very dependable mechanics: fluid, on-balance, and slow.  Really slow.  He locates the hoop before even starting his motion, has a deep hitch, and doesn’t jump much on the shot.  This means, give him time, and he may be as good a kick out shooter as any point guard in the draft (maybe except combo guard CJ McCollum); it also means if a man is in his face, he practically can’t attempt a shot because he’ll either be blocked or miss.  His mechanics simply don’t allow him to shoot heavily contested jumpers, and they suffer when he attempts to shoot quickly when he’s open or off a hard dribble.  Schroeder can stretch the floor in the NBA, but only in the limited role of a stationary shooter receiving a pass or given room by his defender, as any other usage would rush his mechanics until they break down.

Finishing at the Rim

Carter-Williams: 49% at the rim.  When MCW made these shots in college, he looked unstoppable.  But that happened too infrequently, especially against collegiate competition.  On paper, Carter-Williams should be a dynamo near the hoop.  What are most guards going to do to stop a guy 6’5” with a 41” vertical when he gets within five feet of the hoop?  Apparently, just bump him a little.  It takes remarkably little body contact to get MCW to completely contort himself.  Perhaps this frailty is why he doesn’t often explode and use his hops when attacking the basket.  The result is too few layups finished and too many really bad shots chucked up at strange angles.  His sheer physical attributes probably make MCW the best prospect of these three when it comes to finishing at the rim, but that assumes he’ll develop much greater strength and discipline, and requires a healthy dose of faith on top.

Shane Larkin: 52% at the rim.  Larkin is a rare athlete, but unfortunately, his stature—both in reach and height—are more than enough to offset his jumping ability and speed.  He simply cannot finish near the hoop if contested because any length whatsoever is likely to be too much for him.  To compensate for this he tries to go even faster than his normally hyper game, and often gets up in the air fairly far from the hoop, hoping to glide in a layup before the defense can react.  He’s often caught in the air because of this, which results in wild, unwise shots and lost passing lanes.  While Larkin’s speed means he can get to the rim almost at will, NBA teams shouldn’t mind that at all, because even a modest rim protector will prove too great an obstacle for Larkin to finish over.  He is also frightfully easy prey for a help defender when in the paint.  Of these three players, Larkin will be the least apt finisher in the paint unless he abandons full out darts through the lane for slick floaters, which doesn’t seem likely.

Dennis Schroeder: 51% at the rim.  Schroeder is really quick and incredibly nimble with his dribble, so getting to the hoop isn’t a problem.  Finishing there often is, however.  He doesn’t jump much at the hoop, preferring to glide to the rim using his speed and then stretch out a long arm to try to create an angle for a scoop shot.  Even with his long arms (6’7.25” wingspan, nearly as long as Gordon Hayward), he is often blocked.  When he does get the shot off, he’s often moving so fast so near to the floor, and releasing the ball relatively low, that he gives himself a poor trajectory to the hoop and really depends on spinning the ball to get it in the hoop.  With more experience I suspect he will learn that his long arms work well reaching upward and not just sideways, particularly when combined with a vertical leap, and will become a passable finisher at the rim. Expecting more than that is likely betting against the odds.

Coming Tuesday, Part 2: a breakdown of Carter-Williams’, Larkin’s, and Schroder’s athleticism, stature, and passing skills. Part 3 was published Wednesday. 

Author information

Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson
Clint Johnson is a professional author, writing educator, and editor. In addition to his writing center work at Salt Lake Community College, he designed, coordinates, and teaches in an experimental author residency program for a West Valley City public charter school. A frequent presenter at both writing and educational conferences, he writes about the Jazz as a break from his other writing work.
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Mock Draft Compilation 06.19 http://saltcityhoops.com/mock-draft-compilation-06-19/ http://saltcityhoops.com/mock-draft-compilation-06-19/#comments Thu, 20 Jun 2013 00:13:30 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=6634 Author information
David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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We are now a week closer to the NBA Draft. There is excitement in the air as it approaches. The Jazz have continued bringing in their platoon of prospects. When it’s all said and done, Utah may very well have had a majority of those drafted on 06.27 in Salt Lake City.

First off, the Utah Jazz announced the details for next week’s NBA Draft party at EnergySolutions Arena. This is a fun event, one that has been a tradition for many Jazz fans. I was there when Utah selected Greg Ostertag. My father and I remember hearing the reaction as Gordon Hayward was picked (for the record, we did not boo; we were just shocked). And as the lockout loomed, we recall the excitement of having Enes Kanter and Alec Burks in Jazz uniforms. Come out and enjoy the evening. I’m sure some of the Salt City Hoops crew will be in the house.

Naturally the mock drafts are fluid, changing daily. Here is our effort to keep you apprised, with this week’s updates:

ESPN.com Mock Draft 5.0 (Insider), updated 06.18

Chad Ford took everyone by surprise, predicting that Brazilian big man Lucas Nogueira would be the Jazz’s choice at #14. In all the mocks, this is the first that he has been linked to Utah. While it would not be shock for the Jazz to select a big man with their first pick (best player available, right?), the fact that Nogueira has mostly be tabbed as a late first-round pick is what makes this interesting. Ford mentions that, while point guard is naturally the priority, Utah has not been enamored by the guys who may be available come #14: Shane Larkin and Dennis Schroeder. He also says that the “Jazz have been high” on Nogueira for sometime, with his Eurocamp performance helping his cause. The 7’0″, 218 lb center is about to turn 21. He is lithe and athletic. The Jazz have quite an international scouting crew, so who knows? He could be a sleeper.

Schroeder is Ford’s guess for #21. If the German guard’s workout was less-than-impressive, it is his upside that would make him a nice selection at #21. Ford also suggests that Utah has interest in Shabazz Muhammad, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Isaiah Canaan, and Kelly Olynyk.

Draft Express mock draft, updated 06.19

As of 06.18, DE had the Jazz addressing the backcourt, with Larkin at #14 and Jamaal Franklin at #21. Whatever the case may be come the 27th, it will be very interesting how head coach Tyrone Corbin moves forward with his guards. Does he feel Gordon Hayward is better suited as a shooting guard or a small forward? What role does Utah see Alec Burks playing? The Draft could help shed some light on these questions.

As of 06.19, however, things changed. They now have Mason Plumlee at #14 and Dennis Schroeder at #21. Plumlee is interesting, but they have Utah opting for him ahead of Muhammad, Larkin, and Sergey Karasev.

Fortunately, on the day of his update came out, Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony was on David Locke’s podcast. He offers some nice insights on the point guards in the Draft. While he doesn’t feel Larkin will be an NBA starter, he thinks he could be a solid rotation player. He also discusses Schroeder’s background, style, and upside.

Givony had guard Ray McCallum coming to the Jazz at #46. He could be a nice find late in the second-round, as he is steady. He’s another solid rebounding guard.

Hoopshype.com Mock Draft, updated 06.18

Aran Smith prognosticates Larkin and Antetokounmpo. He gives some high praise for Larkin, comparing his leadership to Trey Burke’s. For the Greek forward, it’s looked as an investment move, as it may take time (three seasons or so) for him to be able to contribute on the NBA level. Smith also suggests that the Jazz could leave over in Europe. That could be the luxury of having two first-round picks, but on the other hand, given the number of roster vacancies, is that something the Jazz would want? Interestingly enough, Norueiga moved way up on this one, too.

NBAdraft.net Mock Draft, updated 06.18

More votes for Larkin and Antetokounmpo (if he is the newest Jazzman, I promise to learn how to spell his name without looking). In the second round, they go with Pierre Jackson.

Hoopsworld Mock Draft, Consensus Ver 6.0

This is a different version, as the HW writers, Alex Kennedy, Steve Kyler, Yannis Koutroupis, and Joel Bingham each give their picks. Three of them see Utah matching up with Schroder. Two predict Kelly Olynyk.

Sporting News Mock Draft, updated 06.17

Tuesday saw Michael Carter-Williams workout for the Jazz. Here, Sean Deveney says MCW falls to Utah in a “dream scenario.” His size and passing certainly intrigue, but Walt Perrin also said he needs to work on his shooting and strength. At #21, they have Olynyk Utah-bound.

CBS Sports Mock Draft, updated 06.19

Matt Moore’s update has the Jazz front office going with Larkin and shooting guard Reggie Bullock. Bullock is interesting. He has good size (6’7″), is a nice shooter (43% 3s), and has a solid all-around game (6.6 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.2 spg).

There you have it. As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. What would be your dream scenario? Who do you want the Jazz to avoid at all costs? Will any Draft day deals be made?

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Making Sense of an Unpredictable Draft http://saltcityhoops.com/making-sense-of-an-unpredictable-draft/ http://saltcityhoops.com/making-sense-of-an-unpredictable-draft/#comments Tue, 04 Jun 2013 19:43:39 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=6425 Author information
Denim Millward
Denim Millward
Denim Millward, before SCH, wrote for Bleacher Report about the Jazz and the NBA. Despite this, he is actually a good writer, and we promise we will eschew the slideshow format on this site. He also contributes to The Color Commentator Magazine, and strangely, likes wrestling.
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Tim Brown/OregonLive

Tim Brown/OregonLive

Ahh, June.

The time of year when the internet goes from reasonably inundated to super saturated with NBA mock drafts.  From the most reputable sports news sources to every parent’s-basement-created blog, any website with a remote connection to Dr. Naismith’s creation churns out their best guess at which hoop prospects will be where when the 2013 NBA Draft smoke clears.  After reading through the bulk of these predictions made by those who each fancy themselves as a roundball Nostradamus, one thing is crystal clear.

Prognostication is a fool’s errand.

With seemingly limitless variables and constantly changing conditions, making a correct prediction past the first handful of picks seems to be pure luck as often as not.

With this in mind, I did some digging into Utah’s draft history in an attempt to discern any possible patterns and/or tendencies not already apparent that could shed some light on who Kevin, Dennis and the gang may be leaning towards taking, and who may frighten them away.

Before we dive in, there are a few key points to keep in mind.

  1. This article is by no means an effort to correctly predict who the Jazz will draft at picks 14 and 21.  Rather, it should be viewed as a very general guide to provide insight on any non-obvious patterns or predispositions the Utah front office may have.
  2. I’m fully aware the sample size used is quite small, and thus insufficient to draw any strong, definitive conclusions from.  I felt it better to limit the picks analyzed to the 2000 NBA Draft to current, as that sample size better represented the draft decisions of the current front office structure.

With that said, here is the list of players who were analyzed for this article.

  • 2000:  DeShawn Stevenson – SG, pick 23, Washington Union HS
  • 2001:  Raul Lopez – PG pick 24, Real Madrid (Spain)
  • 2002:  Curtis Borchardt – C, pick 18 (trade w/Orlando), Stanford Jr.
  • 2003: Sasha Pavlovic – G/F, pick 19, Buducnost Podgorica (Serbia)
  • 2004:  Kris Humhpries – PF, pick 14, Minnesota Fr.
  • 2004:  Kirk Snyder – SG, pick 16, Nevada Jr.
  • 2005:  Deron Williams – PG, pick 3, Illinois Jr.
  • 2006:  Ronnie Brewer – G, pick 14, Arkansas Jr.
  • 2007:  Morris Almond – SG, pick 25, Rice Sr.
  • 2008:  Kosta Koufos – C, pick 23, Ohio St. Fr.
  • 2009:  Eric Maynor- PG, pick 20, VCU Sr.
  • 2010:  Gordon Hayward – SF, pick 9, Butler So.
  • 2011:  Enes Kanter: – C, pick 3 Kentucky Fr.
  • 2011:  Alec Burks: – SG, pick 12 Colorado So.
  • 2012:  no 1st round pick

Excluding 2012, when the Jazz had no 1st round pick, the Jazz had an average draft position of 17.4.  With the exception of 2005 and 2011, the Jazz were selecting players from the second and third tiers of draft prospects.  Does draft pick position affect the type of player Utah is likely to draft?  It appears so.

Since 2000, Utah has only selected two players who weren’t juniors or older with their eight picks outside the lottery:  DeShawn Stevenson in 2000, who came straight out of high school and Kosta Koufos in 2008.  On the other hand, four of the six lottery picks since 2000 have been used to select a freshman (Kris Humphries 2004, Enes Kanter 2011) or sophomores (Gordon Hayward 2009, Alec Burks 2011.)  While this is a far from an ironclad correlation, it hints at a very interesting draft strategy.

With the heavy dose of upperclassmen selected outside the lottery by the Jazz, it suggests they tend to value consistency and immediate production over upside and long-term potential when selecting in the late teens or lower, a diametric opposition to the “taking a flier” approach on a raw, undeveloped prospect late in the first to which many teams subscribe.  Picks within the lottery were split 4-2 between underclassmen and upperclassmen, perhaps indicating some preference towards younger prospects in the early stages of the draft.

Another interesting but more obvious draft trend is Utah’s aversion to drafting players with character issues, a hallmark of the Jerry Sloan regime if there ever was one.  Aside from Deron Williams, who is a pretty unique case, the one first-round pick that turned out to be any kind of a malcontent, Kirk Snyder, was jettisoned to New Orleans after a single year with the Jazz. The merits of seemingly automatically excluding anyone with widely known personality red flags can be debated, but Utah’s hardline stance on avoiding these players helps to thin the field of potential Utah Jazz draftees in 2013.

If we combine all of the apparent trends observed from the previous 12 drafts (excluding 2012), we can make some educated guesses of what direction the Jazz will go at pick 14 and pick 21 in the upcoming draft.

Clearly, Utah’s biggest need is at the point guard position, so it stands to reason point guard is where the Jazz will look to go with pick 14.  Michigan product Trey Burke is all but certain to be off the board by then, which leaves Michael Carter-Williams (sophomore) and Dennis Schroeder (19 year old German) as the likely candidates to be chosen.  Shane Larkin (sophomore) is also a possibility here, but a remote one due to concerns about his size and length.

If either Carter-Williams or Schroeder are on the board for the Jazz’s lottery pick, but not both, I think the Jazz happily scoop up whichever player remains.  In the unlikely event Utah has the choice between the two, I would give the slight edge to Schroeder due to his nearly-unparalleled quickness, great length and age (Schroeder is 2 years younger than Carter-Williams).

At 21, Utah should be comfortable selecting Larkin if they didn’t come away with a point guard at 14.  If they nab a point guard with their first pick, a big man seems to make the most sense. Mason Plumlee or Kelly Olynyk would fit Utah’s history at picking older players after the lottery, but most mocks have those players being drafted before the 21st selection. In that case, the Jazz may have to go for an unproven longshot such as Rudy Gobert, the 20 year old Frenchman with the 9’7” standing reach. It’s possible the Jazz could kick the tires on Shabazz Muhammad at #21 if he falls that far, but the aforementioned character flaw aversion makes Muhammad being drafted by the Jazz a remote possibility.

If I was forced to make a prediction, I would say the Jazz come away from the draft with Schroeder and Gobert.  I would also feel about 3.7% confident in that prediction, as it would only take one of many variables to change for the entire draft order to go up in smoke, taking my feeble prediction with it.  This was an interesting exercise in pattern recognition, not an attempt accurately predict the future.

After all, prognostication is a fool’s errand.

 

Author information

Denim Millward
Denim Millward
Denim Millward, before SCH, wrote for Bleacher Report about the Jazz and the NBA. Despite this, he is actually a good writer, and we promise we will eschew the slideshow format on this site. He also contributes to The Color Commentator Magazine, and strangely, likes wrestling.
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