The week has finally arrived–the NBA Draft Lottery will take place on Tuesday, May 20th. It is naturally an event that Utah Jazz fans are eagerly awaiting, for the outcome could have profound impact on the franchise from both a short-term and a long-term perspective.
Furthermore, the NBA Draft Combine is this week. With all this in mind, it is apropos to take another look at the various mock drafts out there. Once the official order in place, these mocks will occur more frequently and will factor in team needs more fully. And while they are some experts’ best guesses (some have better intel than others, clearly), they are still fun to review.
Side note: This is already proving to be an active offseason for the Jazz, as they brought in 12 prospects last week and by all accounts, will bring in a further slew of players–much like they did last year. Dennis Lindsey’s mindset is to conduct as many of these workouts/interviews as possible, both for the Draft and for the future. It could also help the team know if and when to make any draft day maneuvers.
ESPN’s Draft Coverage (updated 04.22)
ESPN’s draft coverage is among the best out there. Chad Ford and company are putting out a lot of content and that will only increase these next few weeks. In his Mock Draft 4.0 (Insider), Ford has the Jazz getting center Joel Embiid out of Kansas. This is under the scenario where the Orlando Magic opt with Dante Exum at #3. Embiid has tremendous upside and would add to the defensive foundation Utah brass hopes to form, alongside Derrick Favors. Ford says that the Jazz love Jabari Parker, but will have to win one of the top two spots to secure him. He also says that in this situation, Utah could look to trade Enes Kanter, citing the contract Gordon Hayward may get this offseason.
With the 23rd pick, Ford goes with 6’3″ point guard Elfrid Payton, saying his size, length and athleticism could be a nice complement to Trey Burke. He is Ford’s “sleeper of the draft.” This particular mock would be a very good draw for the Jazz.
Draft Express Mock Draft (updated 05.08)
Team needs are now being taken into consideration in this iteration. In this mock, the Jazz would be obtaining Exum at #4, 7’0″ Kristaps Porzingis at #23 and small forward Glenn Robinson at #35. This would infuse the roster with more scoring and athletic talent. Much is being said about Exum. He is someone that is intriguing a lot of front offices, potentially including Utah’s. Porzingis is a less-known prospect, but seems to possess mobility and ability on both ends of the court. He is just 18 years old, but has been playing professionally for a few years. Robinson would team up once again with his college teammate, Burke.
NBADraft.net Mock Draft (updated 04.30)
This one is more a head-scratcher as it prognosticates the Jazz going with forward Julius Randle at #4, with Exum still being on the board. Randle is a fine player, but may be a curious front court fit next to Favors or Kanter. They have forward Cleanthony Early at #23 and KJ McDaniels at #35.
CBS Sports Mock Drafts (updated as recently as 04.28)
This has three mock drafts together. Zach Harper’s, last updated 03.25, has the Jazz getting Jabari Parker at #4 and shooting guard Jordan Adams out of UCLA at #23. It would be a complete shocker to see Parker last until #4, but Jazz fans would probably not argue one bit. Matt Moore updated his on 04.18, predicting the Jazz would get Embiid and center Jusuf Nurkic from Bosnia.
Lastly, Gary Parrish thinks Utah would take Randle at #4 (ahead of Exum, Noah Vonleh and Aaron Gordon) and guard Mario Hezonja from Croatia at #23.
The Sporting News Mock Draft (updated 05.07)
Sean Deveney sees the Jazz going with Exum with their first pick, while also saying the Jazz would ideally like to “jump high enough to select a dynamic small forward like [Andrew] Wiggins.” If the team stays put, though, Exum would clearly be the best player available. At #23, he has UCLA’s jack-of-all-trades Kyle Anderson. That would be a nice find at that juncture in the Draft.
My NBADraft. com Mock Draft (updated 05.05)
Here is another mock that has Embiid slipping to #4, perhaps due to his injuries late in the season. PJ Hairston from North Carolina and DeAndre Daniels are the other two picks.
We’ll aim to take another look next week after the Lottery has taken place–stay tuned.