Utah Jazz Post-Lottery Mock Draft Round-up

May 21st, 2014 | by David J Smith
Rich Barnes/Getty Images

Rich Barnes/Getty Images

Utah Jazz fans are still trying to put everything together after last evening’s disappointment. Even though the mathematical probabilities were difficult to ignore, watching the team settle in at the fifth slot was a big let-down in what many view as a four-player draft, as it relates to potential franchise players. It is clear to say that the Cleveland Cavaliers put a damper on things for many fan bases, including Utah’s.

Our very own Dan Clayton was on the ground at the NBA Lottery, covering the proceedings for Salt City Hoops. He was able to visit with Jazz brass, providing some excellent insights.

If anything, the day after the Lottery produces a slew of more logical, more thought-out mock drafts. Here is the round-up for the Utah Jazz, with the knowledge that the team will be selecting at picks #5, #23 and #35.

ESPN Mock Draft 6.0 (Insider), by Chad Ford (updated 05.21)

Chad Ford said it best when he said “Jazz fans have to be devastated” due to “zero chance of landing Jabari Parker here.” It is an unenviable position, that’s for sure. With the #5 pick, Ford is going with Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, the best player available. Vonleh’s mix of rebounding, defense and stretch shooting ability could all be enticing to Utah. A 7’4″ wingspan could add some wiry length. While it naturally would create some positional logjam, getting the best value is essential for a team in need of so much help across the board (ESPN’s Amin Elhassan wisely said as much in his Draft Guide article for the Jazz (Insider)).

K.J. McDaniels from Clemson is the prediction at #23. Ford says the “athletic forward” could bring “defensive toughness.” He also says that “many scouts feel he’s one of the most underrated players in the draft–someone who’s a jump shot away from being a dominant wing.” Sounds like a solid find late in the first-round.

Yahoo! Sports Mock Draft, by Marc Spears (updated 05.20)

Marc Spears does fine work and this is his first attempt at prognosticating the draft. He sees Arizona’s Aaron Gordon at #5 and UCLA’s Kyle Anderson at #23. That would bring a pair of versatile forwards into the mix. Gordon’s athletic numbers at the NBA Combine were stellar. His defensive abilities could be elite on the big stage and beyond that, he can pass and rebound with the best. Gordon’s shooting is his downfall, but perhaps it’s something that could be worked on with the proper help. If so, he has all the tools to be an amazing all-around player.

Anderson has got to be one of this year’s most interesting players. With his blend of ball-handling and passing skills, along with his size at the small forward position, he could be an ideal guy off the bench. His speed and pedestrian athleticism are where teams” concerns arise.

Draft Express Mock Draft, by Jonathan Givony (updated 05.21)

Givony thinks Marcus Smart is Utah’s guy at #5. Smart’s Combine numbers were extremely unique, thanks to his strong 6’3″, 227 lb frame. He sports a 6’9″ wingspan, so defensively, he could check players at both back court positions. Smart brings an energy and attitude that can light a fire under a team. While he has had issues, he could be a leader the team needs. How he would play alongside Trey Burke and Alec Burks would be the question.

Draft Express also has Anderson with the second first-round pick. Baylor center Isaiah Austin comes in at #35. At 7’1″, he brings size and shot-blocking. Austin is blind in his right eye, from a middle school injury. He has Utah ties, as Ike Austin is his uncle.

CBS Sports.com Mock Drafts, by Gary Parrish, Matt Moore, Zach Harper (updated 05.20)

Here’s the run-down: Parrish picks Vonleh and McDaniels, Harper, Julius Randle and Cleanthony Early, and Moore opts with Vonleh and Bosnian center Jusuf Nurkic. Randle is a scorer who rebounds and passes well for a big. His defensive abilities and his lack of elite height are the downsides. Early would be a great pick at that spot, as he too can do a lot of different things. Nurkic would add another big man at 6’11”, 280 lbs. Some sites are very high on his potential due to his mobility and nice touch around the basket.

My NBA Draft.com Mock Draft (updated 05.20)

Another site that would bring Vonleh and McDaniels to the Jazz roster.

Bleacher Report Mock Draft, by Jonathan Wasserman (updated 05.20)

Vonleh is tabbed at #5, ahead of both Randle and Smart. 7’0″ big Kristaps Porzingis comes in at #23. Just 18 years old, he would add another project alongside Rudy Gobert. Porzingis has good size and agility and can stick the jumper. He would need to bulk up. With #35, Bleacher Report has Utah once again going overseas with swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic from Serbia. He’s another jack-of-all-trades who does a lot of things great, with few things extremely well.

NBADraft.net Mock Draft (updated 05.20)

This mock goes with #5 Randle, #23 guard C.J. Wilcox from Washington and #35 combo guard Spencer Dinwiddie out of Colorado. Wilcox, who hails from Pleasant Grove, UT, would add some much-needed shooting, as he shot over 39 percent from long-distance and is excellent from the free throw line. Dinwiddie is tall and slight of frame, but loves to push the ball. He can get to the basket and is solid from the perimeter.

NBA Draft Room Mock Draft (updated 05.20)

Last, but not least, this site predicts Randle, Early and guard Markel Brown as being Utah-bound. Brown was Smart’s Oklahoma State teammate whose calling card is his athleticism.

Some side notes in parting: with such a young core, it seems very likely that the Jazz will not use all three of their draft picks. Or perhaps they use one or two on draft-and-stash prospects. With Raul Neto, bringing four rookies into a youthful mix might not be the route to pursue at this juncture.

Likewise, it would not surprise to see Utah move up–perhaps in the teens–for someone it has its eye on. Guys like Doug McDermott, Gary Harris, Nik Stauskas, Dario Saric and Tyler Ennis would make some sense, as could a number of other players. As evidenced last year with trades for Burke, Gobert and Neto, the Jazz are willing to move up to get the guy. That said, moving up from #5 will be another story. The asking price is going to be steep and while the Jazz have a cadre of assets, it might be an uphill battle to make something happen.

David J Smith

David J Smith

Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News and has written for the Utah Jazz website and Hoopsworld.com (now Basketball Insiders). He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. He and his incredibly patient wife, Elizabeth, have some amazing children--four girls and two boys. Voted "Most Likely to Replace Jerry Sloan" in high school.
David J Smith

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  1. Spencer says:

    Really starting to like Vonleh, and actually would not be surprised to see him jump some folks. I think Wiggins is top 2, Embiid also if his back checks out. Parker, Exum and Vonleh could all end up #3 I believe. That leaves an outside chance for Parker or Exum at #5.

    Watch the workouts with Vonleh, Gordon and Randal. If Vonleh is dominant, his potential as a 2-way player could surpass expectations. Plus his hands are HUGE and soft. He can rebound and put back with one hand regularly, that is a big deal. Also, he can shoot and defend all over the court on for stretch fours or post players.

    If the Jazz end up staying at 5 I like him there and I’d trade Kanter for #6,7 pick for Smart, or Gordon (if he can play the 3). My biggest concern besides getting a franchise player is that he be a two-way player. Either combination would give us crazy defensive potential and good offense as well. What do you think?

    • John says:

      If someone was crazy enough to give us a top 10 pick for Kanter, I’d do it in a heartbeat, but reality is no one is doing that.

    • David J Smith says:

      There is a lot to like about Vonleh. He’ll be right there for the Jazz, along with Smart, Randle, Gordon. So many different ways they could go.

      I think Kanter has value…I just don’t know to what level. Perhaps packaged with a pick, he could help the Jazz move up or obtain a mid-level pick.

  2. Jason says:

    I’ve seen a few mocks with the Jazz taking Cleanthony Early at #23. Some have him going higher and some not in the first round at all. Personally I would be thrilled if he ended up in Utah; a 4-year college player that lit it up in the tournament vs. Kentucky. Anyone else agree?

    • Glen says:

      Yeah I agree. The numbers at the combine suggest he can play small forward which means the tweener label can go away. It might take the sting out of not getting Wiggins. I think we are lucky if he waits until 23 as I think he will shoot up the board. We will have to trade up from 23 to get him.

  3. Glen says:

    I actually like McDermott for our first pick. We need a #1 scorer. There are none in free agency and we don’t get one after 3. We trade down a few picks and maybe pick up a decent veteran or future pick plus McDermott. Our defense will suck with that move however. My solution as bad as this sounds is trade Kanter somehow for Asik. Houston wants him gone but he was a double double guy before Howard took his position. I know everyone says Corbin was an idiot to not play Kanter and Favors together but Kanter is probably literally the worst defender in the league which probably makes him untradable. If not and we can get Houston to bite Asik does not block shots but he is a great defender. Obviously it won’t be a player for player trade but Houston is shopping him. I would give up Burks and Kanter, Tomic and Kanter, Kanter and picks for him. He is a free agent after next year so I would have to get an extension first before I pull the trigger.

    • David J Smith says:

      Lots to like about McDermott. It is not implausible at all the imagine the Jazz trading up to the area of the Draft where he’ll probably go (teens) if there is a guy there they like, including McDermott.

      Interesting thoughts about Asik. Great defender. He makes $15M this season, though only $8M counts toward the cap. I do think there is a market for Kanter. A big man who can score like he can will always have suitors, even with his defensive liabilities.

  4. Nathan says:

    I like the fact that so many people are projecting Vonleh to go at #5 to the Jazz, because that’s probably not going to end up happening then, which I would like, because I don’t want Utah to draft Vonleh. I think Gordon is the superior athlete with the most to offer and just as much upside as Vonleh. Aaron Gordon is an NBA SF version of Blake Griffin, and for all we know, Gordon could still grow another inch. With so many teams going to small ball line-ups, Gordon could run the floor really well (coast to coast with the ball in his hand) as well as fill in the SF position. If Utah doesn’t package anything to move up in the draft, I hope they pick Gordon. If not Gordon, then Smart. Anything less (Vonleh, Randle, etc) would be a big disappointment in my eyes.

    • David J Smith says:

      By all accounts, the Jazz seem high on Gordon. Perhaps he conjures up memories of Kirilenko, given his ability to affect so many areas of a game.

  5. cw says:

    Look at what the jazz need. 1. Potential star. That’s basically someone who is a high usage, efficient scorer who can also play enough defense and team ball that he doesn’t hurt you too much. The consensus on that is Parker, Wiggins, Embiid (if his back is OK) and maybe Exum. To get any of those for sure the Jazz need to move up. Not impossible.

    The next two needs are defense and shooting, I don’t know which is more important. If you want D then there are Smart, Gordon, and maybe Vonleh. I think Vonleh duplicates Favors too much and I think Gordon is the better shooter between Smart and Gordon (just not freethrows). All three of those guys have a chance to develop into a star too.

    If you really need shooting there is plenty further back in the draft. The Jazz could make some trades and get something like Stausic and LeVine. That would actually be a great haul and probably what the Jazz should do if they don’t believe that the guy the draft at 5 probably won’t develop into a superstar. Dario Saric is another guy to trade back for. I wouldn’t take McDermot becasue he’s too one demensional.

    Overall, the Jazz have a lot of good options. Personally, if the Jazz can’t move up for one the big 4 (or big three if Embiids back is sketchy, which it seem to be since this is his second stress fracture in two years) I vote for Aaron Gordon. I think no matter what he is going to help you win at both ends of the court and he has a huge upside, maybe more than anyone considering his size, athleticism, motor, work ethic, age. He checks all the boxes except his shooting, which is not that bad. In fact, I’d have a hard time taking anyone except Wiggins over him.

    • David J Smith says:

      Great thoughts, CW. Thank you for sharing. Saric intrigues me. Seems very, very skilled for his size. The question is if he wants to come over now–sounds like he wants to if the team that drafts him has a vision of how he’ll be used.

  6. TB says:

    I have to be honest I really like P.J. Hairston later in the first round. I think we would even need to trade up to get him. But you have a 6’5″ shooting guard that made some mistakes early on. However, you have a young man that scored at will in the D League, is looking for redemption and is looking for someone to give him a shot. This kid has a chip on his shoulder and would actually fill the shooting need that the Jazz need. Besides, he spent the year crushing the D league to you know what he can do. That was something the Jazz should have done with some other young kids.

    • David J Smith says:

      The Jazz are very good at scouting the D-League, so I’m sure Hairston’s a guy they are familiar with. He might be a candidate at #23.

  7. josh says:

    I don’t see the Jazz trading back with the #5 pick, but I think they could move up with #23 pick, if McDermott falls. (but I don’t think he will fall past 12) I like that Gordon is a pure athlete, but look at his numbers last year. 12.4 points, 8 rebs, .9 steals, 2 assist, 1 block, .495 fg%, .422 Ft%, .356 3p% He seems to be the player that gets a lot of dunks and offensive put backs. What is his range? ft% is scary bad. I see gordon being very similar to favors. I also think that Kanter is a major bust. Some of the Mock drafts have Orlando taking Smart because they need a PG. Maybe somebody could fall to us at #5. We will just have to see. The Jazz are in for another long season next year as well. The town is turing into an RSL town.

  8. David J Smith says:

    I think Kanter improved a lot those last four to six weeks. He was producing double-doubles and his defensive effort was much better (still not great, of course).

    You never know if someone like Smart, Vonleh or Gordon dazzles one of those top four teams. Stranger things have happened.

  9. James Parrish says:

    If Utah doesn’t trade up to get Parker then I would take Gordon. He has a skill that you just can’t teach….WORK ETHIC/HUSTLE. He may not be the best shooter now but you know that he will work at improving it. He will also give 100% on the court during games. That is what has turned me off on Wiggins. Yeah he is a freakish athlete but he just doesn’t seem interested in trying. I think trading up from 23 would be a lot easier and you could easily package the second round pick and a future 1st (we still have another Golden State pick) so we could pick up an elite shooter like McDermott. He was getting buckets and he was the ONLY option on his team. So you know he can get his shot. Plus his combine numbers were actually pretty good so he can develop at least as much D as Korver. Starting line up- PG-Burke SG-Hayward SF-Gordon PF-Favors C-Kanter Plus a bench that has Burks, McDermott, Neto, Evans, and Gobert. You could have such a scary rotation with people being able to play multiple positions

  10. LKA says:

    First of all when Ford says it is impossible to get Parker I would disagree. How many people thought last year it was impossible to get Burke??
    And with some of the comments and thoughts I am glad Lindsey is running the show.

    • JT McKenna says:

      I have great faith in Dennis Lindsey as well. I think that he is an elite GM in the NBA and that is more important to a franchise than any 1 head coach or player. With a great GM, great players and coaches will come. I have yet to see the man make a mistake, but Kevin O’Connor made mistakes on close to half of his transactions and draft picks.

  11. LKA says:

    Please don’t draft Saric.We have already got a Tomic..I really hope the Jazz keep Kanter. I see a breakout year for him with a good coach..

  12. zach says:

    Trade #5 and #35 to Orlando for the #4 and get Exum (they get smart like they seem to want). Trade Kanter and #23 to LA to for #7 and get Gordon or Vonleh. LA may not want rookies to go with Kobe, but kanter can fill in for a departing Pau. Jazz could get two potential all stars and have a good starting 5 with a good bench. Trey is more of a backup PG that can tear up other benches (think collison or reggie jackson). They can use cap space to get 1-2 veterans/backups like danny granger or caron butler, or even work out something with Omar Asik.

    Front court:
    Favors/Gobert/Free Agent
    Gordon/Marv Williams/Evans

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