Well, the Jazz Drafted

June 26th, 2015 | by Aaron Hefner
Photo: USATSI

Photo: USATSI

You know that friend who hypes up a burger from a joint that you’ve never been to? After weeks and weeks of buildup, you accompany him to the restaurant only to find the “epic burgers” are just ho hum. They’re not bad, you would probably order one again, but it isn’t something you would go out of your way to eat. Well, that is how this draft felt. After two months of articles, mock drafts, podcasts, rumors, workouts, and interviews, the Utah Jazz drafted Trey Lyles with the 12th pick.

Don’t be mistaken, Trey Lyles is a nice player. He does a lot of things well. He is a good passer, a good dribbler, a modestly versatile defender, and has a good short jumper. However, after the escalation over the course of the last several weeks, the Jazz were expected to have at least one prospect with a higher ceiling fall to them, including Myles Turner, Stanley Johnson, or even Willie Cauley-Stein. Instead, all of those players were snatched up before Dennis Lindsay had an opportunity to make his pick. Now, that isn’t to say that Trey Lyles wasn’t preferred over some of the players on that list, but by most experts and final mock drafts, he was expected to be picked lower. The reason Jazz fans may feel slightly disappointed with the draft isn’t because Trey Lyles was the wrong pick — quite the opposite. Given the available options at 12, Lyles was a reasonable and defensible pick. No, the reason fans may be disappointed is because of how the draft played out early in the lottery and what could have been if picks five through eleven went a bit differently.

Nevertheless, the Jazz selected the 6’10, 240 lb Kentucky small forward. Upon announcement of the selection, Jazz Twitterverse erupted with indifference. Most folks didn’t hate it and, besides Jazz radio voice David Locke, most folks didn’t love it. In fact, even some hardcore Jazz fans shrugged, turned off the TV, and went about their evening. There was no smashing of remote controls out of anger and disappointment, and there was no spilling of drinks while jumping for joy.

The freshman Wildcat is considered to be more NBA-ready than many other prospects due to his impressive basketball IQ and his defensive versatility. It has been well documented that Lyles played out of position as a small forward under John Calipari. This forced him to expand his range and guard smaller faster players, which he did adequately. So while he is not a traditional “stretch four” he resembles a “playmaking four”, a term Zach Lowe recently coined.

As with any prospect, projecting what Trey Lyles will become is very difficult, if not impossible. There is hope that Lyles develops his three point shooting and he becomes a more versatile Patrick Patterson, as Locke so frequently states. It is also possible Lyles struggles to compete at a high level due to his good, but not great, talent profile and mediocre athleticism. But Trey Lyles is said to be a workhorse and has had to adapt his game once already, and the front office is betting he can do it again.

Now, what does the addition of Trey Lyles mean to the rest of the Utah Jazz roster? Well, first of all it means the average age of the team just got even younger. Trey Lyles is 19 and doesn’t turn 20 until November 5th. However, considering he will be a power forward, it also means there are questions surrounding Trevor Booker’s future with the Jazz. Even before the draft, Booker remaining in a Jazz uniform next season was uncertain given his trade-friendly contract. But after the lottery selection, a trade may be on the horizon.

The Utah Jazz also selected Boston College point guard Olivier Hanlan with their 42nd pick. If you are keeping track at home, Olivier makes four point guards on the Jazz roster: Trey Burke, Dante Exum, Bryce Cotton, and Hanlan. That list doesn’t even include fan favorite Raul Neto, who is currently playing professional basketball in Brazil. Similar clouds that hover over Trevor Booker are likely materializing over Bryce Cotton and Trey Burke right now. It is unlikely the Jazz begin the season with four point guards on the roster, so who will be the odd man out?

While the Jazz draft may not have ended with splashy trades or unexpected prospects slipping to Utah, Dennis Lindsay feels like they “did the right thing.” So whether you nodded in solemn approval tonight or exhaled in minor disappointment, the draft is over and free agency approaches.

Aaron Hefner

Aaron Hefner

Aaron Hefner, a maniacal Jazz addict, currently resides in Austin, Texas. He is a recent BYU business grad and a current supply chain project manager. When not working, he enjoys quality time with his pregnant wife and his daughter. Aaron writes about the Jazz to avoid annoying his family and coworkers with NBA propaganda.
Aaron Hefner
Aaron Hefner

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9 Comments

  1. brandon says:

    The only thing that is keeping us from a yearly rebuild is that Gobert is elite. We just added another hoe hum player to our team filled with role players.

    • Matt says:

      Favors and Hayward are “role players”? Okee-dokee!

    • Lin is Garbage!! says:

      I like Gobert a lot but there is no world in which Gobert is considered Elite yet. HE CAN NOT SCORE UNLESS IT IS A DUNK!! When he can dominate offensively as well as defensively then you can state this.

  2. Steve says:

    I think the Jazz made the right pick. Booker is just a spot up shooter and has really no other skill. Lyles seems to be a guy who can initiate offense from the 4 spot and be able to stretch the 4. After looking into Lyles, I think he will fit well with the Jazz and will learn quickly from Quin. As far as moving up, it seems the cost was going to be incredibly high. The Celtics couldn’t get a deal done for the #9 pick even offering tons of assets. Not sure I would have wanted to see the price to move up to #9.

    http://espn.go.com/boston/nba/story/_/id/13154399/boston-celtics-offered-six-picks-charlotte-hornets-no-9-pick-sources-say

  3. Don says:

    1. Good but not great athleticism.
    2. Alligator arms.
    3. Good but not great shooter.
    4. Questionable defensive abilities.
    5. High basketball IQ.
    6. Jazz fans disappointed.

    Trey Lyles? No, actually I was referring to when the Jazz drafted Hayward.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      Don, I like your comment.

      When the Jazz drafted Lyles and everyone groaned, I was thinking about the Jazz draft of Gordon Hayward in 2010 (and I was one of the fans who groaned at that pick). Lyles is essentially a bigger version of Gordon Hayward, who can play PF (and center in really small, mobile lineups).

      One of the Jazz’s biggest needs was a player who could guard the more mobile stretch-4 PFs of the league, and perhaps some of the bigger SFs (such as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant). Hopefully Lyles can fill that need for the Jazz. When I watched Lyles play in college, I thought he had a playing style similar to Lamar Odom.

      The other Jazz player who got a big “boo” at the time of being drafted (other than Hayward and Lyles) was John Stockton. Perhaps that’s a good harbinger of things to come for Lyles.

  4. cw says:

    I cannot get any kind of excited about Trey Lyles. He doesn’t really fill a need since he can’t hit 3s. His addition to the team will not bring the Jazz anymore wins. Booker is going to be better at every facet of the game. The only thing Lyles has going for him is he will be cheap for four years. I doubt he’s going to even play much the first couple years.

    Once you have a fairly well set roster the moves get trickier and GM-ing gets harder. To contend you have to make the creative moves that make the team better when it is already pretty good ( and get lucky). This was neither creative nor lucky. I think Lindsey should have been a little more proactive.

  5. Patrick K says:

    Lyles is going to have a high floor on our team but his ceiling is also mediocre. I’m a Kentucky fan and watched every game. Lyles constantly got blown by when he was guarding small forwards. Even the bigger ones like Dekker drove by him like he wasnt there. That was ok and will be ok since he had WCS in the middle and he will have Rudy in the middle here. I think he is a better fit than Kaminsky for us. He may not shoot the 3 as efficiently as Kaminsky yet, but he WILL make you respect him. 25/40 corner 3s at the end of the Jazz workout. His release is solid. Poor spacing and willingness to make the smart pass kind of led to him taking mostly bad 3s at UK. That will change with us! I think he will be about as good as Ingles is defensively vs SF, just replacing Ingles’ pass interceptions with the occasional Lyles block. Overall I’m very happy with the pick. We have a player who’s a better fit for the Jazz’s system than Kaminsky (he would slow posessions down way too much — holds the ball a lot a-la Kanter/Big Al) and we finally have a Kentucky player on the squad again.

    I understand that moving up with Winslow still on the board was going to cost too much, and with Kaminsky/Turner drafted ahead of us the choice to make was simple. Booker would have been a huge reach. If we want a 3pt specialist we can still get Frazier III who went undrafted but worked out for us. We had over 100 workouts, so I fully expect Burke or Booker to move and for us to bring in some more unsigned players. There are some good ones out there like Upshaw, Frazier, Michael Qualls, Cliff Alexander, Jaiteh, maybe Snyder wants to bring in another Dukie in Quinn Cook.

    What I don’t understand, is why we didn’t try to move up to take a Boston pick off of their hands or the Rockets pick that was being shopped around or another 1st round pick 15-27 or so. There were some studs to pick up in that area and we still retain so many future picks and assets. I cannot believe one of those teams wouldn’t have traded for like 2 2nd rounders, and the future OKC 1st or maybe the GS. I’m most bummed out we didn’t manage to move back up into the first to pick up another promising player. Hollis-Jefferson at 23, RJ Hunter at 28 and Looney at 30? Come on!

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