Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How Can I Help You? Utah Jazz

Utah's bigs are their strength and future.
The Utah Jazz are ahead of schedule in terms of their rebuilding process. Last season, they traded away Deron Williams not too long after Carlos Boozer went to the Bulls in free agency, and seemed to have blown up their team. Jerry Sloan was out and Tyrone Corbin was in. Youth was served. This team is looking to follow the pattern of the Thunder by taking over with their young guns. Making the playoffs last season was a huge accomplishment. Next year, they'll want more.

The team will lose some veterans to free agency, such as C. J. Miles and Josh Howard. Jamaal Tinsley should be back with the team through his player option, and he'll add experience to the baby Jazz. Jeremy Evans should also be brought back, as he is a very young player with extreme potential.

With a lot of young talent, Utah's biggest need is veterans. Obviously they're not going to be able to get that through the draft. However, there's no reason not to add to the young talent at a position of need.

At point guard is Devin Harris and Tinsley. Drafting a PG may be the best idea for the Jazz. This is the only position they really don't have youth in. Having someone to sit behind the two vets and learn could benefit Utah in the future. Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks are the two shooting guards for the team. Both are young and show promise. The team will likely steer away from adding another SG.

Evans and DeMarre Carroll are your small forwards. Carroll got a lot better this past season and we'll see if he can develop into a true starting caliber player. Hayward can also play this spot. It wouldn't be a shock to see the team take another forward. However, they're set in the frontcourt. With Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors at power forward and Al Jefferson and Enes Kanter at center, the team has a tremendous amount of athleticism and potential down low.

Look for the Jazz to see if they can sniff out their point guard of the future, but also consider a small forward. They pick at #47.

With the luxury of not needing an immediate contribution from their draft pick, they'll look at some of the point guards with higher potential. I see three main options.

Brown has a lot to learn, but serious potential.
Maalik Wayns from Villanova is a very agressive scorer. He has great speed and makes up for his lack of size in his strength. Wayns has to work on his decision making and overall point guard skills, so they could select him and have Harris teach him the ropes. Scott Machado is another option who is nearly the opposite of Wayns. His passing, court vision, and PG skills are excellent, but he needs to work on his putrid offense. Finally, J'Covan Brown can light up the scoreboard, but he often takes too many shots. Harris could try to help him find a happy medium between shooting and passing.

Brown is my favorite for the pick, but I'll throw some SF prospects out there as well. Kris Joseph or Darius Miller would be great picks here and add instant offense to the team. However, Orlando Johnson from UCSB would probably be the best fit. He has great scoring ability and can overpower other small forwards despite his height (6'5").

Taking Brown would have the team's depth chart looking like this:

PG: Devin Harris, Jamal Tinsley, J'Covan Brown
SG: Gordan Hayward, Alec Burks
SF: DeMarre Carroll, Jeremy Evans
PF: Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors
C: Al Jefferson, Enes Kanter

With another year under their belts, the Jazz could make a huge leap. Expect them to be a mainstay in the postseason for years to come behind the strength of their frontcourt.

Next up is the New York Knicks, who will look to fill a need in the draft and deliberate some of their crucial free agent decisions.

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