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An Optimistic View at Pick #5

by Bill Lea

By David Locke

The numbers held true. As much as I like numbers, though, this was one time I was hoping to buck the odds. However, Utah’s most likely draft position entering the night was at No. 5—and that is exactly where the Jazz ended up in the draft.

Now the fun begins. Obviously, everyone wanted to break the top three, with Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Paker and Joel Embiid. However, if there were ever a draft to be at No. 5 this may be the one.  

At the beginning of the year this was known as a once-in-a-decade draft, and the hype was there for a reason. Each of the top eight players in this draft has a special skill. The players sitting 4–8 all have something that makes you say, “Wow!”

Over the last few months, the skills of these players have been dissected over and over, and now the focus is on their weaknesses. While those negatives are true in some cases, the amazing skills that made this a once-in-a-lifetime draft have not disappeared.  

Over the next month, what is going to be incredible is trying to figure out what the Jazz are going to do.  The Jazz already have a player at each of the five positions with Burke, Burks, Hayward, Favors and Kanter, so where do they draft the next young player?  

Would they draft a bigger, stronger point guard in Marcus Smart? Do the Jazz go for the incredible athlete Aaron Gordon, who could play either forward spot and could defend any position? What about the low-post scoring threat of Julius Randle? Is there a chance that Australian Dante Exum could slip beyond his expected No. 4 slot to the Jazz at No. 5?  

The Jazz will have to make numerous decisions. If they are going to go with a big, who do they like the most? Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, Randle or Gordon? Do they like Smart, and could he compliment Burke and Burks? Maybe the biggest decisions the Jazz will have to make is what weaknesses can be overcome. Gordon and Smart’s lack of shooting, or Randle’s lack of size in the post.

Another name to keep an eye is 6’10” 223-pound Croatian Dario Saric, who was terrific in Europe over the last month and is the best shooter of the group.

It’s going to be an incredible next 30-plus days, and we haven’t even started to mention our second first-round pick. 

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