DRAFT TRADE: Jazz acquire cash considerations in trade with Houston Rockets for No. 52 overall pick Vincent Edwards
Areas Of Strength
Wow. That’s the only necessary reaction to how the Utah Jazz approached their first Draft in the post-Gordon Hayward era. They traded up with the Denver Nuggets and grabbed Donovan Mitchell (the No. 13 overall pick) on Draft night 2017, costing them only Trey Lyles and Tyler Lydon (who was picked 24th in 2017). Mitchell then burst onto the scene, became Utah’s No. 1 scoring option and made a solid case for Kia Rookie of the Year. In all, the Jazz’s maneuver in 2017 could become one of the biggest draft-day deals in recent history. Mitchell teamed with center Rudy Gobert to rebuild the Utah core and put the Jazz back in contention in the Western Conference.
The Jazz traded for point guard Ricky Rubio last summer and Rubio had some nice moments. Still, you wonder if someone better can come along, or at least serve as an understudy for a year. If the Jazz don’t believe former lottery pick Dante Exum is that guy anymore -- he’s a restricted free agent this summer -- then point guard could be an area of concentration in the Draft. In any event, the Jazz could desperately use another scorer to ease Mitchell’s burden.
Two Stats That Matter
97.5 -- The Jazz allowed only 97.5 points per 100 possessions from the time Rudy Gobert returned from injury on Jan. 19. That was 3.6 fewer points per 100 possessions than any other team allowed over that stretch.
187 -- Donovan Mitchell led all rookies in scoring at 20.5 points per game and set a rookie record with 187 3-pointers.
-- John Schuhmann
The Way To Go
The Jazz front office has a very good track record when it comes to drafting, so holding the No. 21 pick might produce a rotational player. Chandler Hutchison averaged 20 points at Boise State and, at 6-foot-7, can play a swing position. They might also take a serious look at a pair of guards from Villanova: Donte Divincenzo and Jalen Brunson. Divincenzo is more of an athletic swing-type guard while Brunson is old-school at the point. Both could free up Mitchell for a spell.
2017-18 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank)
Offensive: 106.2 (15th)
Defensive: 101.6 (2nd)
G: Donovan Mitchell
G: Ricky Rubio
G: Alec Burks
F: Thabo Sefolosha
F: Jae Crowder
F: Joe Ingles
F: Jonas Jerebko
C/F: Ekpe Udoh
C: Rudy Gobert
G: Dante Exum (restricted)
G: Raul Neto (restricted)
F: Erik McCree (restricted)
F: Georges Niang (restricted)
F/C: Derrick Favors (unrestricted)
Recent Draft History
2017: Tyler Lydon (24), traded to Denver; Josh Hart (30) and Thomas Bryant (42), traded to Los Angeles Lakers; Nigel Williams-Goss (55)
2016: Taurean Prince (12), traded to Atlanta; Isaiah Whitehead (42), traded to Brooklyn; Joel Bolomboy (52), Tyrone Wallace (60)
2015: Trey Lyles (12), Olivier Hanlan (42), Daniel Diez (54), traded to Portland
2014: Dante Exum (5), Rodney Hood (23), Jarnell Stokes (35), traded to Memphis
2013: Shabazz Muhammad (14), traded to Minnesota; Gorgui Dieng (21), traded to Minnesota; Erick Green (46), traded to Denver
2012: Kevin Murphy (47)
-- Shaun Powell