The names of the basketball could’ve-been’s and want-to-be’s are stacked high like so many mammoth bones held fast in the Holocene tarpit that is the tail-end of the NBA draft lottery. Hilton Armstrong, Acie Law, Jason Thompson, Tyler Hansbrough, Earl Clark… and so on and so on. Sure, you can find a few names that can be considered something better than role and bench players in the 12-14 pick range, but they are sparse among the debris in the center of most drafts. So what to do if you’re the Jazz? – a team with a very young but promising core, an inexperienced (for the most part) bench, and looking hard at breaking into the playoffs with the surprise emergence of the long/tall Frenchman Gobert.
What to do?
Check your mock drafts Jazz fans, there are 19- and 20-year-old players there that can do some good things. But many can’t dribble, others can’t shoot, and the few that can shoot can’t seem to move their feet fast enough to guard opposing players. Right now the Jazz brain trust hates them all. They’ve watched film and staged workouts ad nauseam and have noted every flaw in their subjects’ immature games. And what they’re thinking right now is exactly what they should do: draft none of them. That’s right. With the 12th pick in the 2015 NBA draft the Jazz should pick none of the players that everybody thinks they should pick – not Oubre, not Frank, not Turner, not Lyles. Instead, the Jazz should pick Delon Wright out of the University of Utah.
But P-Mac, the Jazz would never pick a local kid. Too much pressure to play him right away. The old Jeff Judkins Fred Roberts dilemma. And the Jazz shouldn’t waste a #12 on a player who is not “projected” to go until somewhere in the 20’s. Look Jazz fans, I didn’t say the Jazz should pick Wright at 12, although they might as well, and I’m not saying you should bet your neighbor at the Jazz draft party your free hotdog that they will pick the Ute point guard at some slot during Thursday’s draft (get lower) – but I’m telling you it’s what they should do, and here’s why: We know that no Jazz brass in their right mind would draft another really tall white guy so Frank is out. And the Jazz don’t need another wait-three-years, one-and-done project on their bench and books either. Wright is 23, a four-year guy. A smart, versatile fella who can handle the ball, defend, get to the basket and the foul line (he’s both a stellar and clutch free throw shooter), and could actually give you a little something in 2015-16.
But P-Mac, what about spacing the floor with a stretch four? Oh brother – you guys just like saying “stretch four.” Really, who at number 12 is going to help the Jazz with floor spacing in these playoff push years? Also, picking Wright gives the Jazz more flexibility at the point guard position (back up or third point guard) if you decide to move Trey Burke and he can play alongside other point guards if needed.
I know it’s shocking to think about – but that’s why we’re here. And I can feel you coming around to the idea. D Lindsey should too.