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2021 NBA Draft Profiles: Utah Jazz

2021 NBA Draft Profiles: Utah Jazz

The 2021 NBA Draft will take place on July 29. As the draft approaches, The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. Each NBA squad will be analyzed, team needs will be addressed and potential targets will be discussed.

The Utah Jazz are the subject of today’s 2021 NBA Draft Profile.

Summary

The Utah Jazz finished the regular season with a 52-20 record, the best in the NBA. They advanced to the second round of the playoffs and were beaten by the Clippers. This was predicted to be a close series until Kawhi Leonard suffered a knee injury in game four. After the Clippers lost their star player, it was for sure thought that the Jazz

Image courtesy of sltrib.com

should take the series home even with Mike Conley dealing with injury. Star performances from Paul George and Reggie Jackson instead lead the Clippers to win the series in six games.

The Utah jazz definitely disappointed this postseason. They were not looked at as the title favorite, but they should have capitalized against an injured Clippers team. Regardless, they are still a top offensive and defensive team in the league. Their offensive game plan of taking and making more threes than any other team was effective. Their defense anchored by now three time defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert was one of the league’s best.

There is no glaring weakness to this team. They are a very well constructed team that will dominate regular season games, but might not be ready for the postseason. In the postseason, everyone says that a superstar that can get a team buckets late in the shot clock or down the stretch in the fourth quarter is a necessity. Donovan Mitchell is their guy, but he might not be there yet. He had some great performances, but he is just not quite a superstar yet.

2021 Draft Picks

First Round (one pick): Pick No. 30

Team Needs

Bench playmaking: Jordan Clarkson won the sixth man of the year and Joe Ingles was the runner up. This should be an indicator that the bench is not an issue, but it is something that should be looked at. Joe Ingles was the main facilitator on the Jazz bench units with Clarkson there to just get buckets. The Jazz need a point guard to backup Conley that has the ability to make plays for others.

Perimeter Defense: Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell are both solid defenders, but not necessarily good due to their size. Royce O’Neale gets a lot of the opposing best player assignments, but the team needs more help. The Jazz finished second to last in the league in steals per game. While steals are not an indicator for good perimeter defense, they are still important in terms of turning the other team over.

Projected Target

Pick No. 30: Jason Preston, PG, Ohio University

This may seem like a bit of reach, but Preston has been rising up boards since the NBA Draft Combine. He is one of the best stories in the draft, and could sneak into the late first round. Preston dominated the MAC at Ohio University. While the MAC is by no means close to NBA competition, there are some pretty solid teams that he had to go up against in that conference.

Jazz 2021 draft
Preston against Cleveland State. (Photo by Blake Nissen/Ohio Athletics)

Preston was a triple double threat every time he stepped on the floor averaging 15.7 points per game, 7.3 assists per game, and 7.3 rebounds per game. He is one of the best passers in the class and a very good rebounder for a point guard. Preston is a tall point guard at 6-foot-4, but has an even more ridiculous 7-foot-1 wingspan. He has absurd length that should allow him to become a plus defender in the NBA.

Preston could fulfill both of the team needs mentioned earlier. He could be the team’s bench point guard with the ability to create for others while developing his body to become a good perimeter defender. Preston is the perfect fit for the Utah Jazz.

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