The NBA Draft is just weeks away, which means NBA Draftmas is back. Each day, The Game Haus will review a team’s past season, their team needs and targets. Draftmas continues today with the Utah Jazz 2018 NBA Draft Profile.
On paper, the 2018 iteration of the Utah Jazz was not one that would excite even the most ardent fans. Their star forward, Gordon Hayward, departed in free agency, leaving them with a huge void. Little did Utah know, their 48-34 record and hopes of Western Conference relevance would come at the hands of a rookie, Donovan Mitchell.
While Mitchell and other players like Rudy Gobert and Ricky Rubio played a substantial role in Utah’s unexpected success, one could argue the unsung hero of this team was their head coach, Quinn Snyder. In a year with multiple deserving candidates for coach of the year, Snyder’s name was most often overlooked. Snyder has built one of the league’s best defenses in Utah, and has been doing it for years. Since his arrival in 2014, the Jazz have either been first or second in opponents points per game. Last season, the Jazz only surrendered 99.8 points per game, ranking second in the NBA.
Conversely, Snyder has yet to have a top-ten or twelve unit in terms of points per game during his tenure. Now that Donovan Mitchell has asserted himself as one of the league’s best young scorers, Snyder and company can focus on providing this team with more offensive support in an effort to advance to the conference finals.
Picks and Needs
The Utah Jazz have two picks in the upcoming NBA Draft.
First round: No. 21
Second round: No. 52
While the Jazz need to add offensive firepower, they may have to pass on the best offensive player available given their need at the power forward position. Derrick Favors will likely walk in free agency, leaving them with Ekpe Udoh, Tony Bradley, Jonas Jerebko and Georges Niang as potential centers and power forwards to fill in at that spot. It’s likely the Jazz will use their first-round pick to add a player who can play at both big-man positions.
Targets and Thoughts
Pick No. 21: Mitchell Robinson, C, High School
Yes, you heard it right. Mitchell Robinson chose not to attend college post-high school. Instead, he took the year off to train for the draft. Physically, Robinson is imposing. At 7’1″ with a 7’4″ wingspan and good athletic ability, Mitchell Robinson has all the tools to be a great shot blocker.
Although the Jazz already have a dominant defensive force at the center spot, Robinson would allow Snyder’s defense to play the same way if Gobert is on the bench. It would also allow the Jazz to play a smaller, more offensive minded forward at the four position, while Gobert or Robinson are on the court. However, Robinson will have to learn from Gobert, as he tries to block every shot and can easily get in foul trouble.
While Robinson would unlock the Jazz’s ability to play an offensively driven player at the four, his offensive game needs work. He doesn’t have a specific set of scoring moves. Rather, he relies on his athletic ability and length to finish around the rim. Robinson has a quality jump shot for being a seven-footer that will allow him to develop an intermediate and outside game.
Pick No. 52: Ray Spalding, PF, Louisville
By selecting Ray Spalding, the Jazz can get younger at the power forward position, which they desperately need. While he doesn’t have the outside shot of a Jerebko or the defensive ability of Sefolosha, he does have the ability to develop an offensive game to go with his rebounding.
The Jazz have a nice young piece in Donovan Mitchell and will have to build around him to compete.
Please come back tomorrow for the Indiana Pacers draft profile!
Featured Image Courtesy of logonoid.com
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