Ever since the Utah Jazz heard their name called with the 5th pick during the draft lottery we all knew that something had to change. Ever since then, rumors have been swirling around at what they might do. There has speculation of a block buster trade and plenty of smaller ones that would have the Jazz moving up to get one four can’t miss prospects. The assumption by many is that the Jazz are really looking to land Duke freshman Jabari Parker, but that doesn’t seem to make much sense to me.
Since the day that Tyrone Corbin got fired, all we have heard from the Jazz brass about was building a defensive culture. In no way does drafting Parker do that. First off, if you have to trade away your best defensive player to land Parker, then you are already starting in a big hole. Add in the fact that Parker has an offense first mentality and the coach K couldn’t get him to play any defense and that hole just keeps getting deeper. Now you have to consider if Alec Burks was traded away to land the No. 1 pick. Burks isn’t a defensive stopper, but he is the best scorer that the Jazz have on the current roster. If he is off in Cleveland with Favors, then Parker will really have to focus on the offensive end to shoulder the scoring load leaving him with almost no energy to play defense.
If defense is truly what the Jazz are focusing on to build their team around, then some injury news from last week should be a huge bonus. That bonus is that Joel Embiid has a good chance of being on the board when the Jazz draft at no. 5 (if the keep it). Yes, Joel Embiid broke his foot. Yes, it is an injury that ended the careers of other big men. Yes, he wasnt a proven commodity when healthy anyway. Those are all the negatives, and for whatever reason, that is all anyone is focusing on. Lets at least take a look at the positives for a minute. Embiid is young and in great shape. which means he should be able to recuperate much more easily. That also means, he isn’t carrying around the same kind of weight that Yao Ming was when this injury ended his career. Also, It was reported that only two screws were required during the surgery, which tells me that the damage wasnt nearly as sever as some others. Then you have to consider that other big men have had the same surgery and went on to have long and productive careers. On top of that, we have to take a look which of these rookies is going to contribute right away. Chances of Parker and Andrew Wiggins playing well is on the higher side, but they wont be on the board if the Jazz draft at No. 5. The guys who will be around will most likely be players that have a high ceiling, but aren’t ready to give you big time production from day one.
If the Jazz really want to bring that wow factor, then they really have no choice but to take a serious look at Embiid (if he is still on the board). After all, he was the best defensive prospect in this draft by far and could be a cornerstone for the defense for the next decade. All they would have to do is be patient. like the 76ers were with Nerlens Noel. Just like Embiid, Noel was the projected No. 1 pick, but fell in the draft after a serious knee injury ending his freshman season. You may get pounded while you wait for the year to pass, but then you will get two lottery picks in your lineup for the 2015-16 season. Then all you have to do is imagine what kind of defensive pairing that Joel Embiid and Derrick Favors would make playing side-by-side for the next few seasons. That would definitely be the kind of team that the Jazz brass were referring to when they mentioned defense first.