The Utah Jazz are making huge strides to build for the future thanks to the progression of players like Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert. They are in 11th place in the Western Conference with a 25-36 record, but are 7-3 in their last 10 games after a 89-83 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
While the current roster is loaded with up-and-coming talent, there are three players carving out their own niche in the European leagues that Jazz fans have very high hopes for moving forward.
Here is a look at the how the players the Jazz have drafts right to have performed in Europe so far this season.
Note: All statistical information from Eurobasket.com.
Ante Tomic, 7-2, 265, center, FC Barcelona (Spain)
The Jazz selected Tomic with the 14th pick in the second round (44th overall) of the 2008 draft and have held his NBA right ever since. He has spent the last three seasons with FC Barcelona of the Spain-Liga Endesa. He is one of the key pieces on a very balanced team that includes former NBA players Juan Carlos Navarro, Bostjan Nachbar and Maciej Lampe.
In Spanish League play, he has appeared in 22 games and is averaging 10.1 points on 54.5 percent shooting from the floor with 6.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 19.6 minutes. His best showing recently came in a 99-61 win over FIATC Joventut Badalona when he scored 15 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the floor with a team-high nine rebounds in 24 minutes.
FC Barcelona also competes in the Euroleague with some of the best teams around the entire continent. Tomic gets more time against consistently better competition and is performing at a very high level.
In Euroleague play, he has played in 19 games and is putting up 11.5 points on 58.3 percent shooting from the floor to go along with 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 24.4. His best game of late came in a 92-82 win over ALBA Berlin where he totaled 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the floor and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. He added five rebounds, three assists and a steal in 35 minutes of action.
Tibor Pleiss, 7-2, 242, center, FC Barcelona (Spain)
Pleiss was selected by the New Jersey Nets with the first pick in the second round (31st overall) in the 2010 draft before he got traded and then sold on draft night, according to basketball-reference.com. The Jazz acquired him as part of the 3-team deal that saw Enes Kanter and Steve Novak get shipped to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
He is the backup center for Tomic on the loaded FC Barcelona roster. While he hasn’t seen significant minutes this season, Pleiss has put up some nice numbers.
In Spanish League play, he has appeared in 21 games and is averaging 6.7 points on 65.4 percent shooting from the floor and 85.7 percent shooting from the free-throw line to go along with 4.3 rebounds in 13.9 minutes. His best recent showing came in a 87-79 win over Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias when registered 10 points on 3-for-5 shooting from the floor and 4-for-4 from the charity stripe with nine rebounds and an assist in 15 minutes.
In Euroleague play, he has made 16 appearances and is averaging 4.8 points on 50.9 percent shooting from the field and 82.6 percent from the free-throw line with 3.1 rebounds in 11.5 minutes. He had a huge performance in a 81-77 win over Panathinaikos Athens with 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the floor and 3-for-3 from the line with three rebounds, two blocks and an assist in 14 minutes.
Raul Neto, 6-2, 172, point guard, Universidad Catolica De Murcia CB (Spain)
Neto was selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the 17th pick of the second round (47th overall) in the 2013 draft before he was traded to the Jazz on draft night.
He has been in and out of the starting lineup as a point guard for Universidad Catolica DE Murcia CB in his first season with the team, after spending the last three seasons playing for Gipuzkoa BC San Sebastian (Spain). UCAM Murcia has struggled as of late with seven losses in the last ten games to fall to 10-12 on the season.
He had a nice showing as a starter in a 96-83 win over Baloncesto Sevilla with 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting from the floor with a game-high 11 assists, four steals and three rebounds in 24 minutes.
So far this season, he has played in 22 games and is averaging 8.7 points on 49.2 percent shooting from inside the arc, 23.9 percent from 3-point range and 68.3 percent from the free-throw line. He also averages a team-leading 4.7 assists, two rebounds and 1.2 steals in 21.8 minutes.