The time for NBA mock drafts is now and they’re in full swing after the draft order was set following Tuesday night’s draft lottery. While the consensus is that the Celtics will take Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 pick, how most prognosticators see what the Jazz will do with their two first-round selections is all over the board.
Andrew Lynch of Fox Sports has the Jazz taking Michigan sophomore power forward, D.J. Wilson with the No. 24 pick, saying, “The Jazz would love to take (French center Jonathan) Jeanne as a Gobert backup if he’s still on the board here. If not, though, they’ll likely settle for a young power forward with range and raw defensive skills to take Derrick Favors’ place down the line, should he become a salary cap casualty.”
He went with a guard for the Jazz at No. 30 in former Lone Peak standout, Frank Jackson, saying, “Jackson played high school ball just south of Salt Lake City, and the Jazz could use another point guard prospect if they’re not sure Dante Exum is the long-term answer anymore.
“He’s an explosive athlete and a fairly decent defender already, which would make him a great fit in Utah.”
USA Today’s Adi Joseph had the Jazz taking the European route with their first selection in the former of Latvian small forward Rodions Kurucs. Speaking of Kurucs, Joseph wrote, “Predicting which team likes which international player is always a challenge, but everyone seems intrigued by Kurucs. He has a smooth game and good size, and as a 19-year-old, he would make an ideal draft-and-stash fit to bring over in two years, when his deal with Barcelona ends.”
Joseph also has the Jazz taking a guard at No. 30, going with Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans. “The biggest gap between Evans and the point guards in the top 10 is size; he measured to be under 6-foot at the combine, wrote Joseph. “But he’s a brilliant natural playmaker with enough speed and strength to be a factor on pick-and-rolls. The Jazz may need a point guard, and Evans is a potential steal.”
Reid Forgrave of CBS Sports had the Jazz using both of their first-round picks on big men with Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan at No. 24 and Kentucky freshman Bam Adebayo at No. 30.
Looking at Swanigan, Forgrave wrote, “This is a guy who is one of the hardest workers I’ve been around in college basketball, both off the court and on. He understands what his primary role will be in the NBA: As a rebounder who outworks his opponents. No, he doesn’t fit into the nice pretty box of what we think of as NBA power forwards. But he’s such a high-character guy with so much tangible and intangible basketball talent that he’ll absolutely become a positive presence on a winning basketball team.”
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