Posts Tagged ‘Eric Mika’

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.”

Continue reading at DeseretNews.com.

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BYU big man Eric Mika earned some national recognition as the “Whistle King” as part of Sports Illustrated’s Effy Awards (awards based on efficiency and other advanced metrics), for the way he got to the free-throw line this past season.

 After talking about Mika’s massive performance in the upset win over Gonzaga that included 9 for 13 from the foul line, Luke Winn wrote, “That type of free-throw production was the norm for Mika, who averaged a nation-high 9.2 points per 40 minutes from the stripe. His physical, low-post game drew constant whistles in West Coast Conference play, and he was not your typical, brick-laying center from the line, making 76.3% of his attempts.”

Utah alums, Poeltl, Wright could play important roles in Raptors-Bucks series

Lucas Richards of Fansided’s Raptors Rapture looked at the play of former University of Utah standouts Jakob Poeltl and Delon Wright in Game 2 of the best-of-seven first round series with the Milwaukee Bucks and how their roles might expand through the rest of the series because of it.

Speaking of Poeltl’s defense, Richards wrote, “Poeltl’s solid defense is what caught me off guard. Throughout the year, he’s had a habit of having incredible positioning and always being in the right spot, but this was his first meaningful minutes in the playoffs. He continually ended up at the right spot at the right time.”

Richards then shifted his attention to what Poeltl proved on the offensive end, saying, “It is a common theme that Poeltl continually finds himself in great position. The most obvious example of that was his cut to the basket where P.J. Tucker threw him a perfect pass for an easy layup. It was his only basket of the game but a good one nonetheless.”

Continue reading at DeseretNews.com.

Pete Fiutak of College Football News looked at what would happen if BYU went 13-0 in 2017.

After looking at the Cougars’ success on the field in 2016 and what it would have meant if they ran the table, Fiutak asks the question, “No, really, what happens if BYU goes 13-0? Or 12-1? Does that mean that BYU could have this whole thing figured out after all?”

Then he answers why it’s a relevant question, saying, “If you’re wondering why the whole idea of BYU being considered for the College Football Playoff might be an offseason theoretical discussion worth figuring out, it’s because this year’s team is probably better than the 2016 version that, again, was eight points away from being perfect.”

Fiutak then looks at the talent BYU has on the field and its tough schedule to start the season, before turning his attention what a great Cougar team could do to the system, saying, “It would be an interesting test for the system if BYU really did come up with a magical year. Would it prove that being in a conference just doesn’t matter? Would it encourage others to think about doing the same? And just how much weight would the committee put on a 12-1 BYU team if that one loss was a close call against a powerhouse like LSU or Wisconsin?”

He then takes a step back from having the Cougars as an undefeated or one-loss team, saying, “Okay, okay, okay, BYU is probably more 11-2 on the high-end than a 13-0 national discussion, but if the team really is able to come up with some of those big early wins …”

Gobert ranked best center

Adam Fromal of Bleacher Report released his end of the season NBA Power Rankings at each position, and Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert came in as the top-ranked center.

After talking about Gobert’s ability as a rim protector, Fromal writes, “It’s offense that has propelled Gobert to the leading spot, even if such an idea would have felt nonsensical heading into the season.”

Continue reading at DeseretNews.com.