Jazz expecting immediate boost with No. 3 pick
Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said the chance to pick No. 3 in
June’s draft means the team is coming back – a season after losing
Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan, All-Star Deron Williams and a
record-setting 43 games.
The Jazz in February traded away a point guard who was picked
No. 3 overall in 2005. But that blockbuster deal with New Jersey in
essence netted them two No. 3 picks in return – the one they won
the rights to in Tuesday’s draft lottery and the one used last year
on forward Derrick Favors.
Favors, a second-team NBA All-Rookie selection this past season,
was acquired along with guard Devin Harris in the Williams
The Jazz, barring any trades, will have four top-10 picks on
their roster next season with Favors, Harris (No. 5 overall in
2004) and Gordon Hayward (No. 9 in 2010).
Many mock drafts have Duke guard Kyrie Irving and Arizona
forward Derrick Williams going 1-2 in June, though one has Williams
falling to No. 3.
Other players projected for that third pick include Enes Kanter,
a 6-foot-11 forward from Turkey and Jonas Valanciunas, a 6-10
forward from Lithuania.
”There’s some great young talent out there and there’s some
guys that’ll surprise some people once they get into Chicago and
you see the size of them,” Corbin said of the draft combine, which
All 30 teams have access to physical exams of top prospects as
well as measurements that show athleticism and agility. Team
officials also can watch the prospects in light on-court drills and
”That stuff on the floor is good, but I think because of this
community and the kind of people that we try and bring in here, the
interviews are an important part of that,” said Corbin, who took
over after Sloan abruptly retired Feb. 9 following 23 seasons as
Jazz head coach.
”We really evaluate how a guy will carry himself and can you
trust a guy to do what he says he’s going to do. Everybody makes
some mistakes, but we put a lot of weight on the interview and the
Corbin said the No. 3 pick will be a player who can make
everyone else better, and push to take an existing player’s
”The best guys will be on the floor,” Corbin said.
Analysts believe Kentucky guard Brandon Knight would be a good
pick at No. 3.
Ryan Blake, a scout who provides information to NBA teams,
predicted a ”beauty-is-in-the-eye of-the-beholder” choice between
Knight and UConn’s Kemba Walker if the Jazz decide to go after a
The Jazz also could go after a big man with Mehmet Okur’s health
status uncertain, Kyrylo Fesenko a free agent, and 6-10 Al
Jefferson still searching for consistency.
Having a second pick at No. 12 also will give the Jazz some
leverage to make a trade, and fuel plenty of Jimmer Fredette talk
over the next five weeks.
Asked how many times he expects to hear Fredette’s name
mentioned for that No. 12 selection, Corbin quickly interjected,
”How many more times?”
Corbin said the BYU star and consensus national player of the
year had a tremendous season, worked hard to get better and
deserves all the accolades he received.
He looks forward to seeing how Fredette performs in Chicago
since analysts are so divided on how successful the 6-2 shooter
will be at the next level.
”He’s a local kid that’s going to create a lot of excitement
around here,” Corbin said of Fredette, projected as high as No. 7
or falling to No. 20. ”And to get a chance to see him against the
other guys in Chicago … will be good.”
The Jazz also expect to bring Fredette and other top prospects
to Salt Lake City for team workouts in the next few weeks.
For now, general manager Kevin O’Connor was celebrating a
lottery drawing that vaulted Utah up three spots to No. 3. He
called it Utah’s best lottery-related luck in 25 years.
”We better not screw it up,” said O’Connor, who admitted being
a little nervous owning two picks in the top 12. ”We rolled the
dice on trading an All-Star and now we’ve got to produce.”
Corbin said the pressure is on him because a team such as the
Oklahoma Thunder – then the Seattle SuperSonics – got better
quickly by taking Kevin Durant No. 2 overall in 2007.
That draft only shows how critical it is to make the right
choice. Portland used the No. 1 pick on Ohio State’s 7-footer Greg
Oden in 2007, but his career has been marred by injury.
”The pressure’s on, but that’s OK,” O’Connor said. ”That’s
why you’re in this business.”