For Utah Jazz fans, this season should be interesting to say the least. To begin with, the Jazz have one of the most exciting rookies inTrey Burke, who will have the opportunity to lead the franchise into a new era. Additionally, the team has finally let go of veteran bigs Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, allowing Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors to step into starting roles. Throw in continued development of young rotation players Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks, and there are a lot of fun factors this season.
Realistically, however, not many people out there are expecting this Utah team to make the playoffs, and given how young the team is, as well as its relevant lack of depth, the concerns are understandable. The popular sports site Grantland, in its rundown of NBA previews, just ranked the Jazz 27th in the league; At Betfair, an online casino with a dynamic set of NBA gambling opportunities, the Jazz are tied with several other teams with the worst odds to win the West. The site also provides NBA championship odds, where the Jazz are listed as an 80/1 long shot.
All of this is to say, despite some exciting developments with the team, Utah will likely be a lottery team again in 2014. So here are our top 5 potential 2014 prospects to keep an eye on.
5. Marcus Smart
Drafting a PG for a second straight year would be a strange choice, but with John Lucas III slated as the backup in Utah, the position could use a bit more depth. The Jazz could end up in a situation like the Clippers were recently in with Chris Paul starting over Eric Bledsoe, and end up with an excellent trade chip in whichever player between Burke and Smart is backup.
4. Wayne Selden
There’s a lack of great shooters in the loaded 2014 draft class, but Selden might be the best fit for the NBA SG position. This is another area where the Jazz lack depth, and Selden is an NBA-ready player with a strong playing style and promising shot.
3. Jabari Parker
Parker has indicated he may stay at Duke beyond his freshman season, but if he does come out he’d be a great fit for any team. The Jazz are deepest at the 3, where Parker will play, but he’s skilled enough to immediately supplant Hayward and make an immediate impact.
2. Julius Randle
Randle is an extremely powerful player poised for a monster freshman season at Kentucky. He’d provide much-needed depth at the PF position, and the Jazz lack impact bigs on the bench.
1. Andrew Wiggins
Like Parker, Wiggins will likely be playing SF, where the Jazz arguably have the least need. But Richard Jefferson will be aging out, Marvin Williams seems to have hit his ceiling, and Hayward just can’t do what Wiggins can on the court. This isn’t the type of player you pass up on if you get the chance to draft him.