The Utah Jazz went into yesterday’s NBA draft with Trey Lyles and the 24th, 30th, 42nd, and 55th picks. They walked away with Louisville 6’3″ shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, UNC 6’10” center Tony Bradley, and maybe on a thumbs-up from John Stockton, Gonzaga 6’4″ point guard Nigel Williams-Goss.
Mitchell is a good two-way player, capable of getting hot from outside, but he prides himself on perimeter defense. If his 6’3″ height raises eyebrows, just remember his 6’10” wingspan makes him longer than George Hill and Dante Exum. He was one of the best steals guys in college. He also is legitimately excited to come to Utah. They were his first pre-draft workout and he came away impressed with the organization. Rookies are happy to go anywhere for an NBA job, but few lottery picks get to go to a 51-win team where they know they can fill a need.
Bradley’s strength is as an offensive rebounder (not so much defensive rebounder). He doesn’t have elite athleticism, but he’s mobile, has a strong body, and he’s a decent low-post finisher. This feels like a hopeful upgrade over Jeff Withey. His 7’5″ wingspan will get him some blocks and altered shots.
Nigel Williams-Goss is an older point guard, good at what he does. Decent height (6’4″) for the position, but I don’t have much more faith in him making the roster than I did for Marcus Paige and Ty Wallace last year. Should get a lot of minutes in the D-League.
The Jazz also still have about $13 million in cap space to play with before July 1, so another trade could be happening.
Some of the other headline of draft night:
– Minnesota landed Jimmy Butler and the 16th pick for Kris Dunn, Zach Lavine, and the 7th pick. It was one of those trades where when you see how little the Bulls got back, there must be 12 other teams going ‘Well, heck, we would have offered more than that!” The T-Wolves will aggressively seek outside shooters in free agency, and who wouldn’t want to be the shooter with Rubio, Wiggins, Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns as the other four guys on the floor? This instantly makes Minnesota a playoff team, and the West just got tougher. At this point, the Jazz have to hope Rubio isn’t traded to another team. They’d become an instant suitor for George Hill.
– But if Rubio stays, the free agent market for point guards doesn’t look great, which is good news for Jazz fans who want to keep Hill.
– Boston failed to trade for Butler or Paul George. Both sides are motivated to get something done, but Boston’s actually in the stronger bargaining position because Indiana knows that PG-13 will not re-sign with the team next year. They need some assets for him. Boston may gamble and wait until July to sign Gordon Hayward. If Hayward stays with Utah, suddenly Boston is in a weaker position. Are they going to use all of those assets or not?
– Philadelphia got Markelle Fultz. They now have Fultz, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, and a ton of cap space. Trust the process.
– Sacramento could have signed De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, but they went for potential by taking Fox but trading down to get Justin Jackson and Harry Giles. The Kings suddenly look like a much more promising team now that the DMC experiment is over. They’ll be back in the lottery next year, but Fox looks like a star.