The Utah Jazz’s draft night was a huge success, unless it was a huge disappointment

Disappointment? Joy? Despair? Pleasure? Horror? Foaming up? Dauber down? Daubers around?

You decide.

This much is certain: The Jazz’s hard-earned — after trading away a perennial playoff roster to acquire it — perennial draft-pick palooza has begun, it’s just that the 2023 first-round party lacked a whole lot of wildness or craziness .

There was absolutely no shock at the start of Thursday night’s NBA draft, just commissioner Adam Silver ranting along with advertising blah-blah-blah before pronouncing the first pick of San Antonio as … Victor Wembanyama.

No one saw it coming. Nix. No way. Yes way.

The kid with the size, length, maturity, skill and productivity, the young French sensation who teams dropped games like hot rocks throughout the regular season just to get a shot at, and the one with a thousand accolades thrown at him now, was what everyone thought he would be – a Spur at No. 1.

Yes sure. But what would Jazz do?

They would sit close and wait. Wait their turn, don’t butt in line.

Waiting … Brandon Miller went to Charlotte … waiting … Scoot Henderson was taken by Portland … waiting … Amen Thompson left for Houston … waiting … Ausar Thompson selected by Detroit … waiting … Orlando took Anthony Black … waiting … Bilal Coulibaly selected by Indiana, traded to Washington … wait … Washington takes Jarace Walker to the Pacers … wait … and … uh-huh, no big Jazz deal was uttered, no transcendent upward move by Danny Ainge to get any of the aforementioned names at the top of the draft, to Grab a prospect with the automatic presumption of being a great difference maker right from the jump.

Instead, the Jazz stayed right where they were and selected Taylor Hendricks at No. 9. They took Keyonte George at No. 16 and Brice Sensabaugh at No. 28, just according to the unmarked script, not a reshuffle in sight.

So what do we do with it, without any future moves?

We pry our eyes open, rattle our brains and guess what the Jazz managed to get, as it was, as it is.

Hendricks, a 6-9 forward with a 7-foot wingspan out of UCF, known as a 3-and-D man, according to rumor, can defend, can switch to defense, protect the rim, rebound, get out in transition, somehow handle the rock, be efficient in the pick-and-roll, drive to the basket and shoot the deep ball.

Many people believe he is ready to contribute at the NBA level, even if he didn’t regularly face the toughest opposition during his freshman season at UCF. Looking good against lesser competition is of course easier. It won’t be easy anymore, not against the biggest of grown men. There are questions among some about Hendricks’ ability to create his own shot. He is a good athlete though. As much as that, he is certainly something the Jazz and their fans have always enjoyed – a busy, diligent player. The child dives for loose balls, fights shots, throws himself back.

On Thursday night, Hendricks said what all the selected players say to the television camera, “[This] took a lot of hard work.” Asked to highlight his top characteristics that got him to this point and will propel him forward, he reiterated, “First and foremost, my effort.” He added, “… The ability to fit in in a bunch of different lineups.” So there’s all that, at least it’s said there’s all that.

What else is being said is that the Jazz are ecstatic about their top pick. They swear it. Check back in a year or two from now.

George, a strong guard from Baylor, can create his own shots and make tough ones. He is also known for taking and missing bad shots, which is what shooters, especially young ones, do all too often. But effectively or ineffectively, the guy can flat out score the ball, play some defense and will likely help the Jazz at some point in the coming years.

Furthermore, he showed a mixture of gratitude and awareness after the Jazz chose him, saying, “This is the best moment of my life,” wisely adding, “… This is just the beginning.”

Sensabaugh is a physical scoring forward out of Ohio State who can catch and shoot, hit from deep, post up and free throw in two-point range after using sweet soap-on-the-rope splash shots and floaters. He prefers to dominate the ball to control his scoring off the dribble and that will be an adjustment he will have to make moving away from it at the professional level. His defense against faster players will be a problem, at least initially.

Another problem is this: A decent amount of what has been written here is guesswork, projections that may accurately describe what has already happened to these players, but may not be so accurate as to what will happen going forward . That’s how a player like Nikola Jokic ends up as the No. 41 overall pick in the draft. Forty picks went by before the guy who became the best player in the world was deemed worthy of being taken. He’s too slow. He’s not athletic enough. He can’t defend. He is being eaten alive in the NBA. Yeah right.

A pre-draft scouting report on Steve Nash once said this: “Not quick … has trouble getting his own shot against quality opponents … sometimes forgets what’s a good shot and what’s not.”

And well, you get the idea. We’ll have to wait and see if the Jazz’s draft night was a disappointment or a delight that brought despair or excitement, whether the daubers — yours and everyone else’s around here — should be up or down.

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