Prospects Anthony Black, Gradey Dick, Keyonte George and Taylor Hendricks are among the projected lottery picks who have reportedly worked out for the Jazz.
The Utah Jazz own three first-round picks in Thursday’s NBA draft.
Will they keep them all? Or are you looking to make a move?
Here’s the latest reporting on the Jazz with the draft just a day away.
Jazz aggressive in trade talks
By almost every major national reporter’s account, the Jazz are active on the trade market ahead of Thursday’s draft.
Jake Fischer at Yahoo! Sports writes that the Jazz have “been in contact” with the Detroit Pistons (who own No. 5) and the Indiana Pacers (who own No. 7). The report indicates the Jazz are trying to move up No. 8, rival teams believe, to ensure they have a chance to select guard prospect Anthony Black. The Wizards, who own the eighth pick, are reportedly interested in the Arkansas guard.
To aid that trade — or potentially others — the Jazz have “made guard Collin Sexton available,” Fischer says. Sexton, the Jazz’s 24-year-old point guard acquired in the Donovan Mitchell trade, played in 48 games last season — though he might have played more had the Jazz not tried to lose games in March and April. He has three years remaining on a four-year, $72 million contract the Jazz agreed to when they traded for him last summer.
Yahoo! the reporter isn’t the only analyst floating the idea of the Jazz trading to No. 5 with the Pistons. As ESPN’s Jonathan Givony pointed out, Detroit made a trade last season to acquire both Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren in the lottery, and there’s a case for Detroit to get two prospects out of the draft, sending No. 5 to the Jazz’s pick at No. .9 and No. 16.
But ESPN also had other ideas. As Givony and new ESPN reporter Jeremy Woo wrote“Sources told ESPN that the Jazz are exploring many different options on draft night, including packaging their first two picks to move up in the lottery (possibly to Nos. 5, 6 or 7), or using their last two first-rounders and taking on a contract from a team like Dallas for Davis Bertans.” The latter concept would give the Jazz two lottery prospects at likely two different positions, including one selected with Dallas’ No. 10 pick, to start year two of their rebuild.
Who might the Jazz pick?
The Jazz, in a new policy this season, have not announced the players they are working out in this year’s draft class. Typically, they announce the players and allow the media to interview those players after the draft, but team managers Danny Ainge and Justin Zanik decided to break away from that tradition this year in the name of competitive advantage.
But still, eagle-eyed social media watchers have been tracking which prospects have posted their trips to Salt Lake City on Instagram, or seen their comments with other media outlets about their workouts. Especially Zack Podmore’s “2023 Utah Jazz Draft Workout Tracker” is a real asset here. The first-round prospects the Jazz are likely to have dealt, according to Podmore, include Anthony Black, Gradey Dick, Keyonte George, Taylor Hendricks, Colby Jones, Maxwell Lewis, Jarace Walker, Cason Wallace and Cam Whitmore.
ESPN’s latest report indicated that the Jazz have “been linked to Walker for much of the pre-draft process,” but also noted that “they would likely have to move up past Indiana to get him,” given The Pacers’ apparent interest in taking either Walker or Hendricks is available.
In addition to No. 9, ESPN also linked Michigan’s Kobe Bufkin to the Jazz, along with the possibility that the team could take Baylor’s Keyonte George at No. 16.
One reporter who focused on the draft was NBA Big Board’s Rafael Barlowe first to report that the Jazz are interested in Bilal Coulibaly – among other things with selection No. 9. ESPN reported that same Tuesday. It would be an earlier-than-expected pick for France teammate Victor Wembanyama at the Metropolitan’s 92, but Coulibaly is considered to have a high ceiling on his potential thanks to his immense length (a 7-foot-3 wingspan, while standing at 6 -foot- 8) and general athletics.
Finally, some online oddsmakers provide odds for the most likely pick with pick #9. BetOnline.ag indicates that Hendricks is the most likely pick at No. 9, with 22% implied odds to land there. Black is second most likely at 18% implied odds followed by Dick, Coulibaly, Ausar Thompson, Cason Wallace, Jalen Hood-Schifino and Jarace Walker in that order.