The Utah Jazz 2014 NBA draft plans are not extremely difficult to figure out. It is rare to see an NBA mock draft that doesn’t have the Utah Jazz selecting either Julius Randle or Aaron Gordon with the fifth overall pick. The Jazz will go for size and talent in this year’s draft, but who they pick may not be the slam dunk everyone has been thinking.
After the announcement that the Utah Jazz will hire Quin Snyder to be their next head coach, the organization can now turn their attention firmly to Thursdays draft. Snyder has a big task next season, turning around a team that struggled in the West. The Utah Jazz finished the season with a 25-57 record and struggled mightily to score. The Jazz need talent in the middle and they need it bad.
Trey Burke turned out to be an excellent pick for the Utah Jazz in last year’s draft, giving the team depth in the backcourt. In fact, Marcus Smart refused to work out for the Utah Jazz, presumably because he knows the team is not in need of his services as a point guard. With Enes Kanter being the only surefire returning big man for the Jazz, the team needs to draft big.
Julius Randle worked out for the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, June 18. The team was absolutely impressed with his athleticism and he managed to put to rest all of the concerns about lingering foot problems. In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Jazz Vice President of Player Personnel Walt Perrin said of Randle, “He has an extremely high motor. He’s a lot stronger than I think he even realizes. He’s got big upside.”
Some draft analysts don’t think Randle is a good fit for the Utah Jazz, especially with Derrick Favors on the roster. Favors signed a four year extension last fall and isn’t going anywhere. Favors averaged 8.7 rebounds per game and showed the ability to be a starter in the NBA. Randle’s game is very similar. This has led many to suggest that Aaron Gordon, an explosive forward, would be a better fit. But there is one player who may surprise everyone on draft night.
The Utah Jazz could be looking at Indiana Hoosiers big man Noah Vonleh. Vonleh is a special player in this year’s draft because of his shooting touch. He showed the ability to knock down jumpers consistently and is a big defensive presence. Vonleh can play a stretch four position for the Jazz, while providing an intimidating defensive presence. Also, he could be paired with Favors for a good change of pace at the power forward position.
While it is almost a foregone conclusion that the Utah Jazz will take a forward in this year’s draft, the question of who will be on everyone’s minds until Thursday night. Do not be surprised to see Noah Vonleh’s name called ahead of Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon.
[Image via Veooz.com]