Top five likely draft picks for Utah Jazz at No. 5
The Utah Jazz now know where they will draft ... most likely. The Jazz grabbed the No. 5 pick in next month's NBA draft. So unless there's a trade, here are the five most likely draft picks, in order of likeliness, for the Jazz.
Noah Vonleh, Indiana, 6-10, PF
Why the Jazz may draft him • Vonleh has arguably the most upside out of any of the elite big men in this draft, other than Kansas center Joel Embiid. He's skilled on the block, can rebound, block shots and has elite size and athleticism. If the Jazz had their way, Dante Exum would be their selection, relative to their draft position. But Exum probably will be gone by the fourth pick. Vonleh would be the selection, and immediately would create a logjam in the frontcourt.
Julius Randle, Kentucky, 6-9, PF
Why the Jazz may draft him • Simply put, Randle is relentless in the paint. He reminds many of a young, more athletic Zach Randolph, and looks like a lock to average 18 points and 10 rebounds per game one day. Is a back-to-the-basket scorer or a face-up guy as well, which would fit in well with Derrick Favors in the frontcourt. It's likely the Jazz will choose between Randle and Vonleh. How each works out and interviews with the team probably will tell the tale.
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, 6-3, PG
Why the Jazz may draft him • Yes, Utah has Trey Burke. But if Smart comes in and wows at a workout, the Jazz may take him anyway. He's completely different from Burke a bulldog at the point who can get into the lane and score and has the chance to be a defensive stopper. Plus Smart is a winner. He has won at every level and is probably the most competitive player in the draft. Had he left Oklahoma State last year as a freshman, he would've been a top three selection. The fact that he's the third player on this list at No. 5 shows just how deep and talented this draft is.
Aaron Gordon, Arizona, 6-9, PF/SF
Why the Jazz may draft him • Is a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. Except that he's an elite athlete and has the chance to be an elite defender. Gordon has to refine his skill set and find himself a definitive position. But he's another one who can work his way up through the draft with good workouts and interviews. Utah Utes fans know Gordon well. He tormented Utah in his one season with the Wildcats.
Dante Exum, Australia, 6-6, PG/SG
Why the Jazz may draft him • Utah would jump at the opportunity to take him. Unfortunately, it's going to take a little bit of luck to get him. It could happen. One of the first four could impress and make his way into the top four. In that case, Exum could slide to the Jazz. He has the potential to be an elite point guard.
Photos: The Associated Press