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Aaron Falk, Tony Jones and Steve Luhm cover the Utah Jazz and the NBA for The Salt Lake Tribune. The Tribune on Twitter - Aaron Falk: @tribjazz, Steve Luhm: @sluhm, Tony Jones: @Tjonessltrib

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Jazz 'struggling' to move into first round of 2012 NBA Draft

The Jazz have thus far been unsuccessful as they've attempted to move into the early first round of the 2012 NBA Draft. Utah has long eyed a lottery position after watching Golden State keep its 2012 pick, and the Jazz have spent the last several days trying to move up. During the past 24 hours, though, the Jazz have been described as "struggling" and having little "hope" of obtaining a lottery pick.

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If the Jazz stay at No. 47 overall, Iona point guard Scott Machado and Missouri shooting guard/small forward Kim English will receive hard looks if they're still on the board. Both participated in predraft workouts with Utah and continue to draw interest from the organization. Machado is a pass-first point guard, while English is an athletic scorer who averaged 14.5 points during his senior season with the Tigers, shooting 52.1 percent from the field and 45.9 percent behind the 3-point line.

The Jazz could also take the draft-and-stash route at 47, selecting a European player who still needs time to develop. Rich Sheubrooks, Jazz executive director of global and pro scouting, is well respected by Utah General Manager Kevin O'Connor and the Jazz's knowledge of international prospects has only deepened since Sheubrooks was hired.

As for trading starters Paul Millsap, Devin Harris and Al Jefferson — all of whom will hold expiring contracts beginning Sunday — Utah refuses to undersell. The Jazz's Big Three will continue to hold trade value throughout the 2012-13 season, and Utah still has several stages of the year to move them if the organization wants to.

Elsewhere, the Portland Trail Blazers are eyeing Weber State's Damian Lillard and Syracuse's Dion Waiters at No. 6, with a hard lean toward Lillard. The Blazers also hold the No. 11 overall selection, but don't want to watch Lillard taken by Toronto at No. 8. Waiters has reportedly received interest from Cleveland at No. 4, but his draft value has been hyped during the past 24 hours as selection day has approached.

Brian T. Smith

Twitter: @tribjazz

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