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Utah Jazz will get close look at some top prospects at combine

Published May 14, 2014 10:23 pm

However, Wiggins, Parker and Embiid will not be at the pre-draft event.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

They're at the top of every NBA Draft list, except for one.

The college basketball stars expected to be taken with the first three picks this June have removed their names from the list of participants at this week's pre-draft combine in Chicago.

That means the Jazz won't get Jabari Parker's measurements.

They won't get to examine Joel Embiid's back.

They won't get to sit down and interview Andrew Wiggins.

But general manager Dennis Lindsey says that shouldn't leave the franchise with a draft-day blind spot as front office leaders prepare for one of the biggest drafts in team history.

"We've been building a profile on all the best players over multiple years," he said, "in anticipation of things happening and not being able to get guys in for workouts or them not showing up in Chicago."

The combine, a four-day evaluation of some of the game's best prospects, is a key piece in a team's draft preparation. Sixty players, including Australian guard Dante Exum, Kentucky forward Julius Randle and Arizona forward Aaron Gordon, will be in attendance.

And after next week's draft lottery, the Jazz will have a better idea of who might be available for them in June. Utah finished the season with the fourth-worst record — and therefore the fourth-best chance of landing the top overall pick. But the Jazz could end up anywhere between No. 1 and No. 7.

Depending on how the ping-pong balls bounce, the Jazz could be able to convince Parker, Wiggins or Embiid to visit Salt Lake City for workouts this summer.

"We hope so," Jazz vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin said last week. "If we're at No. 1, we'll get everybody in that we want."

If not, the Jazz should still be prepared.

"We try to do a lot of our background early," Perrin said. "We have our scouts do a lot of background in October and November. We've looked at a lot of different people. And, of course, the more money we have to spend [on a player], the more intel we try to get."

Last year, point guard Trey Burke did not work out individually for the Jazz, who owned the No. 14 pick. But the Jazz front office, after evaluating and interviewing Burke at the combine, pulled the trigger on a trade to move up and grab the Michigan star.

"You have to make decisions, and sometimes decisions are made where you have the full complement of information and sometimes you have to make decisions on a partial set of information," Lindsey said. "For example, many times, European players are just not as available to us. In those decisions, many times, it's more of a pure scouting decision."

The team also owns the No. 23 and No. 35 picks — a range in which combine participants such as UCLA's Jordan Adams, Baylor's Isaiah Austin and Wichita State's Cleanthony Early, to name a few, are projected to be taken — making this week's evaluation valuable for Lindsey and company.

"It's an important piece of the puzzle for us," he said.

afalk@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz Also attending • Australian international product Dante Exum, who is not pictured.

Not attending • The stars who could be the first three off the board at the June 26 NBA Draft — Duke's Jabari Parker and Kansas' Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid — won't be participating in this week's pre-draft combine.

Associated Press file photos —

NBA Draft-related coverage on TV

P NBA Draft Combine • Thursday, 8 a.m.-11 a.m., ESPNU; 11 a.m.-2 p.m., ESPN2

• Friday, 8 a.m.-11 a.m., ESPNU; 11 a.m.-2 p.m., ESPN2

NBA Draft Lottery • Tuesday, 6 p.m., ESPN

NBA Draft • Thursday, June 26, 5 p.m., ESPN