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Utah Jazz put free agent hopefuls through paces

Published June 11, 2014 2:41 pm

NBA • Twenty-six players were invited to team's mini-camp.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

The Jazz are looking for the next Danny Green, the second coming of Chris Andersen.

That is, the Jazz are looking for the next NBA player who's had to work his way through the D-League or overseas leagues in order to make the big time, like Green has for the San Antonio Spurs or Anderson has for the Miami Heat.

Utah on Wednesday opened a free-agent mini-camp at its practice facility that runs through Thursday. Of the 26 players invited, some will emerge as candidates for Utah's summer league team next month, or even for Jazz's new D-League affiliate in Boise.

"Last year, when we held this camp for the first time, five guys who came to the camp made the NBA," said Dave Fredman, Jazz director of pro player personnel "So we told the agents and the players that there is a ton of opportunity here. Some of the guys have played in the NBA last year, some played overseas. But we're looking for a guy like Green and Andersen, guys who are currently playing in the finals."

The camp features three players with local ties: Jason Washburn and Carlon Brown both played at Utah, with Brown later transferring to Colorado and leading the Buffaloes to a Pac-12 tournament title. Point guard Nick Covington played at Weber State and was in Turkey last season.

In the scrimmage portion, Washburn looked aggressive offensively, making 18-foot jumpers and hook shots in the paint. Brown flashed his athleticism, scoring on the fast break and getting to the rim off the dribble.

There is a variety to the prospects in attendance. People like Darius Morris, Orlando Brown and Tyler Honeycutt were once high-profile draft picks, and are trying to play their way back into the league. Players such as Brock Motum and Scott Suggs could be recognizable names to locals as Pac-12 guys who competed against the Utah Utes over the past three seasons.

"It's been quite a financial commitment by the Miller family to allow us to look at so many players at one time," Fredman said. "A lot of teams are doing this, but we feel like we have the most opportunity. So this has been an easy sell to the agents."

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