The Jazz’s first predraft workouts took place back on May 4. Barring something unforeseen, they wrapped up on Saturday — five days before the NBA draft — with 12 more prospects getting a look.
Vice President of Player Personnel Walt Perrin said that while the process wasn’t completely perfect, he was more or less pleased with how things went.
“I’m fairly satisfied with the people we got in. We had two guys who had to cancel today because of injuries that I would have loved to have seen in the gym,” he said. “There’s probably some guys who will slide in the draft that we didn’t get in that we thought we should have gotten in. But for the most part, I thought we got in players who we wanted.”
As for Saturday’s final dozen, there was a guy with the local connection, in former University of Utah and Weber State forward Brekkott Chapman. There was also a guy with a tangential would-be local connection in Terry Harris — younger brother of max-level free agent Tobias Harris.
And there were also three legitimately draftable prospects at the Zions Bank Basketball Campus, in Maryland big man Bruno Fernando, and Iowa State and Arizona State wings Talen Horton-Tucker and Luguentz Dort, respectively.
Fernando has been mocked everywhere from the late lottery to the middle of the second round. The 6-foot-10, 240-pounder averaged 13.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.0 assists as a sophomore for the Terrapins. He also attempted only 13 total 3-pointers in his two years there.
And while Perrin expressed belief in his ability to both develop an outside shot and play the four (noting he was a small forward in high school and citing his mobility), the Jazz executive pretty much discounted the latter and said that, if the former happened, it would take some time.
“He’s a five. … [His deep-shooting prowess] is to be determined,” Perrin said. “That’s one of the things we looked at in this workout. He did show the ability to, in time, probably be a fairly good 3-point shooter from the corner.”
Fernando still is set to be the first player born in Angola ever to be drafted. And he is excited about the growing possibility of his family members making their first trip to the United States to be with him for the draft.
“My dad and my brother pretty much got their stuff done. My mom is running a little bit late on some stuff for the embassy,” he said. “So hopefully she can get it done and be able to make it over here.”
Horton-Tucker (6-4, 233) had an uneven season with the Cyclones, but is probably thought to have more upside than anyone else in the building on Saturday. He averaged 11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists while often playing out of position as a three. However, he shot only 40.6% overall and 30.8% from deep. Still, considering he won’t turn 19 years old until Nov. 25, he has plenty of room to grow.
Perrin said he showed off good ballhandling as well as an ability to create shots off the dribble, but added that the shooting would definitely have to improve, and that his body needs to get leaner.
“He’s one of the youngest players in this draft, so he’s got a long time where he can get better,” Perrin added.
Dort, meanwhile, is considered a late-first- to mid-second-rounder (though he claimed intel from both teams and his agents have him convinced he’s solidly among the first 30). As a freshman with the Sun Devils, he averaged 16.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists.
Like Horton-Tucker, though, he was an inefficient shooter — just 40.5% from the field and 30.7% from deep. He did make the Pac-12’s All-Defensive Team and is thought likely to have more impact on that end in the NBA than on offense, at least initially.
As for Chapman, the Jazz were his third workout in as many days (he previously was in Phoenix and Oklahoma City). The former All-American at Roy High School who went on to play two years apiece for both the Utes and Wildcats was still in a bit of disbelief at getting to put on a Jazz jersey, even if only for a day.
“I was just talking about that on the way over here. I remember coming to a game where Sundiata Gaines hit that game-winner years back and whatnot, and I remember just being so excited to be there,” Chapman said. “To get a chance to work out for the team now, it’s just crazy. It’s a blessing.”
He won’t be the team’s selection with either its 23rd or 53rd pick. Still, Perrin is convinced that if the Jazz stay put in the first round, they’ll come away with a player who can make the team better.
“I thought at the beginning of the year it wouldn’t be a very good draft. I think I’m gonna be proven wrong on that one,” he said. “I think there’s some good players that could go even in the second round.”