The Utah Jazz were defined this past season by having players who could play multiple positions. It’s part of what general manager Dennis Lindsey and coach Quin Snyder envision around star center Rudy Gobert.
It also explains Utah’s interest in Troy Brown.
The freshman from Oregon is one of the youngest players in the draft at 18 years-old. But he’s a 6-foot-7 do-everything type who can play anywhere from point guard to small forward. He’s one of the better athletes in the draft, and holds significant upside.
FRIDAY’S JAZZ WORKOUT
• Troy Brown is considered a candidate for the Jazz with the No. 21 pick.
• Moritz Wagner worked out for the Jazz last season, before returning to school. He led Michigan to the national title game, where it lost to Villanova.
• Jevon Carter is considered one of the best perimeter defenders in the draft
On a roster built on the perimeter around players like Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum and Royce O’Neale, Brown is shaping up as a prime candidate for the Jazz, who have the No. 21 pick in the draft.
“I just wanted to show that I’m more of a playmaker and that I can score the ball and shoot the ball,” Brown said. “I wanted to show that I can play the game the right way. I want to be able to do everything on the floor. I want to be a two-way player. Just being versatile is important to me.”
Friday’s Jazz workout group was arguably the deepest and most talented of the current draft cycle. Brown is a near lock to be drafted in the first round, and sources say his camp is optimistic that he could be selected even before the Jazz pick.
Friday’s other participants? West Virginia point guard Jevon Carter is arguably the best defensive floor leader in the draft. Michigan’s Moritz Wagner worked out for the Jazz last spring as an underclassman. On Friday, Jazz VP of Player Personnel Walt Perrin lauded Wagner for his improvement over the course of the year.
University of Kansas shooting guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk played four years for the Jayhawks, but is still just 20 years old. Malik Newman and Yante Maten, from Kansas and Georgia respectively, also attended.
The depth and talent made for a competitive workout. It gave the Jazz a chance to see how adept Brown was at making plays for himself and others. Perrin complimented most of the group for its collective shooting ability.
“The workout was good,” Perrin said. “There was good talent here. The intensity was very good. The players responded very well.”
Many of the players in attendance caught Perrin’s attention. He said Wagner has a better understanding of the process, having gone through it last year. Wagner has long been known for his offensive talent, but Perrin said he played well defensively.
Perrin called Carter a bulldog defensively, with his shooting an added bonus. Maten displayed ability as a stretch power forward. And Newman showcased his all-around scoring acumen.
But Brown was clearly the player to watch from the workout, and one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft. He’s not a threat to crack the top 10 in what is a loaded field. But his athleticism, his size for the position, his ability to defend and his age make him a prospect with significant upside.
If the Jazz can walk away with that kind of player with the No. 21 pick, it could pay dividends down the road. But shooting the ball with range is a legitimate concern.
He shot poorly from 3-point range in his one season at Oregon. But he also shot 75 percent from the free-throw line, which scouts always use as a baseline to tell if a guy can improve his overall shooting.
Brown also came into the workout in great shape, measuring at 6.5 percent body fat. And he wants to play point guard when he matriculates to the NBA.
“One of the biggest things for me is shooting,” Brown said. “A lot of teams say that the tools are there. I’m in the gym working every day on that, and hopefully I proved today that I can shoot it.”
JAZZ WORKOUT PARTICIPANTS
• Troy Brown, 6-7 guard, Oregon
• Jevon Carter, 6-2 guard, West Virginia
• Yante Maten, 6-8 power forward, Georgia
• Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, 6-8 shooting guard, Kansas
• Malik Newman, 6-3 shooting guard, Kansas
• Moritz Wagner, 6-11 center, Michigan