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Before the pandemic, Utah Jazz draft workout media availabilities had become somewhat of a tradition.
The day before a workout, the Jazz would typically announce that they had six draftable players coming in for a workout the next morning. The media would arrive at the Jazz’s practice facility, wait for those workouts to complete behind closed doors, and then interview most of the prospects who came in the door — surround them with microphones and cameras, trying to get to know them and their games. Former vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin would field questions about the workout and the players that participated, and he’d give not-too-revealing answers about what just occurred.
But in the last two shortened offseasons, Jazz workouts have become much more secretive. The team doesn’t announce when they occur or say who will be taking part in them. Perrin has now departed; he’s the assistant general manager of the New York Knicks.
So finding out what has happened this year is a little bit more difficult — but not impossible. Some players post that they’re working out with the Jazz on social media, others tell reporters in other cities that they’ve worked out with Utah. Some information, the team still reveals. Jazz front office sources might not be talking in front of the camera, but some still talk behind the scenes.
Here’s what we know about how the Jazz are approaching workouts for the 30th pick:
• The Jazz have completed seven workouts, the team says, at the Zions Bank Basketball Campus. The seventh was on Thursday.
• These workouts have largely been 3-on-3 affairs, just as they were before the pandemic, meaning that the Jazz have seen roughly 40 players in person in Salt Lake City.
• Draft workouts started for the Jazz while the team was still playing in the playoffs. The first appears to have occurred between Games 2 and 3 of the Jazz’s Western Conference Semifinals series against the Clippers.
• COVID protocols mean that each player that the Jazz work out is tested twice: once on the night before the workout, and once after the workout has been completed (sometimes immediately, sometimes before the player boards his next flight). The first COVID test has to come back negative before the player is allowed to begin participating in the workout, the second tries to mitigate any further spread to other cities.
• The Jazz also held a joint, open workout hosted alongside the Minnesota Timberwolves from July 8-11 in Minneapolis. There, the teams saw 48 players work out during the four-day period; other teams were also invited to the workout.
So, naturally, people want to know who has been included in those workouts, especially the ones in Salt Lake City. Here’s what we know:
• Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland, a scoring guard from VCU that many mock drafts have going in the Jazz’s range, worked out for the Jazz in that early workout during the Clippers series. He’s a scoring guard who can shoot and score from anywhere, but that “Bones” nickname is revealing — he’s quite skinny, and so may struggle defensively in the league. He’s been compared to Jordan Clarkson hundreds of times by now.
• The seventh workout on Thursday, featured guards Quentin Grimes, David Duke, and forward Matt Mitchell among other players, according to The Athletic. Grimes is the pick of the bunch: a former five-star high school recruit that absolutely bombed out at Kansas, as he struggled to make his score-first game fit among a high level of competition. Then, he transferred to Houston, and changed his game, becoming an excellent 3-and-D player by his junior season. Many mock drafts have him slated to be selected early in the second round, but a few have him creeping up into the first round.
• There are conflicting reports about whether Utah State center Neemias Queta has recently interviewed with the Jazz, but he has certainly participated in many NBA workouts. He’s worked out with the Bucks, Suns, Knicks, Raptors, Kings, Sixers, and Hornets, with workouts for the Lakers and Thunder to come. He also participated in a workout with the Jazz in 2019, when he first tested the NBA draft’s waters, and took part in the group workout hosted by the Jazz and Wolves in Minnesota.
• According to Shams Charania, G League Ignite prospect Isaiah Todd canceled workouts with the Jazz and other late first-round teams because he’s focused on lottery teams instead. That was surprising, though, because Todd has not moved his way up in well-sourced mock drafts to the lottery — he’s still considered a lower pick.
• Before scoring 17 points for team Nigeria in an upset exhibition win over the USA, 26-year-old Caleb Agada worked out for the Jazz as a free agent — not as a potential draft selection. Still, Agada interested teams with his abilities, including as the leading scorer in the quality Israeli league. He’s slated to play in summer league with the Denver Nuggets.
• The Jazz have worked out a number of players who are on the fringe of the second round, despite not having a second-round pick — perhaps the team is looking to buy one, or just interested in getting their favorite undrafted free agents. Among those players: Seton Hall Sandro Mamukelashvili, South Carolina AJ Lawson, San Diego State guard Jordan Schakel, Georgia Tech’s Jose Alvarado, Georgetown’s JaMorko Pickett, LSU’s Trendon Watford, Notre Dame’s John Mooney, and Houston’s DeJon Jarreau.
• At the joint workout in Minnesota, according to DraftExpress: Derrick Alston, Alvarado, Vrenz Bleijenbergh, Julian Champagnie, Matt Coleman, Jalen Crutcher, Ibou Badji, Marcus Garrett, Luka Garza, Raiquan Gray, Sam Hauser, Aaron Henry, Jay Huff, Jarreau, Lawson, Scottie Lewis, Mamukelashvili, JaQuori McLaughlin, Isaiah Miller, Mitchell, Mario Nakic, Daishen Nix, Eugene Omoruyi, EJ Onu, John Petty, Queta, Colbey Ross, Schakel, Aamir Simms, Jericho Sims, JaVonte Smart, DJ Steward, Amar Sylla, Macio Teague, Ethan Thompson, Aaron Wiggins, McKinley Wright, Moses Wright, and Marcus Zegarowski.