We’ve covered some possibilities of who the Utah Jazz might take in the 2023 NBA draft with their lottery pick at No. 9.
There’s also been analysis of some of the presumed choices at No. 16, plus a first attempt at a full, 30-pick, first-round mock draft.
Now it’s time to take a look at some of the players under consideration for the Jazz’s third pick, which comes in at No. 28.
Here are 12 possibilities, in alphabetical order.
Sidy Cissoko, G League Ignite
The 6-foot-6 Frenchman (with a 6-10 wingspan) is a proven menace as an on-ball defender, and is great in a team construct, too, especially with weakside blocks. Offensively, he’s a secondary playmaker type who’s better at slashing than shooting, though he showed improvement in catch-and-shoot situations throughout the G League season.
Noah Clowney, Alabama
One of the youngest guys in the draft (18), the 6-10 forward is also very thin right now (210 pounds) and didn’t put up eye-popping production with the Tide (9.8 points, 7.9 rebounds). However, he’s got a great frame and room to grow (he has a 7-3 wingspan), and was very switchable as a defender — though his ability to keep in front of guards in the NBA remains to be seen. He shot just 28% from 3, but is said to have good mechanics.
Bilal Coulibaly, Metropolitans 92 (France)
Victor Wembanyama’s teammate in France has been rising up draft boards, and there’s a good chance he’s gone before No. 28 comes around. He can make an instant impact as a defensive wing, as he goes 6-7 with an insane 7-3 wingspan. He brings toughness and smarts. He’s a bit limited as a ball-handler, but he’s a capable offensive player owing to his athleticism, his constant movement off of screens, and a 3-point shot that improved to 35.7% this past season.
Jett Howard, Michigan
Danny Ainge noted that college offenses are generally so bad, the players who can score with some degree of ease really stand out. Howard — the son of longtime NBA forward Juwan Howard — can certainly score. He’s got great size for a wing at 6-8/215, he’s already very familiar with NBA schemes and actions, and he shot just under 37% from 3. Problem is, while he’s a willing defender, he’s simply very bad at it, owing to a lack of lateral quickness.
Andre Jackson, Connecticut
He’s right there on the fringes of late-first round/early-second round, but was a guy the Jazz have enough interest in to be on their interview request list at the combine in Chicago. He was a connective piece for UConn en route to its title run — he didn’t score a ton (just 6.7 points) and isn’t much of a shooter (28.1% from deep), but he was an unselfish ball-mover (4.7 assists) and a defensive pest. He measured in around 6-6/198, with a 6-10 wingspan, and is a very good athlete.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
While it may seem counterintuitive to draft a center given Walker Kessler’s stellar rookie season, the team will, in fact, need more bigs. Though TJD is only 6-8, he’s a drop-big/post-scoring center through and through. Still, his impressive athleticism makes him an effective rim-runner, an imposing shot-blocker (he averaged 2.9 per game), and gives perhaps some indication of his ability to be a switchable defender.
Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA
He did a bit of everything for the Bruins over the course of four seasons. He’s already a positively ancient 22 years old, and only shot 31.7% from deep last year, so, that’s not ideal. But he’s got great footwork, nice size for a wing (6-6, with a 6-10 wingspan), tested waaaay better than expected athletically at the combine, and just has a knack for making the right pass and for being in the right place at the right time defensively.
Colby Jones, Xavier
A 6-5, 200-pound wing, Jones did a lot of smart things on the court this past season. He averaged 15.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists, while shooting 50.9% overall and 37.8% from deep. He’s a good ball-handler, solid play-maker, and a smart, aggressive defender of point guards and wings, thanks to a 7-3 wingspan. He is not particularly gifted athletically, and while he hit 42% of his spot-up 3s this year, he was pretty bad on those the past two years, and has never been a particularly consistent free-throw shooter.
Bobi Klintman, Wake Forest
With him pulling out the combine, there became speculation that some team had made him a first-round promise. In recent days, there’s been a rumor that the team is the Pacers, who have three first-round picks, including at Nos. 26 and 29. Why the fuss over a guy who averaged 5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds? Well, the Swedish native is a 6-10/235-pound wing with legit guard skills.
Maxwell Lewis, Pepperdine
Like Howard, he showed incredibly prodigious scoring skills at times, which makes him intriguing. A 6-6, 207-pound wing, he was particularly effective in the season’s first half, before opposing defenses started sending extra waves of defenders his way, and his efficiency took a nosedive while his turnovers ballooned. Still, he averaged 17.1 points and 5.6 boards for the season. He was only at 34.8% from deep, but is a good FT shooter. Defensively, there’s not a ton there to impress, but he does have a 7-foot wingspan.
James Nnaji, Barcelona
Another big man, he goes 6-10/225, but has a bonkers wingspan somewhere between 7-5 and 7-7, depending on where you read it. Not yet 19, he hasn’t played a ton of minutes in either Liga ACB in Spain or the EuroLeague, so he’s very much a developmental project. But he’s an incredible leaper, and has shown great rim-protecting prowess. He’s strong in the post and already a good screener. On the downside, he’s very mistake-prone right now, hasn’t shown much offensively away from the basket, and is awful at the stripe.
Rayan Rupert, New Zealand Breakers
So first, the bad news: His offensive game is fairly limited, as he averaged only 6.8 points and shot just 31.3% from deep playing in the Australian NBL this season. He also tended to shy away from contact. The good news? He’s a 6-6 wing with a 7-2 wingspan, and he has the skills and motor and smarts to be a lockdown defender. Also, there are some encouraging signs offensively, as he’s been a pretty decent secondary ballhandler, a legitimately good passer, and he moves well without the ball on timely cuts to the hoop.
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