Who could the Utah Jazz draft at No. 10? Here are 5 possibilities.

The team currently holds three first-round picks.

We are now less than two weeks away from the NBA Draft, which means we are entering a critical time for the Utah Jazz.

In April, general manager Justin Zanik told the media he wanted to improve the roster during the offseason. In exit interviews at the end of the regular season, Jazz executive Danny Ainge repeated what Zanik said.

The Jazz are certainly in a mode of trying to improve their team over the next month, whether it be through the upcoming draft, free agency or the trade market. The key is that Utah is equipped to pursue improvement through all three avenues. The Jazz will have ample cap space this summer. They have three of the first 32 picks in the draft, starting at No. 10. They have so many future assets that a trade should be light work, if, indeed, that’s the option that presents itself.

However, one question is: How much can Utah improve relative to the Western Conference? Another question: Should the Jazz want to improve, considering the talent and the depth of the 2025 NBA Draft class? On paper, that group is shaping up to be one of the greatest classes we have seen in recent memory.

If you are a Jazz fan, what should you expect? The answer should be anything. This is a roster that could experience significant turnover, but it’s a roster that’s headlined by star forward Lauri Markkanen, big man Walker Kessler, quicksilver guard Collin Sexton and the three rising second-year players in Keyonte George, Taylor Hendricks and Brice Sensabaugh. Sixth-man extraordinaire Jordan Clarkson and John Collins also are major players as the Jazz figure out how to fit the pieces of their puzzle.

Entering the draft, expect the Jazz to draft the best player available at No. 10, regardless of position. But, if we are talking about need, it’s clear the Jazz need a small forward, one who can make plays on both ends of the floor. Several lottery prospects fit that bill such as Cody Williams or Ron Holland. Tidjane Salaun is a terrific combination forward prospect, but he’s more of a power forward at this stage. You can mention people like Stephon Castle or Matas Buzelis or Zaccharie Risacher but at this point, they appear to be beyond Utah’s draft reach.

The criticism of the 2024 draft class is that there aren’t any obvious star-level prospects, and that’s true at face value, especially compared to the draft class last year headed by Victor Wembanyama. But there are a few caveats. One, a star emerges from every class. Even the 2013 class produced Giannis Antetokounmpo and Rudy Gobert. Secondly, every class offers a modicum of quality depth. Some classes are just more difficult than others in terms of identifiable talent.

That’s where the 2024 class comes in. It’s a class that’s a little more difficult to find a true star.

Utah’s challenge in this draft is to find star talent but to also find talent that fits its system and talent that fits what is already on the Jazz roster.

Let’s take Virginia forward Ryan Dunn as an example, and this is not to say the Jazz have or don’t have interest in him. It’s simply an example.

Dunn, at 6 foot 8, might be the single best defensive player in the draft. He can play NBA minutes right away defensively. He can guard most NBA positions and he has a combination of being a rim protector along with being a playmaker defensively on the perimeter.

So, what’s Dunn’s issue? As good as he is defensively, that’s about as non-impactful as he was offensively in college.

According to league sources, Dunn worked out for the Jazz this week and went primarily against Purdue star big man Zach Edey. In assessing Dunn, the Jazz will have to project whether he can play offense at an NBA level and whether he can shoot at an NBA level. If they want to draft him, where do they draft him? If they take him at 10, it’s going to be too high, on paper. That being said, he doesn’t project to be available at picks No. 29 or No. 32.

There are several players who the Jazz have to evaluate, which is one of the reasons they are casting a wide net in terms of draft workouts. League sources say Edey, Salaun and Tyler Kolek, among others, visited Utah this week. But there are a lot of players in this draft who are like Dunn, in terms of having one skill that stands out, but having to project the rest of their skill sets is what will make this draft unpredictable and fascinating.

There doesn’t appear to be one surefire star in the mix but knowing that one player (or more) will always separate and reach star level, can the Jazz find that star? And going back to Dunn, what if the offense doesn’t come around for him? Is he dynamic enough defensively that he’s still worth drafting and throwing into the mix?

A few years ago, the Minnesota Timberwolves bet on Jaden McDaniels. He’s now one of the best defenders in the league and a major cog in a team that just reached the Western Conference finals. The New Orleans Pelicans did the same with Herb Jones, and now he’s one of the best defenders in the league and a big reason the team reached the playoffs.

Even if the Jazz don’t find star-level talent, can they find someone who becomes a viable part of a young core group? And then can they work their magic in either free agency or on the trade market? And if they can do that, how much does it move the needle in a stacked Western Conference?

We are two weeks away from beginning to get some answers.

But before we do, let’s attempt to match some prospects with the Jazz and what the Jazz need. As mentioned before, Utah doesn’t have a natural small forward on its roster. The Jazz also are missing a dynamic passer who can make the right read. Whether or not Utah can figure this out in the draft is one thing, but here are five guys who appear to be a good fit for the Jazz. We’ll discuss them as our Sam Vecenie has them in his latest mock draft.

Tennessee's Dalton Knecht, right, shoots against Michigan State's Coen Carr (55) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball exhibition game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

Dalton Knecht | 6-5 wing | 23 years old | Tennessee

What I like

He’s one of the best volume shooters in the draft, and maybe the best shooter in the draft from a volume perspective. He will have gravity on the floor from Day 1 in the league. But he’s more than a shooter. He can put the ball on the floor and attack closeouts. He can get into the lane and play above the rim. For a shooter, he’s a terrific vertical athlete. In that way, he reminds me a little bit of a young Ray Allen, because he was someone who could hurt you from behind the 3-point line, but also dunk on your head. Knecht is fearless and has a much more well-rounded package offensively than he’s been given credit for.

Offensively, he’d be a terrific fit for Utah head coach Will Hardy’s five-out system.

What concerns me

He’s 23 years old, so how much better is he going to get? And when he dominated college basketball last season, was it because of his physical maturity? Can his game translate to the professional level? I think it can.

But then another question: Who is this man going to defend in the NBA? And if he can’t defend in the NBA, how good is going to have to be offensively to balance that out?

Those are all questions that won’t be answered until he gets to the league. So, there is a lot of guesswork that will have to be done here.

Sam Vecenie’s latest mock draft: No. 6 to Charlotte

Colorado forward Cody Williams, right, shoots in front of Richmond center Neal Quinn (32) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Cody Williams | 6-7 wing | 19 years old | Colorado

What I like

I almost didn’t list him here. Frankly, it’s a question of whether he gets to the No. 10 pick. But, let’s say he’s available. He’s skilled on both ends of the ball. He knows how to play and has a terrific basketball IQ. He can dribble, shoot and pass. Most importantly, he’s a natural small forward, something the Jazz sorely need. He has length and is athletic. He doesn’t need the ball to be impactful. Because of his current skill, I think he is one of the highest-upside talents in the draft. But he also has a solid floor as a player.

What concerns me

He’s about 190 pounds, and he needs to add at least 20. So he’s probably not a rotational player right away, no matter how high you draft him. And as talented as he is, he tends to float through games. There are some games you forget he’s there. Taking him with a high lottery pick means you want him to put his imprint on basketball games. In this sense, he’s different than his older brother Jalen; Cody needs to develop that ability to be impactful for large stretches.

Sam Vecenie’s latest mock draft: No. 10 to Utah

Ron Holland | 6-7 wing | 18 years old | G League Ignite

What I like

I love his motor. I love how hard he plays on both ends of the floor. The Jazz could use someone like that. He has terrific positional size for a small forward, has real athleticism and can play above the rim, even in traffic. He gets downhill in transition. He attacks the rim and is fearless. More importantly, he uses those strengths as a player on both ends of the floor.

What concerns me

With the Ignite, he had the ball in his hands for much of the season, and the results were often disastrous. He turned the ball over way too much. He didn’t make great decisions, reads and shot 24 percent from 3-point range this past season. These are all things he will have to clean up if he wants to have a good career in the NBA.

Sam Vecenie’s latest mock draft: No. 11 to Chicago

Cholet's Tidjane Salaun holds the ball during the Betclic Elite match against Strasbourg, March 13, 2024, in Strasbourg, France. Salaun is a possible pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

Tidjane Salaun | 6-9 wing/forward | 18 years old | Cholet

What I like

His physical attributes. There aren’t many 6-foot-9 forwards with 7-1 wingspans that often come into the league. Last season, the Jazz drafted Taylor Hendricks, who possessed similar physical dimensions. This is a league that thrives on length and athleticism. One of the reasons the Boston Celtics are currently making life miserable for Luka Donćić is their collective length. The Celtics don’t have anyone that Donćić can pick on in isolation situations, and when building a team, that needs to be considered.

Salaun has a lot of developing to do. But he’s already someone capable of shooting. He’s a terrific athlete who plays above the rim in transition. He already knows how to play and move without the basketball. He can put the ball on the floor. What I like the most is that he plays hard and has a very good motor.

What concerns me

A little like Hendricks, he’s not ready at this point to play in the league, so drafting him is taking him for a few years down the line. But Hendricks made solid strides during his rookie season and nearly every game showed a flash or a glimpse of what he could become. Salaun projects as someone who will probably need some time in the G League to acclimate himself to the NBA game. More importantly, like Hendricks, Salaun is more power forward at this point than small forward, even though he can develop into the latter. It’s going to take work to get him there. And, with four other young guys they are currently trying to develop, how much time do the Jazz have?

Sam Vecenie’s latest mock draft: No. 12 to Oklahoma City

(Mary Altaffer | AP) Providence guard Devin Carter shoots from 3-point range during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Marquette in the semifinals of the Big East men's tournament Friday, March 15, 2024, in New York.

Devin Carter | 6-2 guard | 22 years old | Providence

What I like

I don’t think he has the cleanest fit with the Jazz because of George. But he’s an impressive player. He’s always been a terrific defender and competitor. But this past season, he developed offensively in a way not many expected. He’s 6 foot 2 with a 6-9 wingspan. I think he can play both guard positions offensively and defensively. He was a clutch player in college, has a level of competitiveness and a dog in him that the Jazz need.

What concerns me

A little like Knecht, Carter at 22 years old is a little older. So where and how much development does he have left in him as a player? Carter shot 37 percent from 3-point range this past season. In the previous two seasons, he was at 29 and 26 percent. So, how real is the shooting? Because that’s going to have a major impact on what kind of NBA player he is offensively. But Carter is a major draft riser in my opinion. He reminds me a little of Boston guard Derrick White.

Sam Vecenie’s latest mock draft: No. 13 to Sacramento