Utah Jazz brass hitting the road for player evaluations
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz held two pre-draft workouts at their training facility in the past three days, but they won't have any tryout sessions in the Beehive State for another week or so.
Trips to Chicago and Europe are next on the itinerary.
And those are business trips, not vacations.
Jazz brass, including coach Tyrone Corbin and general manager Kevin O'Connor, will get a chance to work out and interview Turkish center Enes Kanter in the Windy City on Thursday and Friday.
O'Connor and Walt Perrin, the Jazz's vice president of player personnel, will then pack their bags for an overseas swing that will include a stop at the three-day EuroCamp in Treviso, Italy.
Thirty players — early entries and draft eligible international prospects — are expected to attend the only pre-draft camp held outside of the U.S. from June 11-13.
The Jazz will get a chance to evaluate intriguing power forward Bismack Biyombo of the Republic of Congo. Lithuania's Donatas Motiejunas, Latvia's Davis Bertans and Brazil's Lucas Nogueira will also attend.
It's uncertain whether international lottery hopefuls Jonas Valanciunas (Lithuania) and Jan Vesely (Czech Republic) will be there.
The Jazz, owners of the third and 12th overall picks for the June 23 draft, expect to bring many lottery prospects through Utah for workouts and/or interviews in upcoming weeks.
Utah continues to attempt to secure an interview with Arizona forward Derrick Williams, whom experts believe will go No. 2. It appears, however, that Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, the draft's top prospect, will not do anything with teams other than Cleveland, which has the No. 1 overall pick.
The Jazz have scheduled a workout with BYU point guard Jimmer Fredette in Utah, but the team has not released the date.
JEALOUSY JIMMERED: Jackson Emery can shoot the lights out, and his shot was even praised by Jazz coach Corbin after Tuesday's workout.
But the former BYU shooting guard admitted that there was "some sacrifice" on the part of players not named Jimmer at BYU — and it was for the good of the Cougars.
That sacrifice was not accompanied by ill will, by the way, even if others were constantly playing in Fredette's large shadow.
"It's hard to get mad at a guy for shooting shots if he's shooting 48 percent. It's hard to get mad at a guy for shooting shots if you're winning all the time," said Emery, whose Cougars won 32 games and made the Sweet Sixteen last season. "So we were happy with our roles. The most important thing to us was team success."
That winning had another benefit. It put BYU players — even the ones not named Jimmer — on the radar.
And he thoroughly enjoyed being a blip on the Jazz's screen at Tuesday's workout.
"It's fun," he said. "This is why you play basketball. You take it from one level to the next and you just try to get better each time.
SUMMER PLANS: Many people might expect an NBA lockout to happen come July 1. Perrin isn't operating under that assumption.
That explains why the Jazz held a pre-draft workout Tuesday with four guards — BYU's Emery, Westminster's Michael Stockton, Kansas' Brady Morningstar and Virginia's Mustapha Farrakhan — who are not expected to be picked at the NBA Draft in three weeks.
Perrin explained his current job duties as being three-fold:
"One is bringing in draft guys in our range," he said. "Two is bringing in draft guys in a range where we may be able to move a pick and get a pick. And three is (to) look at guys for summer league.
"And that's what we're doing."
It's uncertain whether summer leagues remain a possibility with the lockout threat.
"But," Perrin added, "I've got to be prepared to have one."
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