TOP OF THE DRAFT: If tonight's NBA draft tilts toward anything, it's point guards. The NBA, after all, is all about small these days. And there is a boatload of them expected to go in the first round, including six who should be in the lottery. Cream of the crop is Pistol Pete Maravich-lookalike Ricky Rubio, a teenage sensation from Spain with a huge buyout from his team there. He could wind up, essentially, playing in the NBA for free next season. He doesn't want to go to Memphis at No. 2, but Oklahoma City could take him at 3. He is not a great shooter, but the kid — just watch his YouTube videos — passes like a showman. The others about to strike it rich are Tyreke Evans, more of a combo guard type who was one and done at the University of Memphis; Davidson's Stephon Curry, son of ex-Jazz player Dell Curry and another combo type; Jrue Holiday, a good-sized combo from UCLA who just turned 19 years old; and small but athletic Jonny Flynn of Syracuse. Versatile Brandon Jennings, an American prep product who spent last season in Italy, could also go in the middle of the first round — or he could drop.
UTAH NOW: Team USA Olympian Deron Williams commands most of the minutes in Utah, making it difficult to attract a veteran content to play just 10-to-12 behind him. Jason Hart struggled to do it two seasons ago, and Brevin Knight the same this past season. Knight will be a restricted free agent in a few days, and it seems as if he may be moving on. Combo guard Ronnie Price, the Utah Valley product, was the Jazz's No. 3 point last season. He'll also be an unrestricted free agent next week, but the team seems inclined to perhaps keep him, especially after the high-hustle showing Price put on in Utah's playoffs-ending loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Jazz plan to carry three points again next season, likely including at least one combo — which could be Price. But they're not at all averse to bringing in a first-round rookie to battle for backup minutes.
JAZZ TIME: The Jazz most definitely are open to taking a point with the No. 20 overall pick in tonight's first round. Wake Forest's Jeff Teague and Virginia Commonwealth's Eric Maynor are two prime targets. Neither UCLA's Darren Collison not North Carolina's Ty Lawson would come to Utah for a workout, largely because of the presence of Williams. The Jazz, though, wouldn't shy from taking either at 20 just because of that. But Patrick Mills, an Aussie Olympian from St. Mary's, does not seem to be a consideration for Utah. Lawson could go No. 17 to Philadelphia. If they go big or take a shooting guard in the first round, the Jazz might up a point at No. 50 in the second, with possibilities including Nick Beverley, who spent last season in Ukraine after getting booted from Arkansas for academic-related reasons, and Nando De Colo, a combo guard from the French League who came to town for a workout.
FANTASY PICK: The Jazz take Teague at 20. Every time he plays at home, he thinks it's Provo in January, and he drops 30 points, just like in Wake's win over BYU — even though he's only playing 10 minutes a game behind Williams.
— Tim Buckley
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