SALT LAKE CITY — The group of players brought in by the Utah Jazz for workouts Tuesday may not have included many household names or players from local colleges, but it just may have included a couple of guys the Jazz could end up drafting next week.
Syrcause’s Michael Carter-Williams, a 6-foot-5, 184-pound point guard, is generally considered the third-best point guard in the NBA draft by most experts, behind Michigan’s Trey Burke and Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum.
While Burke and McCollum will both likely be gone before the Jazz first pick at No. 14 overall, Carter-Williams might still be available. Experts believe he'll go somewhere between No. 8 and No. 14, meaning he could end up in Utah.
Meanwhile, the Jazz could use one of their latter picks — at No. 21 or No. 46 — to select Kentucky’s Archie Goodwin, a highly touted high school star who played just one year for the Wildcats.
Both players impressed Walt Perrin, Utah’s vice president of player personnel, during the Jazz's pre-draft workouts Tuesday.
“Absolute great kid,’’ Perrin said of Carter-Williams, a communications major at Syracuse. “He’s well-spoken ... coming from one of the highest-rated communication schools in America.’’
Media members who spoke with Carter-Williams afterward were also impressed with his communication skills. As for his on-court abilities, Perrin said it was a mixed bag.
“On the court we (already) knew his skills. He was affected by the altitude today. He definitely needs to be in better shape and learn to shoot a little bit better,'' he said. "He’s so long and so big for a point guard position. He passes the ball, sees the court. He’s going to be a good player.’’
Carter-Williams worked out with just one other player, former Layton Christian guard B.J. Porter, who came back for a second-straight day to play against Carter-Williams, while six players worked out in a second session. Perrin said Carter-Williams’ agent requested the individual workout and that the Jazz abide by such requests.
Carter-Williams’ size — he calls himself "a late bloomer" — is a plus and would help the Jazz defensively, where they aim to get better, according to Perrin. He also said Carter-Williams can improve his shooting, which was only 43.1 percent last year on 11.9 points per game.
“He’s willing to improve and that’s the most important thing,’’ he said. “He definitely needs to improve his jump shot. He’s got a ways to go, but I think he’ll improve it. We know it’s a work in progress. The players in this year’s draft have a few holes they need to work on. With Michael Carter it’s his shooting and getting a little stronger.’’
Shooting is also Goodwin’s biggest weakness, although he did beat Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin in a shooting contest at the end of his workout. However, he has other parts to his game that appeal to the Jazz.
“He can really get to the basket,’’ Perrin said. “He puts a lot of pressure on the defense going to the basket. He’s like Michael Carter — he’s going to really have to improve his shooting. But he’s so quick with his first step that he can get by people and put pressure on the defense as an athlete.’’12 comments on this story
Goodwin, who was Mr. Basketball in Arkansas two years ago, believes he’ll be taken in the first round, but some mock drafts have him in the middle of the second round, which might give the Jazz a chance to draft him at No. 46.
Carter-Williams has worked out for Phoenix, New Orleans, Dallas, Sacramento and will be going to Orlando and Detroit. All of those teams pick ahead of the Jazz. Goodwin has already worked out for 14 teams and has three more visits left.
Also working out for the Jazz on Tuesday were Evansville forward Ryan Colt, Kansas guard Elijah Johnson, Marquette forward Trent Lockett, Miami guard Scott Durand and Syracuse guard James Southerland.
Another group of players will work out for the Jazz on Wednesday.