I thought I shot the ball pretty good, better than usual. It’s hard to breathe, but I did pretty well. —Xavier guard Semaj Christon
SALT LAKE CITY — Six more players worked out for the Utah Jazz Friday morning at the Zions Bank Basketball Center, none of whom are likely to play in a Jazz uniform in the future.
But you never know.
As Jazz vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin said afterward, “We’re all looking for the next Wes Matthews,’’ referring to the former undrafted Jazzman who now starts for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Most of the six players on hand Friday are unlikely to be selected in next month’s NBA draft. The most likely draftable player from Friday’s workout is Xavier’s Semaj (she-MAH-jey) Christon, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard who declared for the draft after a sophomore season in which he averaged 17.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
“I thought I shot the ball pretty good, better than usual,’’ Christon said after his workout. “It’s hard to breathe, but I did pretty well.’’
Christon is being pegged as a late first-round or early second-round pick, which would actually put him in the Jazz’s wheelhouse as they have picks at No. 23 overall and No. 35 overall.
When asked about his strong points, Christon said, “I’m very explosive, can finish around the rim, get into the paint and kick out, and defend at a high level.’’
The last thing he said should warm the hearts of Jazz management, who saw their team finish near the bottom of the NBA in several defensive categories last season.
The Jazz are also looking for shooters after ranking 24th in the league in field goal percentage in 2013-14.
Two players known for their shooting were among the half-dozen at Friday workout — Louisville’s Luke Hancock, the NCAA tournament's most outstanding player in 2013, and UCLA’s Travis Wear, who local fans got to see when he played against Utah at the Huntsman Center last year.
Wear, a 6-10 “stretch” forward, was pleased with his workout, saying, “I think they were looking for me to shoot the ball well and be physical and I thought I shot the ball really well.’’
For Wear, it was one of the first times in basketball he has been away from his twin brother David, who played with him growing up, all through high school, for a year at North Carolina and three years at UCLA.
“It’s real awkward,’’ he said. “I call him every day to see what city he’s in. Traveling by myself feels really weird, but I’m getting used to it.’’
Wear said his brother was working out for Philadelphia this week, but Perrin wasn’t sure if David would be at one of Utah’s future workouts.
The 6-6 Hancock was honest about his workout, saying he didn’t have his best day shooting.
“It was just OK,’’ he said. “I didn’t shoot the ball as well as I would have liked, but that’s how it is. I feel like I can shoot the ball and a lot of NBA teams need a shooter, so I need to be in good shape and shoot as many shots as I can.’’
Also on hand Friday was Iowa State guard DeAndre Kane, a 6-4, 200-pound guard who played three years at Marshall before moving to Iowa State for his senior season when he averaged 17.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists.
He was on the winning side against BYU in Provo and was asked about that game.
“That was a great game,’’ he said and added. “I poked a guy in the eye and got ejected.’’
So what if he ends up playing in Utah in front of BYU fans? “I’ll have to apologize and write a letter,’’ he said with a smile.
Two others who worked out Friday were Wally Judge, a 6-9, 250-pound forward from Rutgers, and Jamil Wilson, a 6-7, 230-pound forward from Marquette who had to exit the workout early because of a sprained left ankle.
This was the third Jazz workout this spring for college players. The Jazz are expected to have at least one workout next week and a few after that.1 comment on this story
When asked when he would anticipate one of the players who might be available at No. 5 (where the Jazz select in the draft) being able to come to Utah for a workout, Perrin said, “Uh, soon.’’ But he wouldn’t say when it would be exactly or who it might be.
As far as getting one of the expected top three draft picks — Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid — to come to Utah for a workout, Perrin said, “It’s going to be tough, but I’m talking to them.’’