Experts say Utah Jazz draft picks make the grade

Published: Friday, Oct. 9 2015 4:36 a.m. MDT

Utah Jazz fans at EnergySolutions Arena were cautiously optimistic about their team's new players, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. National NBA experts, on the other hand, are much more upbeat.

"I really like the Utah draft," ESPN's Chad Ford wrote Friday. "Kanter has the ability to be a productive starting center in the league. And Burks is a very talented guard who, if he develops a jump shot, could become a star." Ford gave the Jazz an A grade for the draft.

Yahoo's Kelly Dwyer also gave the Jazz an A. "Burks is probably a reach at 12, but when you pick up a center that can walk and chew gum at the same time, who cares? Kanter will be great," he wrote.

Chris Mannix from Sports Illustrated called the Jazz one of his three winners of the draft. "Utah refused to reach and instead landed a legitimate low post center in Enes Kanter who, along with Derrick Favors, will form the core of a powerful, athletic frontcourt," he said.

ESPN contributor Hayes Davenport claimed the Jazz "won the draft," saying, "The Jazz had the best evening. They were able to draft for need and overall value with both of their first-round picks without taking too many risks. But it's a close call, because the Wizards did the same."

FOX Sports praised the Jazz for taking risks on talented but relatively unknown players: "Both are unfamiliar to many fans since Kanter was ruled ineligible before playing a game at Kentucky and Burks played for a Colorado team that didn't make the NCAA tournament, but they may be the best athletes at their respective positions."

And CBS Sports bloggers Matt Moore and Ben Golliver gave the Jazz a B+ grade. "The Jazz arguably came away with the best center and best two guard in the draft," they wrote. "The moves signaled that Utah is ready for a quick turnaround rather than a slash-and-burn style tear down."

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company