Floor generals (Point Guards)
Top of the draft
With the recent success of Deron Williams in Utah and Chris Paul in New Orleans, top-notch point guards are all the rage in the NBA these days. University of Memphis freshman Derrick Rose is a top-two selection, and if he doesn't go No. 1 overall to his hometown Chicago Bulls, the Miami Heat gladly will take him at No. 2. UCLA point Russell Westbrook, Arizona's Jerryd Bayless and D.J. Augustin of Texas all should go in the lottery as well. One other possibility: Mario Chalmers of Kansas.
Williams, formally selected along with Paul of the Hornets to USA Basketball's Olympic team on Monday, is entrenched as the Jazz's point for years to come. A max-money contract extension that should be sealed sometime next month will ensure as much. Former Utah Valley State star Ronnie Price beat out veteran Jason Hart as the backup to Williams in Utah last season, and Price should start that way when training camp opens in October. Hart recently chose against opting out of the final season of his two-year contract, though, so he may be back on the bench next season as well, making it hard for any rookie point to crack the roster this season.
If the Jazz do pick a point in Thursday's draft, it will be in the second round, either with their No. 44 pick (originally belonging to Philadelphia) or their No. 53. They've brought in several second-round prospects to work out, and the one they seem to like most is senior Sean Singletary of Virginia, a quick and athletic 6-footer who is said to play somewhat like former Jazz reserve point Dee Brown. Even if the Jazz don't draft a point, they'll need one to run their Rocky Mountain Revue summer league team next month.
University of Utah senior Johnnie Bryant worked out twice for the Jazz, but that was more for facilitating auditions than with an eye toward the draft. Bryant does hope to embark on a career overseas, however, and wouldn't mind landing an invite to the Jazz's Revue camp.
Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor joked Monday that he has given a guarantee. To Rose. If the Memphis point is there at 23, Utah will take him. In other words, keep dreaming, Kev.
STILL TO COME: SHOOTERS (shooting guards/small forwards), BIG MEN (power forwards/centers)