SALT LAKE CITY — Decisions, decisions.
The Utah Jazz will have a lot of those to make next week as the 2018 NBA Draft is set for Thursday, June 21.
Utah holds the No. 21 and No. 52 picks, and of the 60 prospects that have participated in pre-draft workouts in Salt Lake City, the team is seriously considering a dozen of them. Six more players will cap off the workouts on Sunday morning.
“I would say all of them are a little developmental,” Jazz vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin told media members Friday. “But, I would say probably out of those, let’s say 12, seven of them could probably come in and get minutes next year.”
Here are five things you need to know about the upcoming draft. You may want to take note. Get it? Take note. Corny, huh? Still funny.
1. The Five W’s
As stated above, the actual NBA Draft is set for Thursday, June 21. Brooklyn’s Barclays Center will host the event as 60 picks will be made from the 30 teams around the league.
2. Who is going No. 1?
NBA.com’s Consensus Mock Draft has Arizona big man Deandre Ayton going No. 1 to the Phoenix Suns. Ayton averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in a stellar freshman season for the Wildcats. He earned Pac-12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors and is being compared to DeMarcus Cousins and Karl-Anthony Towns as a 7-foot-1, 260-pound center.
3. Green room stars
The NBA Draft green room is for prospects who are pretty much guaranteed to get picked. This area is typically filled with family, friends, and agents to share the draft day experience with the players. According to ESPN, this area won’t include a non-collegiate player. ESPN has also revealed that the current known invitees are: Ayton, Duke's Marvin Bagley III, Michigan State's Jaren Jackson Jr., Texas's Mo Bamba, Alabama's Collin Sexton, Oklahoma's Trae Young, Duke's Wendell Carter Jr., Missouri's Michael Porter Jr., Villanova's Mikal Bridges, Kentucky's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Michigan State's Miles Bridges, Kentucky's Kevin Knox, Texas A&M's Robert Williams, Miami's Lonnie Walker, Villanova's Donte DiVincenzo, Texas Tech's Zhaire Smith, Boston College's Jerome Robinson, Boise State's Chandler Hutchison and UCLA's Aaron Holiday.
4. Utah Jazz workouts
In advance of the draft, the Jazz will have worked out 66 prospects over a five-week span. Some of the notable players are DiVincenzo, Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop, SMU’s Shake Milton, Michigan’s Moritz Wagner, Duke’s Grayson Allen, Holiday, French guard Elie Okobo and Boston College’s Jerome Robinson. Perrin said he couldn’t recall a time where the team brought in so many guys within their range.
5. Jazz draft history
It’s tough to speculate what’s going through the mind of Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey and his staff around this time of the year because they’re so tight-lipped. Last year, he traded up to take former Louisville star Donovan Mitchell, and the rest is history.9 comments on this story
Another Louisville star, Darrell Griffith, was actually the highest pick in franchise history at No. 2 in the 1980 Draft. Obviously, John Stockton and Karl Malone would become franchise cornerstones after being taken in 1984 and 1985. Many folks also aren’t aware that Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins was also picked by the Jazz in 1982 out of Georgia but was traded to the Atlanta Hawks, before ever suiting up in Salt Lake City, for $1 million, Freeman Williams and John Drew — it is regarded as one of the worst trades in league history.
Utah has done well recently, landing Dante Exum and Rodney Hood in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft and trading for No. 27 overall pick Rudy Gobert in 2013.