SALT LAKE CITY — In most years, the Utah Jazz hold their final predraft workout the weekend before the big day.
With the draft set for next Thursday, the Jazz on Saturday held two separate workouts, bringing the total to nearly 80 players who have auditioned since the first one was held on May 4.
Saturday’s group had a variety of players from a draft positioning perspective, as there were a couple of likely first-round picks as well as some others who likely won’t get selected at all, but who provided some interesting storylines.
Here are three of the key storylines from the day:
The top prospects
Of those at Saturday’s audition, three are widely seen as potential first-round picks: Arizona State guard Luguentz Dort, Iowa State guard Talen Horton-Tucker and Maryland big man Bruno Fernando (Utah owns the 23rd overall pick in the first round).
As far as the guards go, Dort is in the mold of Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, a good-sized player who is tough and a good defender, but sometimes struggles with his shot. Horton-Tucker is one of the youngest players in the draft (he won’t be 19 until a month into his rookie year) and has a unique build at 6-foot-4 and pushing 240 pounds.
Fernando is a chiseled 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds, with Jazz vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin saying that the native of Angola already has an NBA body.
The big man certainly has an interesting story, as he came to the United States at the age of 15 and played for basketball powerhouses Montverde Academy and IMG Academy before college.
With just a few days before the draft, work is still being done to ensure that his parents and brother can make their first trip to the United States to see him get drafted.
“It would mean a lot,” he said of the idea that he’s primed to be the first player from Angola ever taken in the draft. “Just to show how much I’ve been working. My hard work could definitely pay off. Just to know that a whole country has been dreaming about it — it’s not just something that I’m going to benefit myself. I think everybody’s going to be extremely happy and celebrate. I’m really excited for that opportunity that I have in front of me.”
The local kid
Saturday’s workout had some local flair, as Ogden native Brekkott Chapman was among the players to audition.
One of the highest-rated prospects in the United States coming out of Roy High School, Chapman began his collegiate career at the University of Utah before transferring to Weber State.
On Saturday, Perrin noted that Chapman did a number of things well that have long been strengths of his.
“I was impressed with the way he played today,” Perrin said. “He showcased the ability to create off the dribble, knocked down some shots in our drills, showed some explosiveness going to the basket. It was enlightening for me. I thought he played well.”
Tobias Harris' brother Terry trying to make a name for himself
One player at Saturday’s workout whose name caught some attention was Terry Harris, the younger brother of NBA free agent Tobias Harris, who has been oft-mentioned as a player the Jazz could try to sign this summer.
Having played collegiately at North Carolina A&T, Terry Harris said he is grateful for the advice his brother has given him about going through the workout process, but he also wants to blaze his own trail.
“That’s why I’m here, to show what Terry Harris can do,” he said. “I feel that I did that today and I’ve been doing that in all the workouts. If I can leave a workout and let them know that Terry Harris is a knockdown, elite shooter, I feel that I’ve done my job.”