Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The 2014 NBA draft tracker: projecting the Utah Jazz big board (60 items)

By , For the Deseret News

June 22, 2014

With the NBA draft just right around the corner and the Jazz in possession of three very valuable picks, there is no better time to take a look at all of the best players available to be selected and to prognosticate as to who the Jazz like the most of the bunch. The Jazz had plenty of these players in for workouts, but had to do their study of the others from afar.

Here is a glance at what the Jazz draft board might look like heading into the draft on Thursday night.

Jay Yeomans is a courier by day and a freelance writer by night. He is the creator and lead writer of the website jmoneysports.com. Contact him at jmoney34@hotmail.com. Twitter: @jmoneysports

1 of 60. 1. Andrew Wiggins, 6-8, 200, guard, Kansas

Wiggins is a once in a generation type athlete. He is as explosive as they come and has the potential to do just about everything on the floor at a high level. Wiggins has a nice looking stroke from both inside and out to go along with decent range on his jump shot. He is a solid rebounder from the wing position and is an excellent on-ball defender because of his quick feet and willingness to work.

In his only season at Kansas, Wiggins averaged 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 steals and one block in 35 games.

2 of 60. 2. Jabari Parker, 6-8, 235, forward, Duke

Parker is built in the mold of current NBA star Carmelo Anthony. He has 3-point range, a great midrange game and enough moves and athleticism to get to the free-throw line on a regular basis. Parker can also really rebound the basketball on both ends of the floor. He has also shown the ability to be a solid shot blocker from the weak side.

For his one season at Duke, Parker averaged 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocks in 35 games.

3 of 60. 3. Dante Exum, 6-6, 196, guard

Exum chose an interesting road to the NBA since he didn't play for a competitive team in the last year. That plan hasn't seemed to hurt his stock at all thanks to his size and ball handling ability. His last game film came from the 2013 FIBA Under 19 World Championship, where Exum led Australia to a fourth-place finish.

During those games, Exum showed that he could be a big-time scorer and also a great facilitator. In his nine games in the U19s, Exum averaged 18.2 points, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals, according to DraftExpress.com.

4 of 60. 4. Joel Embiid, 7-0, 250, center, Kansas

The only reason Embiid sits at the four spot is because of a troubling foot injury that required surgery and will likely keep him out for most of his rookie season. When healthy, Embiid is a versatile big man who has great instincts as a passer and a shot blocker. He also has a great touch for a big man and can really finish around the rim.

During his one season at Kansas, Embiid averaged 11.2 points on 62.6 percent shooting from the field, 8.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 2.6 blocks in a little more than 23 minutes a game.

5 of 60. 5. Noah Vonleh, 6-10, 240, forward, Indiana

Vonleh has steadily moved up draft boards because of his size and versatility. Vonleh is a great rebounder who can score from inside and out. The most intriguing part of his game is the fact that he shot 48.5 percent from the 3-point line in limited attempts and good touch from the free-throw line where he shot 71.6 percent in 4.5 attempts per game. Vonleh also showed nice timing as a shot blocker and should only get better as he matures.

For his only season at Indiana, Vonleh averaged 11.3 points on 7.2 field goal attempts, nine rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 30 games.