COMMENTARY | Fresh off a superb senior season at Bishop Gorman High School -- one in which he was named Mr. Basketball USA and Naismith Prep Player of the Year -- Shabazz Muhammad was widely regarded as a potential top-three draft pick.
Right now, however, he's projected to be a back-end lottery selection.
He may even slip to the Utah Jazz.
In a recent mock draft, ESPN's Chad Ford listed Muhammad at No. 14 -- Utah's current position.
Should the Jazz make him a priority?
Why they should
With Al Jefferson, the team's leading scorer for the past three years, likely signing elsewhere this summer, the Jazz will need someone who can put the orb through the cylinder on a regular basis.
As a freshman at UCLA, the 6-6 small forward averaged 17.9 points per outing on 44.3 percent shooting.
DraftExpress.com describes him as "a hungry, aggressive offensive player who hunts shots and is consistently looking to put pressure on opposing defenses."
If that's true, he'd be a good fit for the uptempo style that Coach Corbin wants to implement.
Another reason Muhammad would be a good pickup: Marvin Williams, one of the team's two small forwards, is expected to miss the first month of the season after undergoing Achilles surgery on June 3.
Why they shouldn't
The Jazz have a center (Enes Kanter), power forward (Derrick Favors), small forward (Gordon Hayward) and shooting guard (Alec Burks). But they don't have a point guard.
And if team officials use the 14th pick on Muhammad, they may miss out on someone like Dennis Schroeder or Shane Larkin.
Schroeder, a 6-2 floor general from Germany, has been skyrocketing on draft boards in recent weeks. Known for his ball-handling skills and speed, he's been frequently compared to Boston Celtics All-Star Rajon Rondo. He averaged 12.0 points and 3.2 assists in 31 games for the New Yorker Phantoms in Germany's top league this past season.
Larkin, the son of former major league baseball star Barry Larkin, is also on the rise. At the pre-draft combine in Chicago, he leapt an impressive 44 inches and ran the three-quarter court sprint in a speedy 3.08 seconds. In comparison, former No. 1 pick John Wall recorded a 39-inch vertical and ran the same distance in 3.14 seconds during his combine in 2010.
What do you think? Should the Jazz pursue Shabazz? (I know, I know -- it's pronounced Shuh-BOZZ, not Shuh-BAZZ, but that's still a cool-sounding question.) Let me know in the comments.
Jared Bray, a graduate of Brigham Young University's broadcast journalism program, has followed the Utah Jazz since 2008, when he covered the team as a sports correspondent for KBYU-TV's Daily News at Noon.
- Sports & Recreation
- Utah Jazz
- Shabazz Muhammad
- Bishop Gorman High School