COMMENTARY | This year's NBA Draft promises to be one of the most unpredictable I can remember. I've looked at dozens of mock drafts this year, and players' stocks seem to rise or drop daily. The major problem in writing an article about whom I'd like to see the Utah Jazz select with their two first round picks this year is that there's no guarantee that either player will be left on the board when they select at #14 and #21.
In fact, according to the most recent version of Yahoo! Sports' latest mock draft, neither of the two players I would like most to see in a Jazz uniform will be available. Other sources disagree, though, and I think Utah has a legitimate shot to get at least one of the two .
Michael Carter-Williams is the man I'd most like to see available when the Jazz first go on the clock. Carter-Williams makes sense for any number of reasons. His ball handling, size, and athleticism would provide the Jazz with an immediate upgrade to any of the point guards currently on their roster.
The Jazz have no good options to play the point in the coming season. Mo Williams was an experiment that failed this year, and is entering free agency. Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson are definitely not the answer. The 6'6", 21 year old Carter-Williams can run the point, play lockdown defense, and bring young legs and youthful energy to a team that lacked athleticism in its backcourt last year. He is also well-schooled in the game, having played under Jim Boeheim, one of the finest coaches in the collegiate ranks.
Kelly Olynyk would be the next player I would like to see Utah nab if he's still available at #21. Olynyk once appeared a certain lottery pick, but he has fallen into the bottom of the first round on some draft boards recently.
This has occurred, though, through no fault of his own. Olynyk was extremely productive in his final season at Gonzaga, and he has the best offensive skills of any big man in the draft. Some NBA teams, however, have expressed concerns about Olynyk's strength and his relatively short arms. Olynyk stands 7'0", but has a wing span of only 6'11". As problems go, these are not the worst ones to have. Some time in the gym can help build this young man's strength, and seven feet tall is seven feet tall -- short arms notwithstanding.
My sleeper for the second round is DeShaun Thomas. In interests of disclosure, I was born and raised in Ohio, and I admit I have a soft spot for former Ohio State Buckeyes. I like Thomas' offensive skills a great deal, though. He has a variety of ways to put the ball in the basket. He has some holes in his game, and he'll have to work on his defense and shot selection. He's an intriguing prospect with a lot of upside, though, and could develop into a contributor for the Jazz down the road.
It's possible the Jazz could get both the players on my first round wish list, or neither. The uncertainty and drama of the draft are what makes it interesting. I know I've applauded moves teams have made in the draft, only to ask what they were thinking a few years later. I've also scratched my head at certain picks, but later acknowledged their shrewdness.
This year's draft will be more exciting than most. I'd love to see Utah nab Carter-Williams and Olynyk, but that probably won't happen. I just hope that whomever they select will contribute to the team's success for years to come.
I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.
S.B. Jackson is a resident of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area and a lifelong NBA fan, dating back to his devotion to the Cincinnati Royals. The author of one novel, several short stories, and an occasional contributor to various publications, Jackson is currently working on a compilation of short stories.
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