Which Prospects Are in Play with Utah Jazz's 2013 NBA Draft 1st-Round Pick?
Utah needs to hit a home run with pick No. 14 in this draft to ring in a new era of Jazz basketball with a bang.
With so much money to spend and so many free agents, there will be a changing of the guard next year in Salt Lake City. If ownership chooses to plug on with the youth movement, it will be in great position to add another key piece to the puzzle at the back end of the draft lottery.
Four of the team's top five scorers will be hitting free agency this offseason. That means it is time to move on. Here are a handful of possible franchise cornerstones that could guide this team to it's next playoff appearance in the near future.
The 14th slot might be a bit of a slide for Michael Carter-Williams, but the Syracuse point guard would be one of the best-case scenarios for a likely rebuilding Utah squad.
There is room for optimism because aside from Dallas at No. 13, Carter-Williams could very well make that slide if he makes it past Sacramento at No. 7. Teams eight through 13 are all firmly established at the point guard position.
Carter-Williams is a lanky 6'6" point guard with extraordinary passing abilities. He can disrupt a game defensively as well, as he averaged 2.7 steals per game this past season, good for sixth in the nation.
With Utah he could be able to start from day one and learn on the fly. He has areas that need improvement such as shot selection and turnover issues, but his ability from a physical standpoint is second to none in this draft.
Drafting him as opposed to other point guards would speed up the rebuilding process since he is further along in his development. He would also immediately be the tallest point guard in the league and with his 41" vertical at the combine, one of the most explosive.
With Alec Burks not improving from year one to year two, Utah could definitely use some help at the shooting guard position, especially if Randy Foye leaves in free agency.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did it all for Georgia this past season. He is an athletic swingman who can score in a variety of ways and has turned himself into a real threat from beyond the arc. He is also ferocious on the glass, averaging over seven per game this past season despite being only 6'5".
Draft projections currently have him slotted to come off the board around where Utah is, unless a team in front falls in love with him.
A red flag of his is that he disappeared in big games during his career with the 'Dawgs. Caldwell-Pope shot 36 percent against ranked teams and cracked the 20-point barrier just one time in 12 tries, and he needed overtime to do it.
He will not be able to thrash lesser teams in the NBA, so it poses the question of how legitimate were his numbers in college. Regardless, his athleticism will translate to the next level, and at just 20 years old, he still has plenty of room to blossom.
The lightning quick point guard from The U burst onto the scene this season. He led Miami to by far its best season in team history, as it won the ACC and earned a trip to the Sweet 16 as a No. 2 seed.
Shane Larkin stepped up his production considerably this past season, averaging 14.5 points on a much-improved 48 percent shooting. He showed his brilliance in two dominant performances against Duke and by running rampant through the ACC tournament.
His speed and athleticism would give Utah a shot in the arm. The Jazz are normally a slow team, and with Larkin at the helm, they could give their transition game a huge boost. He also excels in the pick-and-roll and with Utah's gluttony of superb big men, would thrive in that aspect as well.
Most mocks currently have Larkin slated to go slightly lower than Utah's spot. The Jazz need to take a hard look at Larkin and his ridiculous 44" vertical and decide if it's worth it for them to take his talents away from South Beach.
Mason Plumlee is an incredible athlete in the frontcourt who would potentially ease the pain of Al Jefferson and/or Paul Millsap leaving Utah this offseason.
With Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors more than capable of slotting into the starting lineup, if Utah loses the amount of roster space it's capable of losing this offseason, it will need to fill in the gaps. A high-flyer like Plumlee would be a great addition to put some depth back into the frontcourt.
The always reliable NBADraft.net has Plumlee landing with Utah this offseason.
Plumlee had a huge season for the Blue Devils. He increased his numbers across the board for the fourth year in a row and just continues to get better. At 17 points and 10 rebounds per game, he showed the exact kind of production a team in the lottery would love to see from its big man.
Even if he doesn't start, in a weak draft with a bevy of question marks, Plumlee proved himself over four years at Duke. He appears to be a low-risk option for a group of guys that will stand to use an influx of overall talent once free agency hits.
If the Jazz decide not to address the backcourt during the draft, Plumlee will be one of the guys they will take a nice look at.
The little known point guard from Germany has caught the eye of scouts everywhere.
Schroeder is an interesting prospect. His main weapon is his unparalleled quickness. He blows by defenders at will and shows textbook form on his jump shot, which is already a reliable weapon for him at age 19. His weakness lies in his distributing skills.
A pick of Schroeder would be a pick for the future. He plays an unrefined game and currently lacks proper efficiency as a facilitator to run an NBA offense, but by no means should that be an issue down the road. He could stand to learn behind a veteran point guard for a year or two, something Utah could very easily address given its mountainous cap space.
Schroeder could very easily bloom into the best point guard of this draft, but it is unlikely to happen right away. Depending on how quickly Utah thinks it is prepared to win, it could stash Schroeder on the bench for two years to soak up some knowledge and put on strength. Either way, he would be a marvelous addition to the Jazz.