Initial Post-Draft Depth Chart for Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz are a young, rebuilding basketball team that has undeveloped talent across their roster. Their future looked bright a week ago, but it looks even better after last night's draft, with the addition of Australian sensation Dante Exum and sharp-shooting wing Rodney Hood.
There are still several question marks to be taken care of—only eight players are under contract for next season, including Exum and Hood—but the pieces already in place appear to be a complementary fit.
Here's how their depth chart for next season might shake out.
1. Point Guard
1. Trey Burke
Last year's first-round pick, Trey Burke, struggled a ton in his rookie campaign. He couldn't get to the free-throw line (1.8 attempts per 36 minutes) or score at the rim (51.1 percent between zero and three feet from the basket), and he shot a deplorable 38 percent from the floor.
But still, that was his rookie year. Burke was just 21 years old and still managed to average nearly 13 points and six assists per game.
It's still too early to tell if he's a "franchise" floor general or whether his game will mesh off the ball beside Dante Exum, but for now he's the only true point guard on Utah's roster.
Exum will probably play the point a ton as well, and look for the Jazz to bring in a veteran backup to stabilize bench units.
2. Shooting Guard
1. Dante Exum
There's so much we don't know about Dante Exum. What we do know: He's 6'6", 18 years old and his wingspan is half an inch below 7 feet.
Exum should be able to guard opposing shooting guards and have enough athleticism to blow past them with the ball. He projects to be either Utah's lead or secondary ball-handler right away and should have plenty of opportunities to run devastating pick-and-rolls with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
It'll be interesting to see how long it takes for defenses to respect his outside shot, though.
2. Alec Burks
One of the more underrated players in the entire league, the 21-year-old Alec Burks saw his scoring jump from a pedestrian 7.1 points per game in his first two years all the way to 14.0 last year.
He's already one of the best bench scorers going and just saw his player efficiency rating leap above league average. His rookie contract expires next summer, so it'll be interesting to see if Utah keeps him around or trades him before his paycheck spikes.
3. Small Forward
1. Gordon Hayward
The Jazz have already extended Gordon Hayward his qualifying offer, allowing them to match any contract he receives from other teams in restricted free agency this summer. And despite a near season-long shooting slump in 2013-14, it's likely they keep him around as a starting wing for the long haul.
Hayward impacts the game in so many different, positive ways. Unless someone offers him a max contract (that probably isn't happening), Hayward will start for Utah again next season and be one of its best players.
2. Rodney Hood
Utah's second first-round pick in this year's draft, Rodney Hood can stroke it from outside, which should help spread the floor for Trey Burke, Dante Exum and Hayward.
He could also give Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors more room to operate on the low block.
4. Power Forward
1. Derrick Favors
Arguably the best Jazz player heading into next season, as of today Derrick Favors is also set to make the most money—his four-year, $48 million contract extension kicks in next year.
Favors can rebound, defend pick-and-rolls, finish in traffic and score efficiently. His new contract means he's no longer a valuable trade asset, but it will still be interesting to see if Utah puts him on the market before the trade deadline.
He may be overpaid, and the Jazz could eventually have to choose if they want to keep either him or Enes Kanter.
2. Jeremy Evans
The one-time Slam Dunk Contest champion who's best known for looking like he plays basketball on a pogo stick, Jeremy Evans probably won't be in Utah's rotation next season unless he shows up to training camp with three-point range.
He'll be 27 years old on a $1.7 million expiring contract, too.
1. Enes Kanter
Enes Kanter just turned 22 and is about to enter his fourth season. He's a massive human and still has plenty of areas in his game that could stand to develop.
Now is the time for him to become a full-time starter, and the Jazz will likely look to move him if he can't thrive in big minutes beside Derrick Favors (or vice versa).
2. Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert is in the NBA because he's gigantic (7'1"). In his one season, he averaged about one block per 10 minutes, but he only appeared in 45 games.
If Gobert can solidify himself as a respectable shot-blocking presence next year, the Jazz will have one of the most formidable frontcourt tandems in the entire league. All the better if he develops some sort of offensive game.