Report Card Grades for the Utah Jazz 2015 NBA Draft

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2015

Trey Lyles poses for photos with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected 12th overall by the Utah Jazz during the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 25, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

With a young core in place that features talent at all five positions, the Utah Jazz had the luxury of selecting the best players available to them in the 2015 NBA Draft.

In the lottery, that was Kentucky's combo forward Trey Lyles, whom the Jazz picked up with the No. 12 pick. In the second round, they landed combo guard Olivier Hanlan.

Seeing a connection there? The combo designation is a good thing in today's NBA, when positionless basketball is en vogue and being called a tweener is no longer a kiss of death.

Both Lyles and Hanlan have the potential to contribute in a variety of ways, regardless of where they find themselves on the floor. And based on where they want, Utah got decent value with their picks.

The team also had the 54th overall pick, where they took Spain's Daniel Diez, who was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for cash considerations.

Jody Genessy @DJJazzyJody

The Jazz traded the second-round pick (No. 54 Daniel Diez) to Portland for cash considerations.

As for the players Utah kept, each earns the Jazz a passing grade on this night.

Trey Lyles, Kentucky, 6'10", PF/SF

2014-15 Stats: 8.7 PTS, 5.2 REB, 48.8 FG%, 13.8 3P%


"Being a high character guy that's going to fit in" -@TreyMambaLyles on what he'll add to the @utahjazz http://t.co/IDLIVk1vDv

Lyles must have been pretty high on Utah's board, as general manager Dennis Lindsey said the team turned down trade offers that included multiple first-round picks for No. 12.

Tony Jones @tribjazz

Dennis Lindsey says teams were offering multiple firsts for 12, but the Jazz liked Lyles.

The interest in Lyles surely started before he visited the Jazz for a workout, but it was heightened in that setting. Utah's front office was high on the entire group that worked out that day.

Jody Genessy @DJJazzyJody

Walt Perrin wasn't kidding when he said most or all of this workout group would be drafted. Two went to the Jazz. http://t.co/MDmhZ0yRSh

Lyles stood out in a unique way.

Utah has been near the forefront of creative methods for evaluation and development, using body-tracking sensors on game jerseys, sending the team to a new-age training facility in Santa Barbara, California in the summers, and apparently, testing the balance of incoming prospects.

Ben Dowsett @Ben_Dowsett

Lindsey mentioned that in new advanced balance tests the Jazz have for workouts, Trey Lyles was the #1 guy among over 100 prospects.

In the past, many of the qualities possessed by Lyles were significantly less tangible or measurable. That balance was only part of the equation.

Jody Genessy @DJJazzyJody

Lindsey said Lyles has good size, a good 7-1 wingspan, big hands, great handles, superior vision and can be like a Draymond Green.

Versatility is key under head coach Quin Snyder, and Lyles figures to be able to do a lot of things passably. Perhaps most importantly, his shooting form suggests he may be able to fill the role of a stretch-4 on offense, despite shooting just 13.8 percent from three in college.

The downside on Lyles is that he doesn't come to Utah with any skills that are near NBA level yet. He can do a lot of things well, but hasn't really proved he can do anything great.

And on a team rife with NBA talent, Lyles often faded into the background. That, of course, was due in part to playing out of position (Kentucky's loaded front court necessitated playing Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein inside), but elite talent still should've shown through that issue.

Ben Anderson @BensHoops

You can also play the less optimistic card with Lyles. He was outshined consistently when playing with and against better talent.

But with the No. 12 pick, you're not likely to find a superstar. Selecting a solid, high-character player who can do a little bit of everything as a backup big was safe and understandable.

Jeremiah Jensen @JJSportsBeat

Dennis Lindsey on Lyles: "As much as we like him physically from a talent and skill standpoint his makeup is Jazz DNA through and through."

Grade: B

Olivier Hanlan, Boston College, 6'4", PG/SG

2014-15 Stats: 19.5 PTS, 4.2 REB, 4.2 AST, 35.3 3P%

Above all else, Hanlan brings a natural feel for scoring to the Jazz. He led the ACC, arguably the best conference in college basketball, in scoring during his last season at Boston College.

The ability to effectively use ball screens, play at different speeds and shoot a decent percentage from the perimeter served Hanlan well in college and will be even more important in the NBA.

Josh Riddell of DraftExpress explained why:

While Hanlan has decent size for a combo guard... his athleticism is average compared to most NBA guards. He doesn't have blazing speed but is capable of pushing the ball in transition and changes speeds well to beat defenders. He is a skilled offensive player which helps him overcome his lack of superior athletic tools, and he will need to demonstrate his skill set can help him succeed at the next level.

A skilled guard who has some natural scoring ability makes sense for the Jazz, who struggled mightily to find any offensive production from point guards Dante Exum and Trey Burke.

However, three-point shooting is perhaps Utah's single biggest need and there may have been some two-birds-with-one-stone players available when the Jazz grabbed Hanlan.

Joseph Young of Oregon, Tyler Harvey of Eastern Washington and Michael Frazier of Florida all share a few of Hanlan's traits as a scorer, while projecting to be better three-point shooters.

Grade: B-

Utah is building something that has the potential to be very special in this Jazz squad, with budding talent all over the roster.

Avoiding the temptation to move any of those pieces in draft-day deals and deciding to merely use the picks was the right move.

Lyles and Hanlan may not blow anyone away, but they're headed to a great situation, with a coach and front office devoted to individual and collective development.

If Snyder can unlock the potential for versatility that both Lyles and Hanlan possess, this Jazz team that already played at a 50-plus-win pace after the All-Star break in 2013-14 will be knocking on the door of the Western Conference postseason.

Unless otherwise noted, all stats and salary figures are courtesy of NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com and are current as of June 26, 2015.   

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him @AndrewDBailey.


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