Utah Jazz: Possible No. 12 Picks


With the NBA Draft Lottery in the rearview and the Utah Jazz remaining outside of the top 10, who are the prospects the team could look to select?

The Utah Jazz had just a 2.94 percent chance of snatching a top-three spot in the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday, but instead, things went pretty much as expected. The top pick went to the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Jazz secured the No. 12 pick.

It is now officially time to cast your predictions. The Jazz are already a formidable team. Add the right player and they will become downright astounding. Who will the Jazz pick in the NBA draft on June 23rd?

Denzel Valentine

Last season, DraftExpress had the most accurate mock draft. They were one of the few to predict that the Jazz would draft Trey Lyles. DraftExpress currently has the Jazz using their twelfth pick to take Denzel Valentine, a 6’6 senior from Michigan State. Bleacher Report also has the Valentine going to the Jazz with the twelfth pick in their mock draft.

After being voted a Big Ten All-Conference Player as a junior, Valentine elevated his game to a whole new level. During his senior year, he averaged an impressive 19.2 points, 7.5 boards, 7.8 assists and 1.0 steals with a 46.2 FG%.

Mar 5, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Denzel Valentine (45) attempts a 3 point shot during the second half of a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 5, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Denzel Valentine (45) attempts a 3 point shot during the second half of a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports /

Unfortunately, his season came to an early end when Michigan State was eliminated from the NCAA tournament in a surprising upset against the No. 15 seed Middle Tennessee State. Nonetheless, Valentine emerged as one of the most skilled and efficient players in the NCAA.

His biggest strength going into the NBA Draft is that he plays an incredibly well-rounded game. The shooting guard has a 6-foot-10 wingspan and weighs 220 pounds. He is a proven scorer and averaged 44 percent from behind the three-point line. Not only is he a reliable shooter, he has the size and skill to pull down rebounds and lead a breakaway.

He has impressive on-court vision and effective passing abilities, both of which are unique for a player his size. Spending four years with Michigan State helped him develop his decision-making. He knows how to read early offensive situations and has the skills to act accordingly. Valentine is the first college player over 6’5 to average over nine assists per 40-minutes since 1988.

In his NBA Draft scouting report, Jonathan Givony said that Valentine might have “the highest basketball IQ of any player in this draft, as his timing and instincts as a playmaker are simply off the charts.”

It’s difficult to find any holes when looking at the versatility of his game. But when it comes to playing in the NBA, Valentine might lack the extraordinary athleticism that is so favored in the league. Still, his skill and overall versatility make him an obvious contender in the draft.

Furkan Korkmaz

ESPN and NBAdraft.net both have the Utah Jazz drafting Furkan Korkmaz, an outside shooter from Turkey. At just 18 years old, Korkmaz is likely to be viewed by teams as a long-term investment.

The 6’7 swingman proved to have his weaknesses throughout his European career, but he is able to stay in front of opposing shooters when he capitalizes on his speed and size. And his offensive contributions are dynamic and indispensable.

His shooting is one of his biggest strengths. Despite averaging just 24 minutes a game, Korkmaz managed to lead his team in scoring. In addition to the quickness necessary to blow past defenders, Korkmaz has an impressive ability to pull-up confidently from both the mid- and three-point range.

His form is slightly unconventional. He slings the ball back behind his head before getting off a high-arching shot. His form almost resembles that of Sam Dekker. Although there is a chance that his unconventional form is responsible for preventing consistency, he manages to release the ball off his fingertips and follow through normally.

Unlike most outside shooters, Korkmaz has an ability to expertly use back doors to cut to the hoop when the opportunity presents itself. He also shows an ability to create shots for his teammates. He uses his size to make skip passes to perimeter shooters and his long arms to find defensive gaps to connect with big men who can attack the rim.

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On the defensive end, Korkmaz shows obvious weaknesses. His turnovers and lack of strength also present challenges, but can be attributed to his age. When not directly involved in a play, however, he appears to be disengaged, something will not translate well over in the NBA.

Next: Have the Utah Jazz Angered the Draft Gods?

If the Jazz draft Korkmaz, it could be a beneficial relationship for both parties. Korkmaz has everything necessary to be a great secondary offensive option. And while Korkmaz’s current overall game is far from perfect, he is a smart player and the Jazz have proven to be a club where players can go and develop.