With the first pick in the 2018 G-League Draft, the Utah Jazz affiliate team — the Salt Lake City Stars — picked up NBA veteran Willie Reed.
After a long offseason, the Utah Jazz are back in effect once again with a ho-hum win over the Sacramento Kings and heartbreaking loss to the Golden State Warriors already under their belts. Utah’s G-League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, will follow suit in just under two weeks time; the team returns to action on November 2.
Really, though, the 2018-19 G-League calendar tipped off in earnest on Saturday with the 2018 draft, where the Stars held the top selection. Despite rumblings they could deal the pick, the Stars ultimately settled on five-year NBA veteran Willie Reed at No. 1 overall.
Reed has averaged just under five points and four boards per game in the Association.
The 28-year-old is most notable for his inclusion in the big Blake Griffin trade last February. Reed, Griffin and Brice Johnson were dealt by the LA Clippers to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic and picks ahead of the 2018 trade deadline.
Having said that, Reed is much more than a footnote to a blockbuster deal. He’s a 6-foot-11 big man with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, inside presence, the ability to take the ball on a roll and finish above the rim and a track record as good defender.
Reed is also a world-class rebounder, particularly on the offensive glass. Over 152 career NBA games with the Pistons, Clips, Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets, he boasts on offensive rebound rate of just under 12.5 percent. His O-REB rate in the G-League is even more impressive, coming in at 13.61 percent.
Stars coach Martin Schiller put it much more simply, saying “The first thing that we like about him is that he’s the best player in the draft, by far.”
For my part, I’d say that’s pretty solid reasoning for making a pick. And I see the selection as a good one for the Stars and the Jazz.
Over the summer, the Darius Bazley hype train was running strong, but with him altering course on going to the G-League from high school (his fit was questionable, anyway), a legit NBA-level talent who can help the Jazz if the need arises is probably better than developing a player who will ultimately belong to someone else.