Ranking every Utah Jazz player on the roster under the age of 25

Utah Jazz trade for Eric Paschall (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz trade for Eric Paschall (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Utah Jazz are a veteran-heavy, win-now outfit, much to the excitement of their fanbase. Still, an NBA roster is like a family: it’s better when there are kids around.

Beyond their core group of Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley Jr. and others, the Jazz roster plenty of players under the age of 25. Most of them don’t figure to spend a great deal of time on the floor for Head Coach Quin Snyder this season. Still, they’ll gain invaluable experience practicing and bonding with a group of experienced NBA players playing for the Larry O’Brien trophy.

These rankings are fairly subjective: since most of these players have seen very little time in an NBA rotation, their respective statistical profiles hold little relevance in assessing each as prospects. We’re mostly looking at potential and draft pedigree. Here is the J-Notes ranking of every Utah Jazz player under the age of 25.

7. Utah Jazz guard MaCio Teague

Age: 24

Teague finds himself on the bottom of these rankings by virtue of the fact that he is an undrafted rookie who is already pushing NBA middle-age at 24. To his credit, Teague has fought hard to get to the point that he has, and is likely to continue doing so to improve his standing on the Utah Jazz.

His last season at NCAA title-winning Baylor saw him produce 15.9 points per game while shooting 39.5% from three-point range on 5.1 attempts per night. We know he has a flamethrower, but he’ll likely need to display another bankable skill to sustain an NBA career as a 6’4, skinny scoring guard.

6. Utah Jazz guard Miye Oni

Age: 24

The Nigeria-born Oni has had a difficult time demonstrating his value over two seasons with the Utah Jazz. He’s averaged a modest 9.8 minutes per game over that stretch, which is scarcely enough time to establish a proven skill set.

Unfortunately, his per 36 minute averages don’t exactly scream future NBA All-Star, either. The 7.3 points per 36 minutes he averaged last season are uninspiring, but the 35.4% he shot from the field is downright troubling.

It may simply be that Oni needs regular playing time in order to find his rhythm. There is still ample time for the young man to advance his NBA career, but next season projects as another season where he’s unable to find that opportunity with the Utah Jazz.

5. Utah Jazz forward Elijah Hughes

Age: 23

Another Jazzman who has had little opportunity in his NBA career to date, Hughes averaged 3.6 minutes per game throughout his rookie campaign for the Jazz last season. He’s getting the nod over Oni primarily for being a year younger.

Nonetheless, there is an interesting difference when comparing the two Utah Jazz prospects’ per 36 minute averages from last season. Hughes’ average of 17.4 points per 36 minutes does bely a player with enough confidence to seize a limited opportunity. On the other hand, his 33.3% accuracy on field goal attempts does raise questions about the validity of that confidence.

Like Oni, Hughes’ rhythm may benefit from more substantial playing time.

4. Utah Jazz guard Trent Forrest

Age: 23

If Summer League performance factored more prominently into these rankings, Forrest would be number one by a landslide. They don’t, so he lands fourth overall among Utah Jazz players under 25.

Like the two prospects listed ahead of him, Forrest has had limited run at the NBA level to date, averaging 10.1 minutes per game over his 2020-21 rookie year. Still, in both Summer League and limited NBA action, Forrest has demonstrated a penchant for difficult passes that separates him from both Oni and Hughes. The 5.4 assists he averaged per 36 minutes last season represent a solid mark for a first-year player.

If Forrest can continue developing his game, that bankable NBA-level skill should help guide him towards a long, productive career in the Association; maybe even with the Utah Jazz.

3. Utah Jazz guard Jared Butler

Age: 21 

Butler is the first drafted incoming rookie on this list, and at the age of 21, it’s certainly easy to attach the word ‘potential’ to his name. The Utah Jazz will be hoping Butler was the steal of the 2021 NBA draft as the 40th overall pick.

With averages of 16.0 points and 3.1 assists per game, Butler was the most important player on national title winning Baylor. He’ll undoubtably be hoping to win big prizes at the NBA level as well. With a potential vacancy in Quin Snyder’s guard rotation, Butler may have the opportunity to pursue those goals as a rotation player sooner rather than later.

2. Utah Jazz center Udoka Azubuike

Age: 21

Another Utah Jazz soon-to-be sophomore who saw limited run in his rookie season, Azubuike is getting the nod over his similarly situated teammates largely due to his unique and unteachable physical gifts. A 6’10, 280-pound man simply should not be able to jump that high, or that quickly.

Those qualities give Azubuike a ceiling that few other prospects on the Jazz can claim. He needs to cut down on his fouls: the 5.7 he averaged per 36 minutes over his 2020-21 rookie season are at a minimum one-and-a-half too many. Still, the 2.5 shots he blocked per 36 minutes are very encouraging.

Azubuike is a rare athletic force in need of polish. Hopefully, he’ll learn from recently acquired Utah Jazz veteran Hassan Whiteside this season, who was once a raw, athletic big man himself.

1. Utah Jazz forward Eric Paschall

Age: 24 

There is a very significant difference between Paschall and every other player that populates this list: he is a proven NBA commodity. As a rookie on the Golden State Warriors in 2019-20, Paschall averaged 14.0 points per game.

Finally, a Utah Jazz prospect whose stats don’t need to be measured per 36 minutes to glean anything meaningful from them.

It’s almost unfathomable that Paschall became available for the cost of a future protected second-round pick, yet that’s exactly what he cost the Jazz to acquire. His defensive presence is middling-at-best, but the point remains: Paschall can get buckets at the NBA level. A combo forward who can even man the 5 spot for small-ball formations, Paschall offers the Jazz some positional flexibility in addition to his scoring prowess.

Next. Ranking the Jazz among Northwest Division rivals. dark

The Utah Jazz are in the thick of contention for the NBA championship. As such, prospect development is not a top priority for this club. Nonetheless, there is young talent on this roster, and Jazz fans will all be hoping to see each of these players fulfil their potential in due time.