NBA Draft: Utah Jazz first round mock draft

Taylor Hendricks, UCF Knights (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Taylor Hendricks, UCF Knights (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Among the Utah Jazz’s arsenal of draft picks this Thursday are the 9th, 16th, and 28th overall picks in the 2023 NBA Draft. While not landing a higher draft pick in the lottery was a disappointment for many fans hoping to bring Scoot Henderson or Victor Webanyama to Utah, there will still be solid future NBA players later in the draft.

As with all previous drafts, this one projects to be full of twists and turns, ensuring an interesting two rounds. Mock drafts are all but certain among the NBA draft community. And with that being said, here is my first-round prediction for the Jazz.

Round 1, No. 9 overall: Taylor Hendricks

Hendricks wowed scouts and fans during his freshman season at UCF, showing his two-way versatility. 3 and D wings are the most coveted types of players in today’s league. Hendricks shot near 40% from three-point range last season on over 4.5 shots per game. His agility on the defensive side of the floor is very Jerami Grant-esque. While he has some work to do to stay with quicker players, he has some serious potential to be able to guard all positions.

Possibly the most intriguing part of his game is the fact that he played some center in high school. At 6’8″ and a 7’1″ wingspan, Hendricks shows the upside of playing some small-ball center minutes in the NBA, yet another skill that is very sought after.

His fit with the Utah Jazz would be seamless. He can play either forward position, meaning he can cover for Lauri Markkanen defensively and be the perfect outlet pass when the guards drive. Look for Coach Will Hardy to play Hendricks in a role similar to what O.G. Anunoby did for Toronto this past season.

Cason Wallace, Kentucky (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Cason Wallace, Kentucky (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Round 1, No. 16 overall: Cason Wallace

Wallace is all over everyone’s big boards. He can be seen going as high as 10 or as low as 20. Projected as being the 6th or 7th best guard in the draft, behind the likes of the Thompson Twins and Anthony Black. Wallace is a knockdown off-ball shooter who is effective on ball defense, so why would Wallace fall to 16? During his freshman season at Kentucky, Wallace was very limited due to a nagging back injury.

Injury aside, if Ainge can land Wallace here at 16 or potentially move up as rumored, he makes a great fit with Collin Sexton in the backcourt, covering for a lot of Sexton’s defensive liabilities.

Colby Jones, Xavier (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Colby Jones, Xavier (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Round 1, No. 28 overall: Colby Jones

Jones is a late riser, but he’s without a doubt NBA-ready. A versatile off guard with a crazy pull-up game, he averaged 15 PPG for the Xavier Musketeers last season on a 58% true shooting percentage. Most have Jones mocked in the second round, but I like what I saw last season. He is a patient playmaker who is more than willing to wait for the defense to make a mistake.

On the other end of the floor, Jones can be a little slow on his feet, but he dodges screens at a high level. A level that needs improvement but with the right development, the Xavier product could be an impressive defender.