Taylor Hendricks could be a star in the making

Taylor Hendricks, Utah Jazz (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Taylor Hendricks, Utah Jazz (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

The Utah Jazz entered the offseason with the No. 9 pick in the NBA Draft. Leading up to draft week, the Jazz had a lot of eyes on them. With no clear favorite for the team to select with their lottery pick, it was a mystery to see who fell to them ninth overall.

Nonetheless, the team came out with UCF star Taylor Hendricks and arguably got one of the highest-potential prospects in the draft.

Hendricks could be the next Jazz star

Hendricks was a hot name entering draft week. The 19-year-old’s stock seemed to be constantly rising, and on draft night, it felt like a safe bet to lock the forward in as a top-10 selection.

At 6-foot-9, Hendricks possesses every skill you’d want in a lottery pick. In his first year with the Knights, the freshman averaged 15.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists on 47.8% shooting from field goal range and 39.4% from three. Not only does he give the Jazz another scoring option with his versatility on offense, but he also showed potential as an elite defender, averaging 1.7 blocks per game and just under one steal per game.

Hendricks could not only impact the Jazz immediately but could shock many with his length, size, and fundamentals that can easily translate to the NBA. With his ability to score and impressive defense, the big man could easily develop into one of the better two-way players. If Hendricks manages to develop more into a shot creator, he could be a scary matchup for opposing defenses.

The Jazz enter the season loaded with frontcourt depth, including Lauri Markkanen, John Collins, and Kelly Olynyk. While it may look as if Hendricks has a tough path to seeing early minutes, it’s clear Utah’s CEO Danny Ainge and head coach Will Hardy would like to get their top selection early minutes.

With Ainge’s track record for drafting and developing high-potential forwards like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the blueprints from each of the two’s rookie seasons suggest Hendricks could be thrown into the fire.

Regardless, the young Jazz squad is already considered a team on the rise, but with Hendricks and fellow first-round pick Keyonte George incoming, the team’s future looks bright.