Dalton Knecht only makes sense for the Utah Jazz if they're in "win-now" mode

The Utah Jazz could really use a guy like Dalton Knecht if the plan is to "win-now".
Tennessee v Purdue
Tennessee v Purdue / Mike Mulholland/GettyImages

The Utah Jazz have the 10th pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Not great, but all things considered they got to keep the pick, thus making the tanking of the 2023-2024 season not a complete waste. Had the pick fallen to the 11th spot or later, the Utah Jazz would’ve lost the pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder. So while the 10th spot is the worst outcome the team could’ve had while keeping the pick, they still kept the pick, and that’s the important thing.

With the pick being at the 10th spot in the NBA Draft, a lot of guys who the Utah Jazz should take may be off the board by then, but not by much. A lot of the “top” guys in this draft are where they are because of their potential, not talent. The Utah Jazz don’t need any more “potential” if they intend on winning now, they need talent. So it makes sense to draft the ready-to-play types. 

So it’s not surprising that HoopsHype is calling for the Jazz to take Dalton Knecht, the 23-year-old forward out of Tennessee.

Knecht is a 20-point scorer, with a near 40% average from three, and as of press time had the fifth highest vertical leap in the NBA combine at 39’’. Not to mention, he’s also a fantastic defender on the perimeter. He’s exactly what the Jazz need, the only reason he’s the 10th pick in the eyes of some and not the first is because he’s 23 already. Most top picks are barely out of their teens. Meaning that Knecht is closer to the timeline of a team like the Utah Jazz than say the Detroit Pistons or Charlotte Hornets. It’s the lone gripe against him as a player.

Which is exactly why the Utah Jazz should draft him, assuming that they’re serious about winning this season. If the plan is to tank again, then Knecht isn’t for the Jazz. If they’re planning to compete, however, they should take the older prospect, as he’ll be far more in line with what the team wants to do currently. Not to mention that being 23 gives someone a load of more maturity than an 18-19 year old.

This doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to transition to the NBA game, but it does give him a bit of a better foundation to make that move. Plus if he does replicate his success in college at the pro level, then we’re going to have one heck of a player for a long time to come.