Jazz may get best player in the 2024 NBA Draft after alarming news

The Jazz could walk away with the top prospect in the 2024 NBA Draft.
Utah Jazz, Danny Ainge
Utah Jazz, Danny Ainge / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

The Utah Jazz are entering year three of a total rebuild and searching for young talent to add to their core. Lauri Markkanen became an All-Star with the franchise. His star turn has prevented Utah from completely bottoming out and left them without that top draft pick to make their centerpiece.

Jazz CEO Danny Ainge helped build the Celtics championship roster. He drafted Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown before being replaced by Brad Stevens in 2021. Ainge knows how to construct a contender, but needs more time in Salt Lake City. Fans should have faith, and things could quickly brighten up.

The Jazz are set to select tenth, 29th, and 32nd in the 2024 NBA Draft. This class lacks top-end talent but has depth. Utah’s lottery pick got significantly more interesting as one of the most talented players in this class received unfortunate news that will force him to fall.

Jazz may land Nikola Topic with the 10th overall pick

The 6’6 guard was a projected top-five pick before suffering multiple knee injuries this season. He currently has a partially torn ACL and may miss his entire rookie season recovering from surgery. It is not the ideal start to his NBA career, but Topic has the potential to be the top player in this class.

The 18-year-old averaged 14.5 points, 5.5 assists, 3.2 rebounds, and 0.9 steals in 27.8 minutes per game playing professionally in Europe. He shot 49.8 percent from the field, but just 30.6 percent on his threes over his 23 contests this season.

Topic is arguably the best passer and playmaker in this class. He could form a dynamic pick-and-roll duo with any big, and Utah offers two starkly different options to choose from in Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler. Many believe his jumper will develop into a plus weapon. Topic could be an elite offensive creator and his size gives him defensive potential.

There are still questions about his overall game. Can Topic improve his jumper? Does he get fully locked in on defense? Taking a shot on his upside makes logical sense, especially for a team in a rebuild. The Jazz must be willing to wait a full year, but the payoff could be the best player in this draft.

Nikola Topic falls to 10th in ESPN’s latest mock draft

The Jazz need a pass-first point guard capable of running their offense and creating open looks. Topic won’t get the shot to blossom immediately, but he can still be impactful. This fit makes perfect sense, but nobody saw his stock fading. ESPN had him going tenth overall (subscription required), despite missing a full year in their mock draft released one week before draft night.

The Utah Jazz cannot pass up on the opportunity to add a marquee talent. Nikola Topic proved he can play professional basketball and will continue to improve. The Jazz need a lead ball-handler and shot creator of the present and future. This is the perfect match, assuming the 18-year-old point guard is still on the board when they select on June 26.