With the long-anticipated NBA Combine in Chicago set to take place later next week featuring stars like Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, the Utah Jazz still had plenty of work to do Thursday, May 8 as pre-draft camp workouts continued for the second day at Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City.
Stanford star Josh Huestis highlighted the six players in attendance at the ZBBC on Thursday. Huestis, a 6-foot-7-inch, 223-pound small forward from Great Falls, Montana is ticketed to be a late-second-round choice, according to the latest mock draft on Thursday from the Website DraftXpress.com.
The Jazz currently have the No. 4, No. 23 and No. 34 overall selections at the 2014 NBA Draft. Huestis averaged 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks for the Cardinal this season, helping lead them to the NCAA Tournament. He is seen as a poor man’s Jabari Parker who plays better defense than Parker, displays a capable offensive game and does have the ability to play in transition.
The difference between Parker and Huestis is that Huestis is not good at putting the ball on the floor, according to Draft Xpress reporter Jonathan Givony, and he added Huestis also had an underwhelming performance at the Portsmouth Invitational.
The Jazz have already said publicly that if they aren’t able to secure a high lottery pick -- presumably for either Wiggins, Jabari or for Dante Exum, the three players Utah reportedly is interested in -- they may trade down for more picks in the later round, or trade out of the draft altogether.
Huestis fits into either plan, because he is likely to be available in the second round when the Jazz select No. 34 -- or if the Jazz do indeed move down or out of the draft.
Another player to keep an eye on is Oakland shooting guard Travis Bader, who was also at the ZBBC Thursday. He stole the show in Portsmouth -- and solidified his position as someone to watch going into the NBA Combine, also the place where ex-Weber State star and NBA All-Star Damian Lillard saw his draft stock skyrocket a few years back. Bader also broke J.J. Redick's long standing NCAA record for three-point shots made while at Oakland.
Other players who worked out for the Jazz on Thursday included Memphis point guard Joe Jackson who at just 6 feet tall appears to be undersized for an NBA guard. That said, he was a McDonald's All-American coming out of high school; he just never seemed to reach his potential in college.
Appearing on Thursday as well was combo guard Cameron Clark of Oklahoma who at 6-6 reminds you of a poor man’s Dante Exum because of his ability to get to the rim. Justin Cobbs of Cal also worked out for the Jazz and at 6-3 is good at pushing tempo, has good size and could be a good role player because of his ability to find the open man (he had a 3-to-1 assist to turnover ratio).
Fuquan Edwin of Seton Hall rounded out Thursday’s participants, another combo guard who at 6-6 can shoot the three and play lockdown defense, both of which are areas Utah needs to improve next season.