The Utah Jazz had one of their worst seasons in years. As a bonus for that awful campaign the Jazz will now enter the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday, May 21. At stake is the opportunity to select a player who may become a household name.
At the top of everyone’s list is Kansas star Andrew Wiggins. Next on that list is Duke star Jabari Parker. Third is Kansas center Joel Embiid--though rumors have him slipping due to medical reasons. And finally, there is Australian guard Dante Exum who impressed at the NBA Combine last week, as well as Kentucky forward Julius Randle and Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart.
In sum, the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery is loaded with top talent. Any of the six mentioned could go on to be All-Stars in a draft class that is the most anticipated in decades. As for the Jazz, they are currently sitting in the No. 4 spot -- but could move up or down depending on how the ping pong balls fall on Tuesday.
Utah currently has a 10.5 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick. Their chances increase to 11.2 percent for the second pick and to 12.09 for the third selection. They have a 9.85 chance of staying put where they are right now at No. 4.
But the most annoying stat to Jazz fans might be that their team stands a 37 percent chance of moving down to No. 5 -- and they have a 17.75 chance of getting the sixth pick. In other words, the Jazz have a better chance of going down in the NBA Draft Order than up.
Nevertheless, it seems the Jazz have plans -- if all of the mock drafts are to be believed, that is. Here are Utah’s top five likely lottery picks.
Jabari Parker, Duke
The rub: Parker appears to be the Jazz’ top target -- but nobody knows for sure. One thing is clear, though. Parker will not be available to the Jazz unless they get into the top three. Utah needs a small forward--unless Gordon Hayward re-signs.
Upside: natural scorer, team player, mature, high character, Mormon
Downside: suspect defender at times, below average foot speed
Joel Embiid, Kansas
The rub: If you’re the Jazz, do you pass on Embiid--who is drawing comparisons to Tim Duncan? The 7-footer has had some medical problems but rarely, if ever, do you see a player with skills like Embiid’s.
Upside: Atheticism, footwork, explosive on offense and defense
Downside: Back problems, foul troubles, discipline
Dante Exum, Australia
The rub: Exum has the most unique package of tools since Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway. At 6-6 he can handle the rock like a point guard--but his shooting is a major question mark.
Upside: Versatility, talent, quickness
Downside: Shooting touch, unfamiliarity
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
The rub: Jazz fans may be wondering why Wiggins is the Jazz’ fourth likely target--when he’s the odds-on No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. Here’s why: his work ethic. Is he Michael Jordan or Rudy Gay? Some scouts say it’s the latter.
Upside: Freakish athletic ability, great defender
Downside: Work ethic, immaturity
Kyle Anderson, UCLA
Jazz fans might wonder why Anderson gets a look here. If the Jazz get the No. 6 or No. 7 pick--and cannot trade down---you might see them select the UCLA product. Anderson is versatile at 6-9 to play point guard--and is a dark horse lottery pick.
Upside: Versatility, coachable, ball handling, length
Downside: Foot speed, quickness