The Utah Jazz had lady luck bite them in the hind quarters of the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday, May 20 when they received the No. 5 pick. But, it could have been worse; the Jazz could have received the No. 6 or No. 7 selections--leaving them out of the top 5 entirely.
What makes matters worse is that the two players the Jazz have long coveted--forwards Jabari Parker of Duke and Kansas sensation Andrew Wiggins--will likely be off the board when the Jazz pick. Or will they? In a Salt Lake Tribune article by reporter Tony Jones on Wednesday, May 21 he outlined to a degree how Parker could still fall to the Jazz at No. 5.
Here’s the thing: Jones barely scratched the surface at the notion that Utah is still in good shape to get Parker at No. 5. There are so many ways that either Parker or Wiggins could end up in a Jazz uniform, fulfilling that one need at the three spot that Utah currently has, that it really is ridiculous.
For starters, Gordon Hayward is likely to pursue other NBA teams this off-season, which means that the Jazz must either draft Parker or Wiggins to get a player of comparable value at the small forward position. Here are five ways the Jazz can still get Parker--or even Wiggins--at that No. 5 draft spot.
The Joel Embiid factor
The status of Kansas center Joel Embiid’s back has the potential to throw off the entire 2014 NBA Draft Order. Cleveland has the first pick and will almost certainly select Embiid there--if he’s healthy.
Dante Exum factor
In turn, Embiid’s medical clearance would create a domino effect for teams needing point guards because teams picking after Cleveland might select based on their needs--not wants.
At two, Milwaukee would go for a point guard like Dante Exum--the only top 5 participant at the NBA Combine in Chicago. Wiggins would go to the Sixers, and Orlando would grab a point guard, leaving Utah with Parker.
Kevin Love trade
If Joel Embiid’s back is the X-factor at the 2014 NBA Draft, the potential trade of All-Star forward Kevin Love from Minnesota to any number of NBA teams in the draft lottery is the Y.
The only problem is, the top two teams interested in pursuing Love--the Lakers and Celtics--now have the worst lottery picks in the draft at Nos. 6 and 7.
But Cleveland doesn’t, and the Cavs may be open to trading for Love, whose presence even for one year in Cleveland could equate to a playoff run. If Minnesota trades into the draft you can guarantee they’ll pursue Wiggins, which opens the door for Milwaukee selecting Exum. Philly would take Embiid at No. 3 and Orlando would take a point guard, leaving Parker at No. 5 to Utah.
LeBron James trade
Rumors persist that LeBron James may seek a trade from Miami back to Cleveland. For starters, Dwyane Wade is aging fast--and so is the brunt of the Heat roster. Anything less than a title this year for Miami could precipitate a LeBron trade.
Miami would obviously take Cleveland’s No. 1 pick and select Wiggins--or would they? If Wade is getting up there in age, might it be wise to consider Dante Exum? That would leave Milwaukee to select Embiid, Philly to take Wiggins and Orlando to draft a point guard. Then the Jazz would still take Parker at No. 5.
Just because everyone assumes that Parker is a can’t miss top 3 draft prospect doesn’t mean the Duke star can’t slide in the 2014 NBA Draft Order. Parker did not participate in the 2014 NBA Combine in Chicago--but then again, neither did Wiggins nor Embiid--so any opportunity that any team will have might come in the form of a private workout.
Let’s face facts. Parker does not have Wiggins’ lightning speed, athleticism or defensive prowess. Any of these weaknesses could come back to haunt Parker in pre-draft workouts. On the flip side, you might see Wiggins fall to No. 5 because of his immaturity and lack of leadership ability. Either way, at No. 5 you cannot count out either Parker or Wiggins falling to the Jazz.