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Utah Jazz: Late lottery pick prospects at March Madness should intrigue fans

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If the ping pong balls don’t fall in the Utah Jazz favor, never fear. The Jazz -- and GM Dennis Lindsey -- have been known to find ways to make a draft memorable.

One way is to find a diamond in the rough, like Creighton star Doug McDermott -- whose team lost to Baylor Sunday, March 23 in the Round of 32 at the NCAA Tournament.

March Madness didn't pan out for Duke star Jabari Parker -- but his drop in draft stock means he could fall to the Jazz at No. 4.

Meanwhile, if the Jazz aren’t as fortunate to have Parker slip to them as speculated -- or he stays at Duke for another year, as reported by ESPN -- there are still plenty of good options for Utah to choose from at the 2014 NBA Draft.

Doug McDermott, Creighton
Doug McDermott, Creighton Ronald Martinez

Doug McDermott, Creighton

The one they call “McBuckets” is an intriguing potential pick for the Jazz, for several reasons. If you look back at great Jazz shooting guards/forwards they all had several things in common (Bobby Hansen, Kyle Korver and now Gordon Hayward).

One was they were white. Say what you will, but it’s true. Second, they’re from the Midwest and third, they can all shoot lights out -- with the gym lights off. If Jazz employee (and fellow Midwesterner) Jerry Sloan hasn’t seen this guy play, I'd be shocked.

McDermott is a poor man’s Jabari. He‘s 6-8. 241 pounds, and at an advanced age (22) for this tender draft class. He was also this year’s Jimmer, leading the nation in scoring at over 26 points per game and led his team to the Round of 32. “McBuckets” is also from Creighton -- a la Korver. 

Kyle Anderson, UCLA
Kyle Anderson, UCLA Jeff Gross

Kyle Anderson, UCLA

The product of Bob Hurley’s St. Anthony high school basketball dynasty started slow in Westwood -- but has exploded onto the scene since Steve Alford became coach.

Perhaps Alford’s hard-nosed approach resonates more with Anderson -- and it’s why the Jazz system fits well.

He has some knocks; he’s not good at creating his own shot -- but he’s a great rebounder, long, disruptive on defense and has excellent court vision for a big man. Those are intangibles Lindsey likes.

He averages 15 points per game for a loaded Bruins team crushing everyone in the NCAA Tournament -- and his stock is rising fast at March Madness.

Nik Stauskas, Michigan
Nik Stauskas, Michigan Jonathan Daniel

Nik Stauskas, Michigan

Trey Burke’s backcourt mate is primarily a pull-up shooter -- not a spot shooter -- so that doesn’t bode well for the 6-foot-6 Canadian’s chances to play in Utah. 

He has been lethal from the perimeter as Big Blue continues its march through March Madness into the Sweet 16. He also gets check marks for being from the Midwest, white and being a great shooter.

But the knock on him is similar to the one Jazz fans heard about Jimmer before the BYU star was drafted. He can’t defend, he lacks length and he isn’t very athletic.

That said, he averages about 18 points per game and shoots insanely well for a big man (54 percent from the field, 45 from three) to not be considered.

Rodney Hood, Duke
Rodney Hood, Duke Grant Halverson

Rodney Hood, Duke

The sophomore transfer from Mississippi State is fast and can shoot the ball from deep (42 percent for the Blue Devils this year).

His only season at Duke didn’t go the way he hoped but the good news is he is still being pegged as a mid-round or late lottery pick.

Here’s the skinny on Hood: he’s 6-foot-8, 200 pounds so he‘s about as big as Jabari -- but he’s not as bulky, long or athletic.

He’s also a jump-shooter, which fits right into the Jazz’ system. He averaged about 16 points per game for Coach Mike Kryszewski at Duke -- and he’s advanced in age for this draft class at 21.

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