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Utah Jazz late round NBA Draft prospects ones to watch at NCAA Sweet 16

Gary Harris, Michigan State
Gary Harris, Michigan StateSteve Dykes

You’ve already heard about the Utah Jazz snagging a lottery pick in the NBA Draft. And with a pick that could range from Nos. 1 to 12, it's the most intriguing draft class to Jazz fans.

As the worst team in the Western Conference -- with the fourth worst record in the NBA -- as of Wednesday, March 26, the Jazz have a better than average chance of getting a Jabari-type talent.

Yet the Jazz also happen to hold the No. 23 pick in this year’s draft -- which is where many prospects currently playing in the NCAA Sweet 16 happen to reside.

Let’s take a look at some of players you're watching right now that the Jazz might take at No. 23.

Gary Harris, Michigan State
Gary Harris, Michigan State Steve Dykes

Gary Harris, Michigan State

Harris is your typical Tom Izzo-coached guard. He’s physical, he’s bigger than most guards his age and he’s a fighter. At 19 years of age, he’s wise beyond his years in some cases, giving the Spartans a legitimate shot at fulfilling President Barack Obama’s prophecy and winning it all at this NCAA Tournament.

The problem is, the sophomore can’t shoot as well as other guards (42 pct from field, 35 from three) -- which is dropping his draft stock. At one point, Harris was being mentioned as a late lottery pick; now he’s out of the lotto altogether. A great performance at the Sweet 16 and beyond will only help his chances.

Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville Mike Ehrmann

Montrezl Harrell, Louisville

Harrell is another wildcard. He’s an undersized power forward for the NBA -- but he's physical. At only 6-foot-8, his work ethic reminds you of another undersized four in Paul Millsap -- you all know how that turned out -- and like the Hawks All-Star Harrell is adapt at cleaning the glass, averaging over eight boards per game.

His 60 percent field goal shooting percentage is solid too for a big man -- but where he lacks polish is free throws; he shoots just 46 percent from the line. That said, he has intangibles; he’s still young at 20, he prepped at a military academy graduate and comes from a small North Carolina town. In other words, he’s a good fit in Utah. His draft stock will only rise with every good game at March Madness.

James Young, Kentucky
James Young, Kentucky Andy Lyons

James Young, Kentucky

Young is a serious consideration for the Jazz, because he’s yet another in a long line of one-and-done’s at Kentucky. The Jazz already have one such player from UK in center Enes Kanter; it wouldn’t be a stretch for them to take Young, who will be a big two or three in the NBA at 6-7 with a great wingspan.

The reason he’s unlikely for the Jazz is his defense, which sounds like a cop-out considering the guy can play two positions. The second reason is his shooting touch is still a work in progress. The only reason the Jazz might gamble on him is he may be growing at just age 17 -- and there aren't many guards his size who can shoot almost 40 percent from three

Zach LaVine, UCLA
Zach LaVine, UCLA Jeff Gross

Zach LaVine, UCLA

LaVine was a relative unknown who exploded up this draft class based on his freakish athletic ability. He can shoot, he can defend and he has size at 6-5 for a two-guard. The Bothell, Washington freshman averaged just a shade under 10 points per game for the Bruins this season.

But his draft stock may be trending down as he has been ice-cold at this NCAA Tournament going into the Sweet 16.

Nick Johnson, Arizona
Nick Johnson, Arizona Jeff Gross

Nick Johnson, Arizona

Johnson is the opposite of LaVine. His draft stock was trending down -- until his junior year, that is. This season has been great for Johnson, an undersized 6-foot-2 two-guard who comes from NBA royalty. (His uncle is Boston Celtics great Dennis Johnson.)

Johnson can stroke the long ball, shooting 45 percent from the field and 38 from three-point land -- a figure he has nearly doubled at the NCAA Tournament. The Jazz would be foolish not to take a look at him for that reason alone -- though he is clearly a slasher who likes to create his shot.