The Jazz need help in the worst possible way. What better way than to snag one or more NBA draft prospects in what is expected to be the best class in decades?
Andrew Wiggins of Kansas saw his March Madness dreams come to a screeching halt against a Stanford zone defense in the round of 32 -- and Duke star and Jazz fan sentimental favorite Jabari Parker was stunned by tiny Mercer. Plenty of others, including Julius Randle of Kentucky, however, remain.
The Jazz would love to have any one of those guys -- especially Parker. So could the Jazz stand to lose another game to help their draft status? Yes. But, you can’t lose them all. Here are the five top Jazz draft prospects you are -- or aren’t -- watching as March Madness unfolds.
Jabari Parker, Duke
The one-and-done Dukie and former BYU prospect might not be one-and-done with Coach K -- if you believe everything you read in the media. He had 14 points in Duke’s upset loss to Mercer in the round of 64.
The general consensus is that Parker is done, primarily for financial reasons. He doesn’t want to risk injury. There is the possibility he opts to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- but by doing that he might hurt his draft status and bottom line.
He stands to make millions, particularly in a Utah Jazz uniform where his religious status and athletic ability could make him a bigger commodity than Jimmer ever was.
Andrew Wiggins - Kansas
Though it has been widely rumored that the Los Angeles Lakers are opting to tank in order to grab the Canadian wunderkind (and their losing record does equate) the Jazz are still in a good position to grab the Kansas star as well.
He's a good fit in Utah because his athletic ability is off the charts and his defensive skills are better than many believe.
The one good thing -- since we’re on the subject of tanking -- is Wiggins’ college career came to a halt on Sunday, March 23 as his Jayhawks lost 60-57 to Stanford. His stat line was four points on 1-of-6 shooting.
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
Smart is a possibility for the Jazz because he is a shooting guard -- and the Jazz need help in that area. He had a good NCAA Tournament opener despite watching his team lose to Gonzaga in the round of 64.
He had 23 points, 13 rebounds, and six steals against the Zags -- but buyer beware: he has had a history of problems on and off the court, which is something the Jazz tend to avoid.
Julius Randle, Kentucky
Randle is probably not headed for the Utah Jazz because the team already has Derrick Favors who plays the same position.
Randle is a curiosity because of his ability to handle the basketball - something he has in common with Favors. If the Jazz didn't have Derrick, you can guarantee they'd be going after this guy.
Randle’s motor is always on full blast and he’s been impressive at March Madness -- including a 13 point, 10 rebound outing against previously unbeaten Wichita State.
Aaron Gordon, Arizona
Gordon is also probably not Jazz material because Utah is loaded at the power positions. But Gordon has had a good NCAA Tournament, scoring 16 points and hauling in eight rebounds in a win over Weber State in the round of 64.
He is a big body with good ball handling skills and like Randle, he only plays one way: all out. The one plus to Gordon’s game is that like Randle, he’s a good kid and the Jazz typically favor that over other factors.