NBA PM: Jazz Have No Plans To Trade Up In Draft
Utah Jazz Not Planning On Trading Into First Round: After missing the playoffs in a 2011 campaign mired in plenty of drama which included longtime head coach Jerry Sloan abruptly stepping down and All-Star point guard Deron Williams’ unexpected trade to the Brooklyn Nets, the Utah Jazz bounced back to finish the 2012 regular season 36-30 to earn a spot in this year’s playoffs.
Unfortunately for Jazz fans the trip back to the postseason was a short-lived one as the team was swept in emphatic fashion in the opening round by the San Antonio Spurs. Even with the disappointing playoff setback, there’s no denying that the Jazz have a solid mixture of talent on the roster going forward and just need to add a few more pieces into the fold.
However it doesn’t appear the Jazz have any intentions on bolstering their roster depth utilizing this month’s draft, which is widely considered to be one of the deepest in years. The Jazz do not own a first round pick this year and unless they swing a trade to improve their draft position will select at No. 47 overall, which will be long after the upper tier talent is off the board.
But according to Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor, the team has no plans to trade into the first round despite the talent that will be available near the top.
“We’ve got four lottery picks from the last two years,” O’Connor told Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune referencing Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. “So unless we find something we really like, we really don’t want to disturb things too much.”
Most expected the Jazz to be busy this offseason with forwards Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap both entering the final years of their respective contracts. Both players are coveted around the league and highly productive so it goes without saying that a package including them would draw plenty of interest on the trading block. New Orleans, Boston, Golden State, Portland, Houston and Cleveland all possess two first-round picks and each of those franchises could use strengthening at power forward or center.
But for now O’Connor isn’t prioritizing the draft and hasn’t been in a rush to even bring in guys for pre-draft workouts as of yet.
“We’ve tried [to] do our homework early on guys,” O’Connor said. “We’ve interviewed them. We’ve seen them play. The biggest thing is to be prepared on every level and I think we will be.”
The Jazz currently have $53 million in salary commitments on the books for the 2013 season. The team has yet to decide whether to exercise the option on veteran point guard Jamaal Tinsley’s deal and must make free agent decisions on forwards C.J. Miles and Josh Howard.
NBA Draft: Kris Joseph
The annual pre-draft process is slanted toward identifying and highlighting the weaknesses of draft prospects which isn’t surprising given what’s at stake for franchises around the league. One particular institution typically puts the spotlight on their draft hopefuls much more than others on the defensive side of the floor. One of the annual question marks for former Syracuse University standouts is how well will they be able to make the transition of playing full-time man-to-man defense at the pro level.
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim relies heavily on zone defense as his primary option.
Kris Joseph is the latest in a long line of former Orange to get hammered with the steady stream of questions regarding his ability to play man defense at the pro level. The forward says showing scouts he’s up to the challenge defensively is at the top of his priority list during the pre-draft workout process.
“My ability to defend the perimeter seeing that we played zone for a long time,” Joseph admitted when asked what he wanted to prove to scouts at the Chicago Draft Combine. “A lot of people have questions, but that’s not just me but everybody who comes out of Syracuse. I’m just trying to show that I can play some defense on the perimeter, keep knocking down shots and being able to penetrate.”
Joseph is projected to be selected in the latter half of the second round, but he’s had a very busy pre-draft schedule working out for various teams trying to improve his draft stock.
“I’ve had four workouts so far,” Joseph said. “Golden State, Portland, Milwaukee and Boston. They were good. I was really pleased with the results. The feedback was very positive, but to me even a negative is positive because there are things I can always work at to get better at.”
Joseph averaged 13.4 points for Syracuse last season on 42 percent shooting from the floor (35 percent from three-point range). Joseph says he’s only been playing organized basketball for six years and has much more room to grow as his game develops.
“I think one thing people don’t really know is that it’s been six years since I’ve been playing real basketball,” Joseph said. “The transition from Montreal to DC, I did two years there and four years at Syracuse. So as far as on the court I think I have a lot of potential to get better. I’ve been playing six years so I have a lot to learn. That’s the main thing I want to get across to people.”
Boston Celtics Forward Kevin Garnett Fined: The Boston Celtics were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals in seven games by the Miami HEAT in a hotly contested series. Not surprising, emotions boiled over and Celtics forward Kevin Garnett refused to make himself available following Boston’s game seven loss.
The league responded to Garnett’s decision on Wednesday by fining the future Hall of Famer $25,000 for the offense. NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson announced the decision in a press release.
Garnett averaged 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds in twenty games during the 2012 playoffs, which was his strongest showing in the postseason since 2008 where he averaged 20.4 points and 10.5 rebounds while leading Boston to the NBA title.
Sacramento Kings’ Tyreke Evans Not On Trading Block? Sacramento Kings guard-forward Tyreke Evans, the 2010 Rookie of the Year, has recently become the subject of trade rumors. Spurring the rampant trade talk has been his production decline each season since his rookie campaign and the Kings’ penchant for shuffling him from point guard to small forward in an effort to find his natural position.
Talent isn’t the issue. Evans has plenty of that, but it appears the No. 4 overall pick of the 2009 draft simply hasn’t convinced the Kings’ front office he’s capable of being the face of the franchise.
In the latest twist, Sacramento Bee NBA writer Jason Jones tweeted earlier that Evans was working out with Kings front office executive Geoff Petrie, which in Jones’ estimation should at least slow down some of the trade talk.
Hearing Tyreke Evans is working out w/ Petrie. Doesn’t sound like actions of someone Petrie is trying to trade. Hear Reke is in good shape.
On the other side of the coin, HOOPSWORLD’s Bill Ingram has heard plenty of talk regarding potential interest around the league in Evans, notably from the Toronto Raptors.
The Toronto Raptors are also aggressively shopping for a star-caliber small forward, and have been tied to talks surrounding Tyreke Evans and Andre Iguodala. They have now also reportedly added Gay to their wish list.
Whether the Kings are actively shopping Evans for a higher draft pick or merely doing their due diligence entertaining offers to gauge his market value remains to be seen, but the picture will become much clearer as we inch closer to draft time.