The Utah Jazz finally got a bit of luck in the NBA Draft Lottery last week, moving up three spots from the projected sixth pick to a much better third selection.
While that may not seem like a big jump, in this draft that many have identified as “weak,” it may mean the difference between a future All-Star and a career role player.
This will be the second highest pick for the Jazz in team history.
In the 1980 NBA draft they selected “Dr. Dunkenstein” Darrell Griffith with the second overall pick. His jersey now hangs in the rafters at Energy Solutions Arena.
The Jazz have been in the third position just two other times. In 1982 they selected Dominique Wilkins who went on to be a nine time All-Star for the Hawks. In 2005 the Jazz traded up to draft point guard Deron Williams who was traded away earlier this season.
If history repeats itself, the Jazz will draft a player that will have a positive impact on the team and the league.
Needless to say, the third pick that the Utah Jazz hold in the upcoming draft is one of the most important in team history.
It is not one that they can afford to mess up on. A draft bust would be disastrous for this franchise.
Here is a list of players that the Jazz should target with the third pick.
Derrick Williams PF Arizona
Assuming that the Cleveland Cavaliers select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, as many suspect, Derrick Williams may be a player that is available to the Jazz at the number three pick.
While the Jazz already have several players at the small forward position, drafting Williams would add a franchise player to the organization.
It is likely that Andrei Kirilenko has played his last game in Utah, and last years rookies Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Evans did show some promise, but neither is athletic or has as much potential as Williams.
Selecting the former Arizona star all depends on what the Minnesota Timberwolves choose to do with the second overall pick.
The Timberwolves already have three very talented forwards in Michael Beasley, Anthony Randolph and double-double machine Kevin Love. Drafting Williams would add to an already crowded front court.
This situation for Minnesota could turn out well for the Jazz. If Williams is on the board at the number three pick, the Jazz would make a huge mistake drafting anyone else.
Enes Kanter PF/C Turkey
If the Utah Jazz are unable to draft Derrick Williams, they will get a very nice consolation prize in Enes Kanter from Turkey. Kanter, who grew up watching current Jazz center Mehmet Okur, would have the opportunity to play alongside, and eventually take the starting job from his idol.
While the Jazz desperately need a point guard of the future to back up Devin Harris, Kanter is too skilled of a player to pass on. As has been said many times in this league, “You can’t teach height.”
The Jazz would most likely be able to pick up a point guard with the 12th pick in this years draft, or one of the first round picks they will have next draft.
Adding Kanter may also mean the departure of either Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap through a trade to try to upgrade at another position. They seem to be committed to Derrick Favors who was acquired in the Deron Williams trade.
This move would leave the Jazz in a good position with a young but very talented front court in Kanter, Derrick Favors, and either Jefferson or Millsap.
At the recent NBA draft combine, Kanter performed well both on the court and in interviews with teams and the media. There is no doubt that the Jazz will bring in the Turkish center in for a workout, and will be very serious about him on draft night.
Brandon Knight PG Kentucky
After Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight is the best point guard available in this draft. The Utah Jazz will take a long, hard look at Knight and the abilities that he brings to the table.
After trading away All-Star point guard Deron Williams earlier this season, the Jazz need to fill a big need in the form of a back-up for Devin Harris.
Brandon Knight would have the opportunity to play behind Harris for a few seasons, but would be expected to take the starting job in the future.
Many would say that Kemba Walker is a more proven player, and the Jazz should select him but history tells us that the Jazz prefer a bigger point guard.
In the 2005 draft the Jazz selected Deron Williams over Chris Paul based partly on Williams being the bigger and stronger player of the two.
If the Jazz fail to draft either of the other two players, it is very likely that they will look to Brandon Knight to become the point guard of the future.
Jan Vesely SF/PF Czech Republic
A fourth player that the Utah Jazz will consider is Jan Vesely from the Czech Republic.
Vesely has been compared to a young Andrei Kirilenko, and the two look to be made from the same mold. Over the last several years, Jazz fans have wanted nothing more than to have Kirilenko return to the form that earned him a maximum contract.
Fans would not mind if that return came in the form of Vesely who is a similar player to Andrei.
Vesely is a 6’11” wing player that has good athleticism and can finish at the rim. He was named the 2010 FIBA Young Player of the Year, and would be able to compete with NBA players immediately.
While he is a young prospect, his potential is through the roof. If he does turn out to be like Kirilenko in his prime, the Jazz would do well to select him.
So what do you think? Is there someone I am missing? Do you think these players should be in a different order?
What should the Jazz do with the third pick?
Where do you think Jimmer fits? Where will he end up?
Please take the time to comment below, I am interested in hearing your thoughts.
Chris Johstoneaux is the Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake Examiner. If you liked this article, please take a moment to leave me a comment below, or click like to share this with friends on Facebook. For email updates of articles like this, subscribe at the top near my picture. You can also follow me on Twitter at @JazzRSLExaminer.