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What the Jazz could learn about 7 players at the NBA Combine

By Andy Larsen | Posted - May 13, 2015 at 4:11 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — The NBA's annual draft combine takes place this week in Chicago, and while standout internationals Kristaps Porzingis and Mario Hezonja won't be able to attend due to their seasons continuing on in Europe, the Jazz will learn a lot more about each of the following collegiate prospects at this week's NBA Combine. Here's a breakdown of seven NBA pospects, slated to be drafted around the Jazz's No. 12 slot, and what the Jazz front office might learn about them at the combine.

Stanley Johnson
Age: 18College: ArizonaClass: FreshmanCombine participation: Physicals only

Johnson is a player with the physical tools to defend up to three positions in the NBA with a strong 6-foot-8 frame and a 6-foot-11 wingspan. As a freshman he was a capable shooter, too, shooting 37 percent beyond the arc. But at Arizona, Johnson showed off his youth in very big ways: He averaged more turnovers than assists and sometimes took plays off defensively. If the Jazz can schedule an interview (Johnson's slated to go a bit higher than the Jazz at No. 12), they'll be looking to figure out if his alpha personality can fit in with Snyder's team concept.

Frank Kaminsky
Age: 22College: WisconsinClass: SeniorCombine participation: Physicals only

Kaminsky makes a lot of sense for the Jazz: With either Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, the Jazz could use Kaminsky's shooting prowess to create an inside-outside big pairing. Kaminsky's offensive skillset as a big man fits in where the team is sorely lacking, and the Jazz have been looking for a player to fill that stretch big-man role for years. The question: Can he be an NBA center? I worry about his quickness guarding power forwards, especially as the league goes smaller. If he has the height and strength to deal with mid-tier NBA centers, he becomes much more useful. The Jazz will find out how he measures out this week.

Myles Turner
Age: 19College: TexasClass: FreshmanCombine participation: Physicals only

Myles Turner from Texas is a pick-and-pop center with a jumpshot. That's essentially his game, but there are few enough of those to make Turner an intriguing prospect. He's also a good rebounder and shotblocker, battling underneath in a way that not a lot of players do. Despite his talents, he only shot 28 percent from 3 last season and just 51 percent from 2-point land, owing to his large number of jumpshots. He's also not a terrific athlete. That's what the Jazz will be watching for during the combine: Can his athleticism work in the league? The measurables will provide a lot of evidence.

Devin Booker
Age: 18College: KentuckyClass: FreshmanCombine participation: Physicals only

Devin Booker is a classic knockdown shooting guard. Over half of his field goal attempts were three point shots, and he made 41% of those looks for a Kentucky team that often relied on his shooting to create space for their bigs. That's essentially who he is: he doesn't look likely to create shots for his teammates. That's an extremely valuable role in the NBA today, but he doesn't have elite length to be able to guard SFs: he's a true SG. While most of his measurables are known because of his background at UK, his lateral quickness measures may turn out to be most important: if he can't mark other guards, he may end up as a Randy Foye-esque player, for which the #12 pick is probably too early.

Kelly Oubre
Age: 19College: KansasClass: FreshmanCombine participation: Physicals only

It's starting to seem like there's one of Kelly Oubre in every draft — a fluid SF freshman with underwhelming production in his first season. He's got the NBA body, with a 7-foot-2 wingspan to go along with his 6-foot-7 height, but so much of the outcome of these players comes down to the setting in which they land. Oubre gives Snyder and the Jazz's vaunted player development staff a lot to work with, but will his work ethic and determination be enough? The Jazz will try to find out during their interview what Oubre has in mind for his growth.

Jerian Grant
Age: 22College: Notre DameClass: SeniorCombine participation: Undecided

Grant might make a lot of sense for the Jazz as a potential replacement to Trey Burke. While Burke has been extremely limited at the NBA level in his finishing in no small part due to his size, Grant's 6-foot-5 frame gives him much more size to find teammates and finish plays. But like Burke, Grant struggles with defensive toughness and shooting consistency. Grant has a real opportunity, if he chooses to participate in shooting drills, to make an impact at the combine by showing off an improved jumper, which has been a weak point in college.

Sam Dekker
Age: 21College: WisconsinClass: JuniorCombine participation: Physicals only

Dekker's a fun player: he's big enough for the SF position, where he slashes and drives in transition and at the half-court with great effectiveness. During this year's NCAA tournament he displayed a better shooting touch than he had in his regular season, before ending with a dud in the NCAA title game. He's not going to be a star, but his ability to cut, shoot reasonably well, and defend will make him a good role player at the very least. He's a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none kind of player, which actually may help Dekker as teams are finding real uses for those sorts of players in their rotations. With his skillset, teams in the interview process may want to find out what he has in mind for his own development, and whether it fits their future plans.

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Andy Larsen

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