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Jazz get assists from Baylor, Stockton for latest draft picks

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SALT LAKE CITY — Seven years ago, on June 24, 2010, the Utah Jazz drafted Gordon Hayward.

Many Jazz fans booed the ninth overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft. But now, they’re begging him to stay as he mulls an offer of free agency that could start in July.

Meanwhile, the Jazz made more big moves in the draft this past Thursday, moving up to take Louisville wing Donovan Mitchell at No. 13 (with a little help from Trey Lyles and the Denver Nuggets).

Mitchell wasn’t expected to fall to the Jazz at No. 24, so general manager Dennis Lindsey did what he does best, made a few phone calls, and went and got the man they wanted. Lindsey had previously watched the lengthy wing play his son Jake and Baylor in a tournament, and knew he’d fit in well in Utah.

“He’s much more ready defensively than offensively, but he’s had some offensive growth,” Lindsey told reporters after the draft. “We are very confident in our facility, with Quin in particular, giving him tricks to refine his game.

“For Donovan, he has unique talents. We have to teach him the how and why to maximize his ability offensively. We will see what that means in the next couple of years.”

The Jazz also made a move to draft Tony Bradley from North Carolina. The 6-foot-11 big man went to Utah via a trade with the Lakers, sending the No. 30 and 42 picks to Los Angeles in exchange.

“Tony is a unique specimen,” Lindsey said. “Tony is long. Tony is very young and it is going to take him a while. So there are two or three things that we think three or four years down the road, with time and experience and development, that he will be able to do that young players going to a national championship contender aren’t able to show.”

The Jazz rounded out the draft with Nigel Williams-Goss, a junior point guard from Gonzaga.

And they got a little help from another former Gonzaga point guard who had a solid career with the Jazz — John Stockton gave Lindsey a glowing recommendation of the early entry in the draft.

“He said, 'Look, I thought he was the national player of the year, and you cannot speed him up',” Lindsey recalled. “'Replays with great pace and character.'

“This is the comment that I loved the most: 'He plays like an adult.'”

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Stockton had plenty of chances to watch Williams-Goss play in Spokane, and the 6-foot-4 guard also has experience playing in Utah, both against West Coast Conference rival BYU and in the 2017 NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City.

“When he came in for his workout, Nigel was probably one of the top-five communicators of all time,” Lindsey said. “Just in the workout. This situation is coming up, he’s anticipating it, and he’s working with his other teammates in three-on-three situations in such a verbal leader type of way.

“I went over and said, ‘I can see why Gonzaga went to the national championship game.’”


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Rod Zundel


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