SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz have continued their pre-draft process, bringing in a slew of draft hopefuls before the NBA draft on June 20.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about three options the Jazz may have available to them at the forward position. This week, I am looking at three guard- and wing-type players who could be available for the Jazz at No. 23, their first pick in the draft.
Admiral Schofield, F, Tennessee
Admiral Schofield is making his second and final run through the pre-draft process. He tested the draft waters last year before returning to Tennessee for his senior season. Schofield led Tennessee to one of the best seasons in team history before being eliminated by Purdue in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament.
ESPN has Schofield projected as the 36th pick in their most recent mock draft.
The first thing that jumps out about Schofield is his imposing physique, standing at 6 feet 5 inches tall and a brutish 240 pounds. Schofield has enormous shoulders, a chiseled frame and won’t struggle to adapt to the physicality of the NBA. Secondly, his nonstop motor should make him a crowd favorite in the NBA — he regularly finds himself around loose balls and rarely takes plays off.
Schofield projects as a more than capable shooter, converting his 3-point shots at a 39% clip or better in each of his last three seasons for the Volunteers. Schofield reportedly didn’t shoot well for the Jazz during his workout, but the team said they knew he was a better shooter than he showed in Salt Lake.
As a senior, Schofield averaged 16.5 points, six rebounds and two assists, highlighting his nice shooting ability, while showing off a simple dribble-drive game to get to the mid-range, where he has a soft jump shot. He does lack the high level playmaking with his low assist numbers.
Schofield may be a true tweener, rather than having the positional versatility NBA teams covet, but his toughness and shooting should allow him to carve out a niche in the NBA as a role player — a la PJ Tucker.
Ty Jerome, PG, Virginia
Ty Jemore is projected as a late first-round draft pick by ESPN, slotted in the 26th pick of the most recent ESPN mock draft. A year after his team was the first No. 1 seed to be eliminated by a No. 16 seed, Jerome helped lead Virginia to the national championship in his junior season.
Jerome averaged 13 points, five assists and four rebounds in his final season at Virginia, shooting 43% from the floor and 39% from the 3-point line. Despite failing to break the 40% mark from beyond the perimeter at any point during his college career, Jerome’s 3-point shooting will be his most coveted skill set coming into the NBA.
Jerome is a knock-down, spot-up shooter, but also regularly showed the ability to knock down NBA range 3-point shots with defenders in his face. He’s a no-conscience shooter who always had the green light at Virginia, and that was rarely a problem.
Additionally, Jerome is one of the most gifted passers in the draft, truly seeing plays unfold before they happen. He has different release points when passing, finding various angles for assists, often hooking the ball on passes around defenders with either hand.
Though he played for a traditionally great defensive team in Virginia, Jerome will likely struggle defending players one-on-one at the NBA level. He’s a subpar athlete, despite a healthy 6-foot-6 frame. He has a negative wingspan, with his arms measuring more than an inch shorter than his height in shoes. Despite his lack of athleticism, Jerome showed nice anticipation racking up steals in passing lanes, highlighting his knowledge of the game.
Luguentz Dort, G, Arizona State
Luguentz Dort had a breakout freshman season at Arizona State, leading the team in scoring at over 16 points a game. He contributed four rebounds and two assists per game, while taking the Sun Devils to the NCAA Tournament. Dort is projected as the 27th pick in ESPN’s most recent mock draft.
Sporting a body that will translate to the NBA, Dort stands 6 feet 4 inchest tall in shoes, with a long 6-foot-8 wingspan, and weighs in at 222 pounds. While he won’t be accused of having elite size for a shooting guard, he has a body we’ve seen from several stocky wings that have carved out roles for themselves in the NBA, including Boston’s Marcus Smart and former Indiana Pacers Tyreke Evans and Rodney Stuckey.
His style of play mirrors that of Smart, as Dort displays a high level of intensity on the defensive end with the strength and athleticism that should allow him to defend point guards, shooting guards, small forwards and even some smaller power forwards at the NBA level. Dort made the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team as a true freshman, as well as being named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
Offensively, Dort’s athleticism allows him to finish above the rim, beat defenders off the dribble, and get into the paint. He has struggled once he gets into the paint, not quite having the touch to finish around bigger defenders when he gets to the rim — though he was regularly rewarded for his effort with trips to the free-throw line where he averaged more than six attempts per game.
Dort’s shooting is a work in progress, to say the least. He converts just 30% of his 3-point attempts and 40% of his shots overall. His two-assists-per-game average leave a lot to be desired for a player with the ball in his hand as much as Dort had as a freshman.
Still, despite Dort’s lack of shooting, his intensity, motor and athleticism should make him a safe bet to find a place in the NBA.
Ben Anderson is a contributor at KSL.com, follow him on Twitter @BensHoops. Listen to him 2-6, Monday through Friday with Kyle Gunther on ESPN 700.