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NBA draft: 5 prospects to like for the Jazz at No. 30

FILE - Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu shoots during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., in this Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, file photo.

FILE - Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu shoots during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., in this Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, file photo. (Nam Y. Huh, Associated Press)



SALT LAKE CITY — Here's a list of the non-trade options the Utah Jazz have to improve their roster heading into next season: The No. 30th pick, the $5.9 million taxpayer midlevel exception and veteran minimums.

So that late first-round pick is pretty important as the Jazz try to put the finishing touches on a roster that won the most regular season games last season.

The good news: There's been plenty of rotation players taken that late in the draft, including last year with Desmond Bane going to Memphis and playing a key role in the Grizzlies' run to the playoffs. This year's draft is a deep one with a number of players who are all over the place on NBA draft boards. So the Jazz should have some options to improve the team.

Here are five prospects to like for Utah with the No. 30th pick.

Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois

Who is he? A 6-foot-5 guard who averaged 20.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists during his junior season.

Why we like him: Rudy Gobert was asked to be in two places at once during the team's series loss to the LA Clippers because the Jazz guards couldn't consistently keep LA from breaking the paint. Considering Dosunmu was one of the nation's best on-ball defenders last season, he could help with that. He has a 6-foot-10 wingspan and flies all over the court on defense.

There are negatives, though: his release is low, he especially struggled on spot-up 3s (something the Jazz will need him to make), and he doesn't appear to have the feel needed to run an NBA offense full time. But his athleticism and defensive ability make him someone who could potentially jump right into an NBA rotation.

Herb Jones, F, Alabama

Who is he? A 6-foot-7 wing who won both SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Award last season as he averaged 11.2 points and 6.6 rebounds.

Why we like him: Jones is long, energetic and can defend three or four positions. That alone would give the Jazz a bit more flexibility on defense. On the offensive end, he can create a bit and is a good cutter without the ball. The big knock against him, however, is his shot.

Jones hit on 35% on 1.7 average 3-point attempts during his senior season. Defensively, he can step in right now and help, but is he proficient enough on the other end to keep him in games? If he improves as a shooter, he could become an ideal NBA wing role player.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F, Villanova

Who is he? A 20-year-old forward who averaged 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds in his sophomore season and was named co-Big East Player of the Year.

Why we like him: The Jazz were undone partially by injuries to Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley, but their second-round loss to the Clippers showed that despite having the best record in the league, the team was far from matchup proof. A little more versatility on the defensive end would have given the Jazz another look to throw at Los Angeles. Robinson-Earl could provide the Jazz another look.

At 6-foot-9, he has the size to handle bigger players and is mobile enough to keep with smaller guards. He rebounds well, usually makes smart decisions and it's rare that he doesn't know where he's supposed to be during a possession. His outside shot was inconsistent in college (he shot 28% from 3 last season) and he's not an elite athlete, but his feel for the game and his defensive abilities may help him overcome those weaknesses in the NBA.

Quentin Grimes, G, Houston

Who is he? A junior guard who averaged 17.8 points to help Houston to the Final Four.

Why we like him: Grimes shot 40% from 3 on over eight attempts per game last season while playing for one of the best defensive teams in the country — not a bad combo. His shot alone makes him an intriguing prospect, but there's more, too. He's capable of defending both guard positions out on the perimeter and is especially good at blocking shots on the perimeter (that probably won't translate too much against NBA talent, but shows he should be good at closing out). Grimes is coming off a strong combine performance where he showed a bit more playmaking abilities that has raised his stock into first-round territory.

JT Thor, F, Auburn

Who is he? A 6-foot-10 forward who might not be ready to play next season but could prove to have some special upside.

Why we like him: If the Jazz don't feel there's a player that can help them immediately then making a more risky selection might be the play. If that's the case, Thor could be an interesting addition.

He didn't have a very productive freshman year at Auburn, averaging just 8.1 points and 3.4 rebounds, but he has some tools that are awfully intriguing. He's one of the youngest players in the draft and has a rare combination of size, length, shooting prowess and defensive versatility. If it all clicks, the Jazz have a pretty good rotation player — if not more. That's worth a late first-round gamble.

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