The trade that brought Jeff Malone to Utah not only altered the Jazz's look considerably; it also altered their plans for Wednesday night's NBA Draft.
As a result of Monday's trade, Utah now has the No. 33 pick in Wednesday's draft, rather than the 23rd and 49th picks. It isn't likely to yield much, but the Jazz say they are hoping to shore up the inside now that Eric Leckner is gone. But that far down in the draft, the selection is likely to be a project - or worse. "Two years ago we got Leckner at No. 17," said Jazz Director of Player Personnel Scott Layden. "We would be fortunate to get a project at No. 33."Considering this is a draft filled with mediocrity, Utah isn't likely to get much. The Jazz got Blue Edwards last year at No. 21, "but," said Layden, " that was not a typical situation."
He added that he would be surprised if there are any more Jazz transactions by the draft. Trading deadline is Wednesday at noon and lasts until the draft begins.
Among the inside players who could still be waiting for an invitation by then are Illinois' Marcus Liberty, UTEP's Greg Foster and Antonio Davis, Arizona State's Alex Austin, Cal-Fullerton's Cedric Ceballos, Michigan's Sean Higgins, Clemson's Elden Campbell, UCSB's Eric McArthur, Colorado State's Mike Mitchell, Iowa's Les Jepsen, Villanova's Tom Gries and UAB's Alan Ogg.
Whatever player is selected, he will have a considerable problem making the team. Layden said prior to Monday's trade that even a No. 23 pick might not make the cuts.
Calling it a pick is slightly over-simplifying. It's more of a speculative investment. "When you consider the money and that is invested in any draft pick, it's scary," said Layden.
Preparing for the draft is a painstaking process. The Jazz staff makes phone calls and character checks that go far into the players' past, and can include interviews with former coaches, trainers and even teachers. Detailed physicals are conducted at the camps. Then there are the interviews. The Jazz interviewed over 30 players just during the Chicago camp just three weeks ago. They want to know how smart a player is, how his attitude is, if he'll be a problem to coach.
"There's a lot more to getting a player than just how he plays or if he can shoot," says Layden. "If it was just a matter of the mechanics of shooting, we could go over to the Deseret Gym and get someone."