SALT LAKE CITY — The only suspense remaining Thursday after Utah agreed to a three-team swap, sending away its late lottery pick in exchange for Pacers point guard George Hill, was waiting to learn if the Jazz would pull off another deal to get back into the first round.
That didn’t happen.
The Jazz did have one heck of an active late second round, though.
They even made a local pick, grabbing Weber State forward Joel Bolomboy late in the second round.
Though Wednesday’s trade took the fun out of the Jazz’s draft day, fans might receive solace with the notion that acquiring Hill seems to make it more likely the team will not have as low of a pick next year.
Which would you rather have anyway: the anticipation of picking No. 12 and grooming an uncertain prospect or a proven veteran who could help your team return to the playoffs for the first time in five years?
Utah clearly chose the latter.
Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey can’t comment on the Hill trade because it won’t be made official by the NBA until after the free-agency moratorium ends on July 6. Because of that, he chuckled when asked if the Jazz filled needs with the draft, which included trading their No. 12 pick.
“Yeah,” Lindsey said. “Look, we want serious players, two-way players, guys who can shoot the ball and certainly experience is something that we’re looking at. We have some four-year guys here and a few things to announce coming in the future as well.”
Lindsey did admit that the organization attempted to acquire a second first-round pick to snag a player they like.
“We tried,” Lindsey said. “Basically, since the — I can’t say that — yeah, we tried significantly but just wasn’t able to do it this draft.”
The Jazz did technically make a selection in the first round, picking up Baylor’s Taurean Prince.
However, the rights to the small forward will be sent to Atlanta as soon as the NBA gives its stamp of approval on the three-way trade, which will also send Hawks point guard Jeff Teague to Indiana.
While the night started slowly for the Jazz, it ended with a whirlwind of activity.
A day after trading away the No. 12 pick, the organization sent its No. 42 selection to the Brooklyn Nets for No. 55 and cash.
That gave Utah three of the final nine picks.
With those late selections, Utah drafted Bolomboy (52), North Carolina point guard Marcus Paige (55) and California point guard Tyrone Wallace (60).
The Bolomboy pick is of extra interest to Utah basketball fans, considering the 6-foot-9 power forward played all four seasons of his collegiate career in Ogden. The 2016 Big Sky player of the year — and two-time Big Sky defensive player of the year — averaged 17.1 points and 12.6 rebounds as a senior.
“We’re very excited about Joel for a number of reasons — character, how great of a job Weber State does in really developing all of their guys, Joel in particular in this case,” Lindsey said. “Athleticism. … To be able move laterally, run, jump, he’s got some tools to work with, so we really look forward to bringing him in like we do with all of our young guys and let Quin (Snyder) and all of the coaches get to work.”
The final two Jazz selections facilitated a litany of jokes as the organization selected a pair of point guards.
Although Hill isn’t officially signed yet — and can’t be until after the free-agency moratorium lifts on July 6 — Utah now has seven point guards on its roster. That group of playmakers also includes Dante Exum, Shelvin Mack, Raul Neto and Trey Burke.
Jokes aside, Paige and Wallace will have a steep hill to climb to make the Jazz’s opening-day roster, and the team, no doubt, will likely try to trade two other point guards — Mack, Burke and/or Neto — before training camp.
While the trade for Hill gives the Jazz a veteran point guard, a solid backcourt defender and a nice outside shooter, the team still has some needs heading into the free-agency period that begins on July 1.
The Jazz suffered from a lack of wing depth last year, and Utah will have a decision to make when it comes to a backup power forward behind Derrick Favors. It’s uncertain whether Utah will try to re-sign reserve Trevor Booker, an unrestricted free agent, or if the Jazz will hand over the primary backup duties to last year’s No. 12 pick, Trey Lyles.
New Jazz president Steve Starks shared an interesting tidbit from the Jazz war room on Twitter after the 60th pick.
“Dennis and team did incredible work,” Starks wrote. “At one point he was literally switching between four phones. Much appreciation guys.”