SALT LAKE CITY — Taurean Prince, Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng and Erick Green might not be familiar names for casual Utah Jazz fans who only tune in between opening night and whenever the season ends.
Those who’ve paid close attention to the NBA draft in recent years certainly recognize the names.
Those four athletes — all of whom have played roles in shaping the Jazz roster — offer a reminder that Utah general manager Dennis Lindsey has a track record of being aggressive when it comes to the draft.
That in mind, don’t be surprised if Lindsey pulls the trigger on a move or two either leading up to or during Thursday night’s draft, which begins at 5 p.m. MT at the Barclays Center.
As it stands, the Jazz have four of the 60 picks in this year’s draft. That includes their own first-round selection (24), the Warriors’ first-round pick (30), the Pistons’ second-rounder (42) and their own late second-round choice (55).
“We feel good that there hopefully will be several good sets of options,” Lindsey said.
That could result in Utah selecting four players to keep, which could include some draft-and-stash guys. Or it could mean the Jazz will join the wheeling-and-dealing crowd, which already includes the Celtics swapping the No. 1 pick for the Sixers’ No. 3 selection, the Hawks sending Dwight Howard to Charlotte and the Lakers shipping D’Angelo Russell off to Brooklyn, according to reports.
“Let’s just take 24. I could totally see us selecting it and helping build our depth with a good player and a good kid on a rookie-scale contract,” Lindsey said. “Or does a team value it (the Jazz’s pick) such to where it would make more sense to us to move it on?”
Lindsey admitted he might not know the answer to that question until the Jazz are actually on the clock and another team decides to throw out its best trade offer.
“The market seems to be valuing the picks that we do have,” Lindsey said. “So will we couple all of them and trade it for a vet? I don’t know. Or select one or select two?
“Again, I’m not sure, but all four picks seem to have some market value,” Lindsey added. “We’ll just get all of that up on the appropriate boards and try to get it categorized and hopefully make some good decisions on what are the best set of alternatives.”
Lindsey’s moves don’t always pan out (see: Utah trading first-round picks Muhammad and Deng for point guard Trey Burke in 2013), but he’s pulled off a couple of draft-time transactions that have pushed the Jazz in a very positive direction.
Just last year, the Jazz acquired a much-needed starting point guard when they sent the No. 12 pick to Atlanta (the Hawks wanted Prince) and received veteran playmaker George Hill from Indiana in a three-way deal.
Lindsey’s best draft-day move happened in 2013 when he managed to land Rudy Gobert by giving up second-round selection Erick Green and some cash to Denver.
The Jazz can only hope they luck into a situation this week that’s even remotely as beneficial and one-sided as that jackpot of a deal turned out to be.
“We’re just trying to grind away and do the best we can here,” Lindsey said. “There’s a lot of different potential options, and hopefully some of the better options will come to fruition here.”