SALT LAKE CITY — During the Utah Jazz’s latest predraft workouts Monday at Zions Bank Basketball Center, the team brought in two prospects who could be selected by the Jazz late in the first round: Syracuse forward Tyler Lydon and Oregon forward Jordan Bell.
It was the first time during the predraft process that the Jazz, who own the 24th and 30th picks in the opening round, brought in more than one player for a public workout who is projected in that range.
Also participating was a former college teammate of Bell’s, Dillon Brooks, South Carolina wing Sindarius Thornwell, Cincinnati guard Troy Caupain and French guard Elie Okobo.
At 6-foot-10 and 225 pounds, Lydon has been labeled by some as a small forward, but Walt Perrin, the Jazz's VP of player personnel, was rather emphatic that he sees the former Orangeman as a player who can stretch the floor.
Perrin has said in the past that even though basketball is becoming more positionless on offense, it’s still important to identify who a player can guard.
“Can he be a stretch 4? Yes,” Perrin said. “Can he play 3? He’s got work to do if he’s going to be able to play 3. He’s got some work to do defensively to be able to guard a 4, or especially a 3. That’d be real tough for him probably right now.”
For his part, Lydon, who shot just under 40 percent from long distance last season, feels as though his offensive skills can help a team right away.
“I feel like I can fit with any team just because I can stretch the floor,” he said. “I shoot it real well and get guys their space to create their own shot.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the 6-foot-9, 224-pound Bell built a reputation with the Ducks as a defensive force who needs to work on his offensive skills to become a complete player.
Because of that, Perrin was encouraged that Bell specifically asked to participate in the “Jazz 100,” an intense shooting drill players go through at the end of each workout.
“Still has a ways to go, but it was encouraging that he wanted to shoot,” Perrin said.
Bell said he’s been working on corner 3s, pick and roll and pick and pop, “just finding ways to score in the NBA.”
“I think it’s going pretty good,” he said. “Shot’s definitely improved a lot. I’m getting more confident in just shooting the ball.”
BROOKS TALKS ABOUT FLOP: Brooks was named Pac-12 Player of the Year this spring, but he might be better known for the egregious flop he tried to sell to the refs against Utah guard Sedrick Barefield on Jan. 27 at the Huntsman Center.
On Monday, he was asked if he’d be looking forward to being cheered in Salt Lake City should the Jazz draft him as opposed to being booed.
“For sure,” he said. “When I was here in Utah, that was when I flopped, so they were all on me. It would be nice to go to Utah and get some love and play hard for the Utah Jazz.”
Brooks said he feels as though flopping can come in handy at times, but “sometimes you can get ahead of yourself, and that’s what I did. Just got ahead of myself.”
FRENCH CONNECTION: Okobo isn’t projected by any analysts to get drafted, but he has ties to the two Jazzmen from his home country, Boris Diaw and Rudy Gobert.
He and Diaw were both born in Bordeaux and Okobo plays for the same club team Diaw did before coming to the NBA, and the guard reached out to Gobert before his workout.
“He told me to give my best, 100 percent, and show them that I’m very motivated as a player,” Okobo said.