SALT LAKE CITY — A dozen days ahead of the 2019 NBA draft, a dozen players were at the Utah Jazz’s practice facility in two pre-draft workout sessions on Saturday, June 8.
Even with the No. 23 and 53 picks of the draft, that hasn’t stopped the Jazz front office from putting in serious work this offseason, from evaluating the combine and agent pro days plus the hours and hours of extensive scouting.
“We have another 12 days, so every team is still going through the workout process,” said Jazz vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin. “I think we do have a better idea of 5-10 guys, I don’t have an exact number right now, but I think we’ve narrowed it down.
“We were in the theater the other day looking at players and talking about whether or not they should still be in the 23, as we call it, bucket,” he continued. “So, it’s again, 12 days and we’ll know better in another week, but I think the process is starting to narrow itself.”
For Saturday’s Session 1, San Francisco guard Frankie Ferrari was joined by Northwestern wing Vic Law, Baylor’s Makai Mason, France big Darel Poirier, Arkansas-Little Rock’s Rayjon Tucker and Oregon’s Kenny Wooten.
Then in Session 2, Tennessee’s Jordan Bone participated alongside St. Joseph’s Charlie Brown, Cameroon wing Paul Eboua, Arkansas big Daniel Gafford, Memphis guard Jeremiah Martin and Croatia big Luka Samanic.
“The workout was good. On a scale of 1-10, I’ll give it a 10,” Gafford said following the workout. “Coaches pushed us throughout the whole workout, they knew the elevation would be crazy here so they always came up to us to make sure we were all right because some of us aren’t used to it so they always pushed us to a point where if we needed to stop, they’ll help us stop.
“So, I give it a 10 because they made sure we was good throughout the whole workout, they pushed us throughout the whole workout and the whole workout honestly was just well thought of,” he added.
In addition to the 12 players at Saturday’s workout, 54 other draft hopefuls have visited Zions Bank Basketball Campus for pre-draft workout sessions this offseason while 30 other free agents participated in a minicamp at the facility on Wednesday and Thursday.
Bart Taylor, the Jazz’s director of scouting and vice president of basketball operations for the Stars, and Jazz assistant coach Mike Wells were mainly in charge of that two-day free agent minicamp operation, where the process is just as intense as draft evaluation. So even with the late picks, the organization is certainly not taking this process lightly as the countdown continues to Thursday, June 20.
“I don’t think the work ever gets easier because we’re always trying to catch Golden State and Toronto and those teams,” Taylor said. “So we’re always working, we’re always trying to see who’s the best players in the draft, who are the best players that are available in free agency.”