The Utah Jazz went big with their first pick of the 2020 NBA draft Wednesday, selecting Kansas center Udoka Azubuike with the 27th overall pick.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Jazz traded the 23rd pick to the New York Knicks along with the rights to Ante Tomic in exchange for the 27th and 38th pick, which was Vanderbilt guard Saben Lee.
Just after selecting Azubuike, the Jazz made a deal to trade Tony Bradley along with the 38th pick to the Detroit Pistons for cash and future considerations, according to multiple league sources. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the trade first.
Azubuike played four seasons for the Jayhawks, although he is only 21 years old. While he doesn’t add anything to the Jazz’s perimeter game, and only shot 44.1% from the free-throw line in his senior season, Azubuike, a native of Nigeria, is known for being a bullying post player who is an incredible rim protector and offensive rebounder.
When Phoenix took Maryland’s Jalen Smith with the 10th pick in the draft, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported that the Suns were expecting center Aron Baynes to leave during free agency and that New Orleans was targeting signing Baynes.
Whoa Jalen Smith is interesting for the Suns. NBA execs fully expect Aron Baynes to leave Phoenix (with New Orleans as a distinct possibility) so Smith can fill that stretch-5 role. I fully expect Monty Williams to use some double-big lineups too. Smith can stroke 3s like a wing. https://t.co/GwBxQiWtJR— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) November 19, 2020
Baynes could have been an answer for the Jazz at the backup center position, but with him seemingly on his way to the Pelicans the Jazz might have felt the need to get someone who could play now and reliably defend the rim when Rudy Gobert is resting, which is exactly the case with Azubuike.