It’s not easy to predict who will be available for the 30th and final pick of the first round of the NBA draft on Thursday.
Each team in the NBA is looking for a specific combination of skill, personality and potential in the players who will get selected and each team probably has a different ranking system that they will use on draft night.
So when it comes time for the Jazz to make their selection — assuming they stay at No. 30 and keep the pick — there could be players on the board that they weren’t expecting to fall and be available to them. The Jazz could end up having to decide between multiple players that they’ve concluded would be good additions to the roster.
What I’ve tried to do is round up a list of players who could get picked somewhere near the end of the first round of the draft and come up with five names who I believe would be a good fit for the Jazz and address a void on the current roster.
Miles McBride | guard | sophomore | West Virginia
In recent days, it seems that McBride’s stock has been rising a bit and it makes sense considering his skill set. Although he only stands at 6-foot-2, he has a 6-foot-9 wingspan and defensive lateral quickness that is wildly impressive.
It’s truly McBride’s on-ball defense that stands out and he is great at creating pressure, but he is also a promising off-ball and help defender who has already shown a knack for rotating and closing out with focus and intention.
All of that said, McBride also brings an offensive arsenal that compliments his game beautifully. He was a 41.4% 3-point shooter in his last season at West Virginia and he is crafty.
There are some who have raised concerns about McBride’s ability to function as a point guard in the NBA. Those concerns seem to be born from some inconsistency from McBride with controlling the tempo of a game initiating an offense. I don’t necessarily share those same concerns, but as the Jazz are in need of a reliable backup point guard, it’s something for them to be sure of if they were to take him with the 30th pick.
Herb Jones | wing | senior | Alabama
I never make any secret about favorite prospects that I have when it comes to the NBA draft, and that’s where we’ve landed with Herb Jones. The defensive versatility that Jones will bring to the table for any NBA team should be enough to land him a rotational role in his rookie season.
At 6-foot-7, Jones has already proven able to easily switch defensively one through four, and he has incredibly active hands.
As with most switchy and active defenders coming out of college, there will likely be a learning curve for Jones as far as fouls are concerned and biting on pump fakes, but he is a calm player who makes good decisions and is as NBA ready as a defender can be coming into their rookie season.
There are definitely concerns about Jones’ offensive abilities, but that could just be a matter of opportunity. Jones only really started shooting 3s with regularity in his final season with the Crimson Tide, and after tweaking his shot mechanics a bit he hit at a 35.1% clip. With some NBA coaching and encouragement there might be some underutilized talent there.
Additionally, the leap he made offensively from his junior to senior season shows his ability to improve and do so quickly.
Ayo Dosunmu | guard | junior | Illinois
It’s not by accident that most of the players I’ve picked are defense-first players. That’s where the Jazz need help, and Ayo Dosunmu is another versatile defender who could very well help the Jazz in the 2021-22 season.
At 6-foot-5 (with shoes on) Dosunmu has length and size at the guard position that gives him an advantage, and he has the speed and agility to keep up when defending smaller ballhandling guards. He’s improved his 3-point shooting, hitting at 39% his junior year, and impressed at the draft combine in Chicago.
Concerns about Dosunmu seem to revolve around his ability to create and control the ball, but if he’s slotted into the right team that has ballhandlers and creators that allow him to spot up, slash and shine on the defensive end, I see no problem, and that’s the role he could have with the Jazz.
Maybe the most intriguing thing outside of his defensive skill set is that Dosunmu really seems to impress when he’s had in-person interviews with team executives and scouts. He is engaging and connects and asks questions. For a player who could join a playoff-bound team, those are traits that will be really important for a rookie.
Quentin Grimes | wing | junior | Houston
After working out for the Jazz, Quentin Grimes’ name has been connected to the team as a very real possibility with the No. 30 pick, and there are some very legitimate reasons why.
Grimes is a floor spacing wing who shot 40.3% from 3 last season and is a classic hard-nosed perimeter defender.
His instincts, ability to change directions and all of his defensive fundamentals seem sound enough for him to be ready to play right away, and NBA teams are drawn to his willingness to complete hustle plays.
Grimes improved his rebounding and is not afraid to play through contact or sacrifice his body for a play, and there’s something to be said about a rookie who is willing to come in and do some of the dirty work and find pride in it.
Offensively there are limitations to Grimes’ game and he doesn’t have a ton of tools once he gets into the lane, but he’s gutsy and quick, which will be useful in transition more than anywhere else.
Joshua Primo | wing | freshman | Alabama
I don’t really think that it would be smart for the Jazz to take a really young player in the draft, so it seems counterintuitive for me to include Joshua Primo here since he’s the youngest player in this year’s draft class.
But, if the Jazz aren’t concerned with readiness to play right away, Primo has so much upside and potential that it would be hard to look past him if he’s still on the board.
He’s 6-foot-5, lean and would definitely need some time to work on his body to be ready for the physicality of the NBA, but he’s also seemingly unafraid and is surprisingly good at putting a good amount of pressure on opponents and defending without fouling.
It feels like nearly every part of Primo’s offensive game could use some refinement, but he has excellent mechanics and instincts. He has a high and quick shot release and has shown flashes of being able to create as well as punish defenders in multiple ways.
His handle isn’t the most reliable but if he’s not being asked to be a primary ballhandler, there’s no reason to dock him any points for that. Primo is a classic upside draft pick who could really surprise people despite his youth.