Editor’s note: Final in a three-part series examining what players the Utah Jazz might select in the 2023 NBA draft.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve considered who the Utah Jazz might draft with the 28th overall pick and I’ve pored over hours of film trying to find players the Jazz should pick with the No. 16 selection.

Today is the day we talk about the No. 9 pick in the upcoming NBA draft. The Jazz have the luxury of owning this top-10 pick, and they have a lot of options when it comes to how they want to use that pick. But, should they choose to keep the pick and make the ninth overall selection, I’ve compiled a list of players I think would be a great fit for the Jazz.

You’ll probably notice that this list does not include Amen or Ausur Thompson (Overtime Elite) or Cam Whitmore (Villanova) and that’s because I truly don’t think they’ll be available to select with the ninth pick. If I’m being completely honest, I’m starting to doubt that the first two names on the list below will be available either, but there’s still a chance.

Jarace Walker — Houston — 6-foot-7

I think that Jarace Walker would be the best player for the Jazz outside of the players who are predicted to be selected with the first six picks. Like I said above, I’m starting to think that Walker might be off the board once the Jazz are on the clock for the ninth pick, but if he is still there, he’s an absolute no-brainer.

With a 7-2.5 wingspan, broad shoulders and a traditional bruisers body, while still being quick on his feet and moving with precision, Walker is the most well-rounded forward in the draft.

On defense he is faster than you would expect and he’s whip smart. He’s an ideal player to have in a heavy switching scheme because he’s quick enough and smart enough to stay with guards and wing players but still strong enough to handle frontcourt players. In addition to Walker’s defensive tenacity, he’s also a great rebounder on both sides of the floor.

Offensively, Walker seems to be the kind of player who is always looking to make the right play. In doing so he’s become a really good passer who is smart in transition as well as within set plays. He’s great on the short roll and isn’t afraid to finish through contact and use his strength to his advantage at the rim.

His jump shot has not always been great, but there’s been steady improvement in that area, and although he was shooting a low volume at Houston (2.8 3-point attempts per game), he did knock down 34.7%. 

Positional versatility is so important to today’s NBA, and for a team that is rebuilding and looking for weapons that can be deployed in multiple different ways, it’s hard to find a player that is more well-suited than Walker.

If we’re talking about pure basketball instincts and talent, I would rank Walker behind only Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson in this year’s draft.

Taylor Hendricks — UCF — 6-foot-9

While I think Walker would be the best fit for the Jazz, coming in at a very, very close second behind Walker is Taylor Hendricks.

One thing I keep coming back to is what a Western Conference front office executive said to me at the draft combine in Chicago.

“The Thompson twins are going to be the best athletes in any room they step into,” he said. “Unless Taylor Hendricks is also in that room.”

Hendricks is 6-8.5 without shoes on, has a 7-0.5 wingspan and is a threat on the pick-and-pop or in the pick-and-roll. He shoots near 40% from 3 and he has really great touch around the rim. He’s not afraid of a midrange shot if a closeout gives him room to attack, but he’s also smart about making really efficient plays.

He’s got a high release on his shot, which allows him to shoot over even bigger defenders, and despite his lean body (weighing in at 213 pounds), he is not afraid of attacking downhill or working in the post.

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He’s truly a threat from all over the court with his only slight weakness coming against stronger bigs. That being said, though Hendricks is on the skinnier side, he looks to have an NBA body that will take on weight in the right way with age and strength work. And, as I mentioned above, Hendricks is an incredible athlete who is a constant lob threat, moves up and down the court with ease, and competes on the defensive side with intensity that is going to be contagious.

He rarely bites on pump fakes, knows how to draw charges, is smart with his hands contesting shots and switches from guarding bigs to wings without even thinking.

Playing at UCF Hendricks didn’t really get a chance to play against the cream of the crop when it comes to collegiate talent, so there’s a bit of a sense that he’s unproven. But even so, I think when watching him you can see that all of the aspects of his game will translate to the NBA and he’ll be able to elevate and improve to match the competition.

Anthony Black — Arkansas — 6-foot-6

I’ve seen a lot of different heights listed for Anthony Black, so that’s the first thing that I want to get out of the way here, especially because positional size is such a big factor with him. At the combine he measured 6-5.75 without shoes, so that’s the measurement I’m going to believe. 

That’s still an incredible starting point for a point guard, and (prepare yourself for a sports cliche) he really does play taller than he is. I can completely understand why some would believe he’s 6-8 after watching the way he carves up defenses with his playmaking and vision on the court. It’s really spectacular at times.

Black averaged 3.9 assists per game at Arkansas, but if that team had NBA caliber shooters, he would have probably doubled that number. He is incredible at finding open shooters and creating opportunities for his teammates and he’s selfless in doing it.

As for his own offense, he’s smart on drives and has good touch, but he doesn’t quite have range to speak of just yet.

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There is a lot of hope about him developing a reliable jump shot in the NBA, but I have to be honest when I say that I’m worried about this part of his game. His form is not great and it’s not even consistent. His misses hit all sides of the rim and sometimes he’s just completely off target. I think he needs to remake his mechanics and change his shot (much like Kris Dunn did over the last couple of years).

Even with the questions around his shot, there’s a lot to like about Black. One of the things I like the most about him is his defense on the ball and how close he stays to defenders without fouling. If anything, he’s really good at drawing offensive fouls. When he’s off the ball he’s really smart about waiting to find the right moments to gamble on a trailing steal or sliding over to poke the ball away from an unsuspecting player. He just makes smart plays that lead to transition opportunities.

My concern about Black’s shot is real and I’m not the only one. But, there is a lot of love for Black in NBA circles because of the kind of playmaking ability he offers right out of the gate.

Leonard Miller — G League Ignite — 6-foot-10

I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of flak for putting Leonard Miller this high on my list, but I do so after talking with many scouts and executives over the last couple of months. Miller’s stock is rising and it’s starting to seem like a real possibility that he ends up off the board by pick No. 15, which would be before the Jazz could make their second pick.

Is he worth being a top-10 pick? I think so.

Originally projected to be selected in the second half of the first round of the draft, Miller has been gaining believers in lottery range. The more teams see of him, the more they like him, and it’s not hard to see why.

He’s big enough to play center, but he handles the ball just as well as any wing when he’s driving or he’s coming down the court in transition. He’s fluid and knows his body really well, and he seemed to gain confidence and get more comfortable with how to shake the competition as the G League season progressed last year.

Miller can finish with both hands, can rise above everyone else for easy lobs, is smart when he’s cutting to the basket, attacking closeouts, and backing down players before using precise footwork and a light touch.

He’s also really smart in passing out of the post or on the short roll. He’s a streaky shooter (32.7% from 3), but he has good mechanics and a nice feel with the ball and seems like he’s improving on decision-making where shots are concerned.

Some of the things I’m most impressed by with Miller are the little things he does like keeping the ball up on a roll and just going straight for a dunk. Because of his height and length, he can often get to the rim in the pick-and-roll without putting the ball down.

He’s a smart offensive rebounder and gets into good position, which allows him to score on more than half of his offensive boards. On defensive rebounds, because he can handle the ball so well in the open court, it catches opponents off guard and he can race down for easy buckets even if he has to weave through the defense.

He can improve as a defender, but he’s not a lack of effort player. He uses his length well and there’s a ton of upside for him on that side of the ball.

Throughout last season it was clear that the Jazz valued a guy like Kelly Olynyk, who was a Swiss Army knife for the team, and if they want one of those for the future, Miller could truly fill that role.

Maybe taking him at ninth would be seen as taking him too high, but I think he could be a really smart player with a very long and fruitful career.

Cason Wallace — Kentucky — 6-foot-3

Last week I mentioned Cason Wallace as a bonus player in my roundup of players who could be available for the Jazz with the 16th pick. Up until recently Wallace was largely considered to be a consensus top-10 pick and he was someone I really liked for the Jazz.

I’ve been trying to get a read on why he might be slipping down on some teams’ boards and the most that I can gather is that there are two concerns teams are having — Wallace suffered from back spasms last season at Kentucky and that has a few teams worried considering how young he is. The second thing needling teams who are looking at Wallace is that there are other players who are just more athletic than he is on the offensive side.

His offensive burst is not really something that I would worry about if you are drafting him for what he specializes in. If you want a combo guard who can run the point but also knock down shots while also being a defensive beast at the point of attack, then Wallace is your man.

He’s been compared to Jrue Holiday quite a bit lately and I think it’s a really great comp for Wallace. He is an absolute hound on defense and he is not a slouch on the offensive end. He knocked down 34.6% of his 3-pointers at Kentucky and shot 51.4% from inside the arc.

Not every player is going to have the most explosive first step or is going to be an above the rim athlete. Some players are going to thrive on their craftiness and footwork and feel for the game, as Wallace does.

I’m still unsure about what the Jazz want to do at the point guard position and on the wings, but taking Wallace in the draft would certainly ensure that you have someone who can defend the best guards in the league.