Justin Zanik has been around plenty of NBA drafts over the years, but he feels a different sort of excitement heading into this year’s event.

“I think it’s going to be fascinating this year with the draft,” the Utah Jazz general manager told reporters at Zion’s Bank Basketball Campus in Salt Lake City Monday. “I really think it’s going to be hard to predict. ... Someone who could go at No. 5 could be there at 10, 12 or 14, you might be getting the same type of player.”

He added, “Last year, two days before the draft, I predicted the exact order. That doesn’t happen very often. This year, I’m not going to even try. I don’t know who’s going at No. 1, who’s going at No. 2, who’s going at No. 3.”

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the board, Zanik expressed confidence in his organization’s predraft process and scouting endeavors.

The Jazz will pick twice in the first round — at No. 10 and No. 29 overall — before making the second selection of the second round at No. 32.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time. We’re ready,” Zanik said. “We could make the pick today.”

‘It never shuts off’: The multiyear, behind-the-scenes work that goes into preparing for the NBA draft

Here are more notable quotes from Zanik’s final predraft meeting with the media.

On the Jazz possibly shaking up their draft position

“We’re looking at opportunities to move up, move down, move out. The most likely scenario is that we pick our picks, because it always takes another team to agree, but we’re working on it.”

On whether he wants to pick players based on fit within Utah’s system or just overall talent

“For us, it’s going to be best player available, just for where we are as a team right now. We’re in different parts of the draft, so we would have opportunities to maybe take some upside swings and also take guys who are able to fit and help those (upside) guys function.”

On whether the team’s 3 first-round picks from 2023 will have any effect on the 2024 draft strategy

“We’re in an evaluation stage. We’re in a development stage. Obviously this is a huge summer and a huge year for Keyonte (George) to take a step, Taylor (Hendricks) to take a step and Brice (Sensabaugh) to take a step. Then obviously if we have all of our picks and we make those selections, then this is their rookie year, and we try to get them acclimated and learning about the game. I don’t think you ever make a decision after one year if a guy can play or not or what his ceiling is, you care more about their trends and path.


“I’ve been very happy with the development of those three guys ... but they have work to do no matter who we draft or we don’t. What we’re trying to do is add as many good players as possible, do a great job developing them and then we make it work and fit in terms of playing time and trying to win games.”

5 players the Jazz should target with the 10th pick
5 players the Jazz should target with the 29th pick
5 players the Jazz should target with the 32nd pick
On the Jazz potentially having 6 first- or second-year players on the roster this year

“If that’s the case, we want to make sure we have enough veterans on the team to help them grow. (The young players) can’t raise each other. I think we have some good veterans on the team right now, but that will obviously factor in to some of the things we’ll do in free agency, trades and things like that. Creating the environment will be key.”

On if there are any up-and-coming future draft prospects he has his eye on

“I would suggest watching all of our local (college basketball) teams this year. We wear purple, you know. Blue and red is purple.”

On this year’s draft being seen by many as weaker than years past

“Chances are, the No. 10 pick is going to be an NBA player, at least for a little while and hopefully for a long time. Our job is to figure out how we can make that happen ... I don’t think there’s ever such a thing as a bad draft. There’s always good players. You just have to project more in this one, so we’ll try to do our best job that we can.”

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