A year ago, Isaiah Collier was the highest rated high school basketball player in the country. At the time, it was largely assumed he would be a one-and-done prospect who would be a top five pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

But on Wednesday night, Collier was selected 29th overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2024 NBA draft. Why the slide?

League sources have indicated three main reasons for Collier dropping out of lottery territory. First, in his lone season at USC — a losing season that meant no NCAA tournament appearance — Collier dealt with shooting inconsistencies and also had to sit out part of the campaign because of a fractured hand.

Second, the Trojans had Collier listed as 6-foot-5, but at the NBA Combine in Chicago, Collier measured in at 6′2.5″ without shoes. Third, he didn’t have any particularly standout interviews or workouts with teams during the predraft process.

None of these things are red flags on their own, and even when combined, they don’t mean Collier will have a bad NBA career. He is still a powerful guard who is incredibly skilled, and he was a highly rated player in high school who was drafted into the NBA in the first round for a reason.

“I was surprised a little bit being around at 29,” Collier said, “but I still feel like I’m one of the best players in this draft. I’m just grateful for the opportunity that Utah drafted me and I’m looking forward to just getting to work.”

First and foremost, Collier is a lethal downhill scorer, whether it’s at the rim, through contact, on floaters or any other situation. He’s a great ball handler and is an incredibly capable playmaker who often makes passes that seem nearly impossible.

He does have some turnover problems and can get a little risky with the ball, but he started to clean that up in the latter part of his freshman season at USC.

On the shooting side of things, Collier hovered around 33% from 3 and shot below 70% from the free-throw line, and he wasn’t any better in high school.

The inconsistency in his shot has worried some NBA scouts and executives, but it’s been noted multiple times over that Collier is known for his work ethic and his desire to prove doubters wrong.


“Not making excuses at all,” Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said, “but when you’ve been so dominant at the high school level, and even college, to get in the paint whenever you want and be at the rim whenever you want and absolutely dominate your competition that is your age, you can make an argument of whether he’s had enough reps or not ... I think also he hasn’t shown it (shooting) as much because he’s been so dominant.”

The Jazz didn’t have Collier in for a predraft workout, but once he was still on the board when they were on the clock for the 29th pick, they felt like it was worth it to take a swing on him.

Not only do the Jazz believe Collier can develop a more consistent shot with some minor tweaks to his shooting, but they also believe in his ability as a perimeter defender.

“I think he shoots it fine,” Zanik said. “Mechanically, I’m sure that our coaches will be able to do some things, but the thing I think he also profiles as is that I think he can be a very good guard defender with the body and being able to see and read. I think that can be just as important defensively, too.”

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