Kyle Filipowski has said many times that he has tried to model his game after Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen. Serendipitously, the two will now be teammates.

The Jazz drafted Filipowski, a sophomore center out of Duke, with the 32nd pick of the 2024 NBA draft.

“Just how skillful he is and how mobile and how well he moves at that height is something I definitely try to model my game after, because I think that’s what makes him such a special player,” Filipowski said of Markkanen on Thursday night. “Just being able to have this opportunity to play alongside him and learn from him every day, I’m super grateful for this opportunity. I’m looking forward to making the most of it.”

There’s certainly reason for Jazz fans to be excited about the addition of Filipowski to this current roster. Remember when the Jazz had Kelly Olynyk on the team with Walker Kessler and Markkanen — that front-court lineup that gave the Jazz a ton of versatility as well as some really intimidating length? It’s not a huge stretch to think that Filipowski could add the same kind of depth to the Jazz’s frontcourt in time.

Though Filipowski played center in college, he doesn’t profile as a traditional rim-running, rim-protecting big. But, in the same vein of Olynyk, he is a smart help defender who is surprisingly good at staying in front of his man; he is gifted with the ball and can do all the things that make stretch bigs valuable in today’s NBA.

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At 6-foot-11, Filipowski can dribble, pass, shoot, run either side of a pick-and-roll, he sets great screens, is a good cutter, reads the floor well and can pick-and-pop. He has a great NBA frame and as he fills it out, he has potential to become a strong player at the rim, but he does need to develop a bit to be able to play against stronger players in the post.

“We came into today, hoping to draft Kyle Filipowski,” Jazz vice president of analytics Shane Fenske said on Thursday. “We were super thrilled that we were able to do it. He’s a super versatile 7-footer who can pass, shoot and really impacted winning for a great Duke program.”


Many believed that Filipowski would be off the draft board before the end of the first round, including everyone in the Jazz front office. Some reports have indicated that Filipowski was nervous during the pre-draft process. But the Jazz front office weren’t worried about anything and didn’t see any red flags with Filipowski.

“We do deep background on all the draft prospects to make sure that we’re ultimately comfortable selecting them,” Jazz vice president of basketball strategy Steven Schwartz said. “We’re more than happy to have Kyle join the Jazz, and we’re comfortable with everything. We’re excited about who he is as a person, so we’re not concerned.”

Kyle Filipowski walks the red carpet before the NBA basketball draft, Wednesday, June 26, 2024, in New York.
Kyle Filipowski walks the red carpet before the NBA basketball draft, Wednesday, June 26, 2024, in New York. On Thursday, the Utah Jazz selected him in the second round. | Julia Nikhinson, Associated Press

In his second season with the Blue Devils, Filipowski averaged 16.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 34.8% from 3-point range — which was a big increase over his shooting numbers from his freshman season when he hit on just 28.2% of his treys.

The Jazz have been studying Filipowski for a number of years and they are confident that his shot progression is real and will translate well to the NBA. He’ll need time to grow into a strong and reliable NBA player, but on first glance it seems the Jazz got great value with a second-round pick.

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