The Jazz have a guaranteed lottery pick that will more than likely fall inside the top eight picks, as well as a young and very talented core to build around.
Point guard Trey Burke may not have had the most glamorous rookie season, but he did show promise as a future leader at the position. Burke averaged 12.4 points per game to go along with 5.6 assists per game. Even though Burke did not shoot the highest percentage from the floor (37.8 percent for the season), he did shoot a fantastic percentage from the line, hitting 89.3 percent of his free throws. His 5.6 assists per game are not bad for a rookie point guard, but what was most fantastic about Burke’s game this season was his control over the ball.
Burke only averaged 1.8 turnovers per game, showing his poise and ability to take care of the basketball as he weaved his way through the defense and utilized his great skill to pull up from the mid range for easy scores, or draw contact and make use of his ability to hit free throws. Burke will be able to improve on his shooting, but if he can continue to penetrate and find his teammates as well as keep the ball under control, then he will have a very bright future in this league.
Along with Burke, the Jazz have Gordon Hayward, who knows he is as an off-ball scorer who can shoot from range (36.8 percent from three for his career) and cause problems for the defense due to his ability to switch off screens to smaller defenders and take advantage of his great size (6-foot-8) to shoot over the defense or drive to the basket and convert the easy free throw (81.3 percent for this career from the charity stripe). Post players Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter show promise as well, being able to clog up the lane on defense and be threats offensively while rebounding the ball (25.5 points per game and 16.1 rebounds per game between the two players this season). Favors and Kanter are both young enough (22 and 21 respectively) to anchor the Utah front court for years to come.
With four positions seeming to be locked up for the future, that leaves Utah with the opportunity to look for a future swingman in this year’s draft.
Jabari Parker is the perfect fit for the Jazz.
At 6-foot-8 and 235 pounds, Parker is a mismatch waiting to happen. Parker can take smaller defenders at the three in the post and use a variety of moves including a step-back jumper or a baby hook or lean it over either shoulder. On bigger defenders, Parker has the quickness and the athleticism to go around his man and finish at the basket, draw contact or even pull up in the mid range before that for an easy two. Parker has a multitude of moves at his disposal and whether it be inside or outside beyond the three, Parker is the go-to scorer that the Jazz have been looking for.
Defensively, Parker has been pegged as limited due to his lack of great lateral quickness, but with two big bodies down low like Kanter and Favors, and another above-average perimeter defender in Hayward, there are plenty of ways to mask Parker’s defensive limitations in order to take advantage of his offensive versatility.
The Jazz need a star player they can re-sign and keep in Utah, and with Parker being of the Mormon faith, both the Jazz and the fan base believe in Parker and most importantly believe that he is the perfect fit for an up-and-coming young team.
All the Jazz need is for the ping pong balls to fall in their favor.