Utah Jazz looking to make it big with their No. 3 pick : NBA Draft Update
As the 2011 NBA Drafts draw closer, all the teams who have the first round-pick option have increased their activities. One of them is Salt Lake City based franchise Utah Jazz, who have number three and number 12 pick in the draft.
Ever since the departure of their All Star Deron Williams, Jazz have been emphasizing on restructuring their team around youth. They have been rumours that they may also trade their veterans Pail Millsap and Deron Williams in order to get some fresh blood on their roster. With an apparent obsession to land some exciting talent, the June 23 draft presents an ideal opportunity for them to get a good head start.
Utah’s General Manager Kevin O’ Conner will be representing the franchise in Thursday’s draft and he has vowed to make sure that his franchise reaps the maximum benefit from the lucrative picks. Jazz have secured a top ten pick only for the third time since the early 80s.
O’Connor said, “Certainly there’s a little more pressure. Your pool becomes smaller as far as possible choices go. You’ve got to dig a little deeper and find the right guy. … You’ve got to hit it."
Utah got the top pick option when they traded their guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets, back in February this year. They received a further boost when their potential number six pick jumped up to the number three slot in Lottery.
The Jazz failed to register a berth in the 2011 playoffs and they ended the season at No. 11 spot in the Western Conference with 39 victories and 43 losses. During the regular-season Utah endured many wounds, first their Hall of Fame coach Jerry Salon resigned from his position because of reported differences with front office and Deron Williams. Three days after his resignation, Williams was traded to the New Jersey Nets, leaving a big void in the Jazz back court. The Jazz were already in a tail spin at that point and things didn’t change much after that. Sloans’ successor Tyrone Corbin couldn’t prevent the free fall as Jazz continued to lose one game after another. Utah lost 12 games out of 17 after the departure of Williams and ultimately bowed out of the post season race.
However, with their favourable draft picks, the Jazz are now looking to make the things right. On Wednesday, the Utah coaches and officials observed the skills of Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette, the two hot shots from the upcoming draft. Walker spearheaded the Connecticut Huskies to National College Athletic Association (NCAA) championship, while Fredette remained the top scorer with 28.9 points per game during the college basketball season.
The next day, Utah officials gauged another young gun Brandon Knight and Corbin had only good things to say about him after the practice session. However, it remains to be seen, who the Jazz will pick from the draft so they could fill the gap left with the departure of Williams.