Jazz 2024 NBA Mock Draft 2.0: Utah Rounds Out Top 10 With Two-Way Wing

Jazz 2024 NBA Mock Draft 2.0: Utah Rounds Out Top 10 With Two-Way Wing

With the 2024 NBA Draft quickly approaching in just over two weeks, itmakes fora great time to put together another mock projecting how the board currently stands for the Utah Jazz. This year projects to be one of the more wide-open classes in recent memory, so it opens the door for them to land a notably impactful player, even at number ten overall.

Recent developments in the scouting world have started to solidify the top one or two spots in this draft, but beyond that, many prospects could end up meriting lottery status. For the Jazz at ten, it leaves numerous candidates to look at, and with the right selection, their rebuild process could see some worthwhile strides forward.

With that, let’s see how the top ten of the draft board could eventually pan out later this month:

Atlanta could turn a few different ways with this pick, with Risacher and a potential trade-out being in play, but Sarr is the type of player the modern NBA is transitioning toward. Tall, lengthy, two-way big men are slowly becoming the future of the league, and the Hawks could secure one of their own with the seven-foot Frenchman.

Risacher is the type of player who could likely mesh with just about any team sitting in the lottery, but his upside as an impact two-way wing is too much for Washington to pass up at two. The Wizards can pair him with their already established collection of young forwards like Bilal Coulibaly and Deni Avdija to have a sizeable and versatile core to build around.

Mar 15, 2024; Nashville, TN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Reed Sheppard (15) drives down the lane against the Texas A&M Aggies during the second half at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 15, 2024; Nashville, TN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Reed Sheppard (15) drives down the lane against the Texas A&M Aggies during the second half at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports / Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Like Risacher, Sheppard’s skillset makes him a complimentary fit in virtually any backcourt thanks to his elite shooting numbers and high defensive motor, and that’s exactly why the Rockets could target the Kentucky guard here at three. Houston was just five games away from making a Play-In bid this past season, but still ranked bottom-ten in the NBA for three-point percentage. This pick could help that out.

It’s no secret that the Spurs are looking for a point guard to add into the mix this summer, and Castle makes an interesting case to be the man for the job. He’s got the size and defensive upside to create a dangerous two-way tandem with Victor Wembanyama and is coming fresh off a national title win. For a San Antonio team suffering from five straight losing seasons, that winning pedigree may be necessary.

The Pistons could use some playmaking firepower alongside Cade Cunningham. Detroit has many talented young players on the roster but needs a connecting piece to help this unit take this rebuild to the next level. As long as Buzelis can iron out his shooting flaws from last season with the Ignite, he can easily mesh into that coveted role with the Motor City.

Mar 28, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; West forward Ron Holland (1) during the McDonald's All American Boy's high school basketball game at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 28, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; West forward Ron Holland (1) during the McDonald’s All American Boy’s high school basketball game at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Hornets have a couple of solid building blocks in place, with LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller headlining their core, but this team is still many steps away from contention. While Charlotte continues to build for the future, adding a raw, athletic, and defensive-focused wing can, at minimum, assist their 29th-ranked defense from last year, and could even see him develop further offensively in due time.

Salaun is one of the rawest of the prospects entering the draft this summer but also possesses one of the highest ceilings. At 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan at just 18 years old, the sky is the limit for a player in his mold, but it has to come with stellar development in unison. Portland has a ton of time on their hands to do so, considering the state of their roster, and could end up taking a flier here at seven.

As mentioned earlier, the Spurs are in the market for more guard talent in their arsenal, so why not double up on the position in the top ten? Bringing in Dillingham could effectively add an effective secondary scorer into their offense, and potentially give them another dart throw for their future backcourt. Defensively, there may be some concerns, but those are not as alarming when paired next to a body like Wembanyama.

Clingan has been a player to gain some consideration in the top three of this draft cycle, but the UCONN center ends up falling to ninth in this scenario. However, the Grizzlies wouldn’t be complaining for a second, as his presence next to Jaren Jackson Jr. could give this team a much-needed defensive lift after a shaky and injury-plagued season in Memphis.

Feb 13, 2024; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears guard Ja'Kobe Walter (4) celebrates after scoring a basket against the Oklahoma Sooners during the second half at Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 13, 2024; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears guard Ja’Kobe Walter (4) celebrates after scoring a basket against the Oklahoma Sooners during the second half at Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports / Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

One year removed from drafting a Baylor guard, the Jazz would have ample reason to secure another during this cycle with Ja’Kobe Walter.

Standing 6-foot-5 with a lengthy 6-foot-10 wingspan, the 19-year-old could be a strong pickup for Utah at the tail end of the top ten, as Jazz could benefit immensely from adding some wing depth this summer.

Their most recent trade deadline left them without Ochai Agbaji and Simone Fontecchio, leaving their rotation a bit shallow. Walter is a guy filling that need on both ends of the floor and should be a name this front office has circled.

Similarly to Keyonte George last year, Walter had a bumpy freshman campaign when it came to shooting the ball– averaging a 37.6% clip from the field and 34.1% from deep. However, scouts still hold optimism in his floor-spacing ability, as those numbers came off a high volume of shots (10.9 FGA, 6.3 3PA). So, if he can find improved and smarter looks in the pros, the college numbers are a non-factor.

Defensively, he checks the boxes both on and off the ball, which should catch the attention of Utah based on how their most recent season fared on that side of the floor. The Jazz ranked dead-last in the NBA for defensive rating in 2023-24, so any opportunity to see some growth when getting stops is exactly what Utah should be searching for in this draft.

A selection of Walter likely won’t make the Jazz championship contenders overnight. Nonetheless, his fit on this roster stands out as an ideal option to keep in mind as Utah nears closer to draft day.

The first round of the 2024 NBA Draft will officially kick off on June 26th.

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