For the Utah Jazz, losers of four straight going into a home game against the New York Knicks on Monday, March 31 the season couldn’t end fast enough.
The Jazz are destined to get a high lottery pick based on having the fourth worst record in the NBA at this point.
The 2014 NBA Draft is going to be loaded with the best draft class in decades — including several players who just wrapped up the Elite 8 on Sunday, March 30.
Not all of the Jazz’ prospects at the Elite 8, however, were winners — either by team or individual performance.
With picks at Nos. 4, 23, and 34 at the draft the Jazz have a range of players to choose from — but several didn’t impress as well as they could have.
James Young of Kentucky can drain the rock from three-point land — but he’s prone to foul, too. Gary Harris of Michigan State was steady — but far from spectacular in a loss to UConn.
Here are your losers at the Elite 8.
James Young, Kentucky
Young has been showing his age — or lack thereof — the past two games. First, he fouled out of Kentucky’s Sweet 16 win. Next, he had a better game against Michigan, scoring 13 points and hauling in four rebounds — but it wasn‘t stellar by any means.
His draft stock is dropping with every bad game he plays in the NCAA Tournament — but he’s still a solid late first-round pick, someone the Jazz could select at No. 23 if he’s still available.
Gary Harris, Michigan State
Harris didn’t take Tom Izzo’s bunch to the Promised Land at this NCAA Tournament, and his play can be characterized as schizophrenic.
In the Sweet 16 he disappeared — only to reappear at the Elite Eight and score 22 points in the Spartans’ loss to UConn. Even so, he’s still a consideration at the Jazz’ No. 23 spot.
Adreian Payne, Michigan State
Payne needed to have a big game before casting his lot into the NBA Draft. He didn’t come through. The 6-9 senior reportedly has had a few medical problems — such as lacking lung capacity.
His upside (physical and mental, not to mention defense) is good enough that the Jazz would be foolish not to consider him as a late first-round or early second-round pick.
Aaron Gordon, Arizona
Nobody –outside of UCLA’s Zach LaVine — has had a more disappointing NCAA Tournament than Gordon. Arizona needed him to step up big-time against Wisconsin — and he didn’t deliver.
At the Elite Eight against the Badgers he had 18 rebounds but only eight points. That said, Gordon is still in that late lottery pick range — but he could have done more at March Madness to help his draft stock.
Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
Dekker was once considered a possible lottery pick but the Keith Van Horn look-alike has done nothing but disappoint the entire NCAA Tournament. Lucky for his team, Kaminsky has stepped up big time.
But Dekker might do well to stay in school one more year before turning pro. Seven points and eight rebounds against Arizona in the Elite 8 means he probably isn’t ready for the next level.