BYU's Eric Mika among draft prospects to impress Utah Jazz so far

BYU's Eric Mika among draft prospects to impress Utah Jazz so far

SALT LAKE CITY — Over the last couple of years, the Utah Jazz have taken their pre-draft workouts to another level, working out more than 100 prospects in the weeks leading up to the draft.

The Jazz wanted to develop a deep database of potential players.

While that remains the case overall, the team will scale back a bit this year, opting for fewer workout days and more days of analysis and discussion about the prospects.

Those conversations among front-office personnel will be especially important this year as the Jazz have four mid-to-late selections in the June 22 draft, including two first-round picks (24 and 30) and two choices in the second round (42 and 55).

Though they’ll have fewer workouts, Jazz executive Walt Perrin, vice president of player personnel, is intrigued by the quality of players they’ll be able to host for tryouts at the practice facility.

“I’m just concerned about getting the best players in here,” Perrin said, “so we can make a fair evaluation of them, get to know them and be prepared for the draft.”

Utah won’t be picking until the lottery is long over after qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in five years, but Perrin is optimistic that this draft has depth.

“I think it’s got some very good players. I think because of the freshmen and one-and-done (players), it will be a fairly deep draft in terms of talent,” Perrin said. “(Are) there players in this draft who can eventually become franchise players? We’ll have to wait and see.”

Saturday’s pre-draft workout wasn’t exactly loaded with top prospects, but the Jazz aren’t just looking to round out their NBA roster. They also have a D-League roster to fill up.

This session included the intriguing 7-foot-6 prospect Tacko Fall, a center from Senegal who hasn’t decided whether he’ll return to Central Florida or hire an agent and put his name in the hat for the draft. Others who worked out Saturday were Louisville forward Deng Adel, Illinois guard Malcolm Hill, Connecticut center Amida Brimah, Iowa State guard Naz Mitrou-Long and Brazilian forward Wesley Alves Da Silva.

Former BYU big man Eric Mika, who decided to forgo the rest of his collegiate eligibility to pursue a pro career, is the most recognizable player the Jazz have worked out so far.

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“Eric had a very good workout for us,” Perrin said. “He really competed, really ran the court well.”

Perrin complimented the 6-foot-10 forward for shooting well in his Jazz workout, which happened two weeks ago. Mika was able to showcase his offensive skills, particularly his jumper, which Perrin pointed out wasn’t usually on display at BYU.

So, is Mika an NBA-caliber type player?

Perrin said it really depends on the fit with the team.

“Can he be drafted? Yes,” Perrin said. “Can he go undrafted? That’s that possibility, yes, also.”



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Published at Sun, 21 May 2017 01:25:00 +0000