With the 12th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft the Utah Jazz select Devin Booker from Kentucky.
From SLC Dunk: Last season was a wing travesty for Utah with the injuries to Alec Burks and Rodney Hood. This reinforced the idea that they need not just quality, but also depth. The Jazz may have acquired both with Devin Booker. Actual GM Dennis Lindsey is on a streak of adding defensive minded players who are long and/or athletic. Drafting Booker really bucks the current trend. He’s not long for his position. He’s not athletic. And he’s not really a defender. Furthermore, Devin isn’t going to improve his length or explosiveness. But with directed coaching and development he’ll become stronger, and he’s already pretty strong for a guard. So he’s already on his path to being an average defender. That should be more than enough to get him on the floor a few times a game.
And while he’s not really a Dennis Lindsey player, in those stints on the floor you’ll really see that Booker is a Quin Snyder player. The Jazz head coach runs a hybrid Duke / CSKA / Spurs / Hawks offense. The players who excel are the ones who have multiple tools. Booker is a shooting specialist, perhaps even the best deep threat in this draft, but he’s always on the look out to make the next pass. I’m also impressed with his movement off screens or how he cuts hard to the basket. He thrives in a ball sharing offense, and coming to Utah he’ll find it’s the place for him. There will be strong competition for minutes with Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Rodney Hood, and Lance Stephenson (via trade earlier in this blogger draft) all on the team. But it also means that the youngest player in this draft class isn’t going to be expected to sink or swim early on.
Kevin: Yes, the Jazz had some trouble injury last year and some inconsistent play because of injury, but does this make an ounce of sense after the trade for Lance Stephenson who is going to be the Day 1 starter at shooting guard for the Jazz. Then Alec Burke and Rodney Hood are going to be competing for the minutes there as well.
I could see the Jazz sending him down to the D-League to get a little more seasoning before coming up to the main roster. We’ll see what happens though.
Lucas: The Jazz are in a peculiar position in the West, they finished at 38-44 last season, and seemed to find their niche as an imposing defense team, led by 7’2" Rudy Gobert’s go-go gadget arms. The team showed flashes of becoming a playoff team in the near future, and looked to bolster their playoff hopes earlier in the day when they traded for anemic guard Lance Stephenson. The addition of the former Charlotte guard will hopefully bring the Jazz a boost on offense-they ranked 26th in points per game in the NBA last season- and with the selection of Myles Turner three picks earlier solidifying their front court, the Jazz decided to go against their new defensive identity, and select sharpshooter Devin Booker from Kentucky.
The 6’6"shooting guard from Lexington knocked down 41.1% of his threes last season, and averaged nearly four threes per contest. Booker showed a decent ability to knock down shots on his own, using his strength to leverage himself into scoring opportunities, but I believe that Booker will enjoy the most success if he continues to improve his ability to use screens and movement away from the ball to create scoring opportunities for himself. I actually disagree with the idea that Booker isn’t athletic, while he certainly doesn’t possess elite athleticism, he demonstrated an ability to play above the rim at times last season. The question with Booker will be whether he can become a passable defender, which may limit his minutes next season. Still, it will be fun to watch Exum and to a lesser extent Stephenson penetrate the defense and kick to him for open threes, and he should provide spacing for Utah’s main scorers Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward.
Taylor: Booker is a smart player and he can shoot the ball. He will probably spend most of his time as a spot-up shooter but if the defense collapses out on him, he can usually find a cutter or an open man. He doesn't have great size, measuring at 6'6" with a 6'8" wingspan, and isn't the most athletic, recording a 35.5" vertical at the combine, but he can score the ball, he has a good nose for the ball on defense, and he has a high basketball IQ. I like this pick for the Jazz.
Dontae: You trade for Lance Stephenson, you give Alec Burks a 4-year/$42 Million extension, you draft Rodney Hood last season, so now you grab Devin Booker? One hand you can absolutely never have enough shooters, but on the other hand where is he going to play? I guess there is nothing wrong with sending him down to the D-League, but there were more interesting prospects still on the board in my mind.
With a team this young and stacked full of potential, you can use this pick to swing for the fences. Sam Dekker is more dynamic wing with a higher ceiling than Booker. Jerian Grant would have given them help with a unproven backcourt on both ends of the floor. I personally am not a Trey Burke fan, Grant's size and abilities would be an upgrade in my opinion.