The Utah Jazz have to enter the 2023 NBA Draft feeling pretty good about themselves. The franchise is coming off a surprising season in which it nearly earned a playoff spot despite trading away cornerstones Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
Lauri Markkanen earned the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award while averaging 25.6 points per game, while Jordan Clarkson averaged a career-high 20.8 points per game.
The Jazz also have three first-round selections in the NBA Draft, picks number 9, 16, and 28. The team could use all three picks, but the more likely scenario is that Utah trades away at least one of these picks.
The most significant need for the Jazz is ball handling, and they can attack this deficiency with their ninth overall pick. Points guards Anthony Black (Arkansas) and Cason Wallace (Kentucky) are projected lottery picks who perfectly fill Utah’s hole at point guard.
Moving to the middle of the first round, the drop-off is considerable. Guys like G.G. Jackson and Keyontae George were inefficient college scorers. At the same time, the likes of Leonard Miller and Bilal Coulibaly are young unproven talents who have a high ceiling but could just as easily be busts.
This makes Utah’s 16th overall pick a probable trade piece for the Jazz. Here are three trades the Jazz should pursue if they decide to shop their mid-first-round pick.
3 best Jazz trades using No. 16 pick in 2023 NBA Draft
1) Shipping Sexton to Toronto
Jazz Receive: OG Anunoby
Raptors Receive: Collin Sexton, 16th Pick in 2023 NBA Draft, 28th Pick in 2023 NBA Draft
In Anunoby, the Jazz receive a three-and-d wing with the ability to be a great third scoring option on a playoff team.
As long as Jordan Clarkson is the go-to backcourt option in Salt Lake City, it is difficult to see Collin Sexton succeeding. Both are on-ball guards who — while they both have point guard experience — act as scorers rather than distributors. Sexton is still looking for the right team fit, and maybe it is in Toronto.
The Alabama product played the fewest minutes per game of his career in 2022-23 as he dealt with injuries, and he posted his best offensive efficiency to go with his worst defensive rating. Toronto will hope he can find a happy medium.
2) Helping Philly shake it up
Jazz Receive: De’Anthony Melton
76ers Receive: 16th Pick in 2023 NBA Draft
The Philadelphia 76ers need to upgrade its bench, are deep into the luxury tax, and don’t own a pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Melton gives the Jazz multi-positional defending and three-point shooting off the bench as a low-volume scorer.
Utah’s last first-round pick could be thrown in here to sweeten the deal, with the 76ers adding a future second-rounder to balance things out.
Jazz Receive: T.J. McConnell
Pacers Receiver: 16th Pick in 2023 NBA Draft
It’s difficult to see the Pacers starting the 2023-24 NBA season with their backup point guard as their fourth-highest-paid player. McConnell is a good backup point guard, but star point guard Tyrese Haliburton enters free agency next year (albeit, restricted) and is going to command a lot of money.
McConnell is a veteran, pass-first presence in the backcourt who still has the ability to be a scorer when needed. Utah will not be afraid to take on his salary, and the Pacers could use this first-round pick — along with three others this year — to broker a blockbuster deal, possibly even making this a three-team trade.
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