Scott G Winterton,
FILE: Utah Jazz VP of Player Personnel Walt Parrin, talks with the media after the Utah Jazz worked out six more prospects Wednesday, June 3, 2015, at the the Zions Back Baseketball Center in Salt Lake City. On Saturday, June 3, 2017, during another Jazz workout in preparation for the 2017 NBA draft, Perrin said, "We’re probably further along doing that this year. We’ve got a few more workouts coming up, but I think we still have enough strategy days left so far."
SALT LAKE CITY — Over the past few years, the Utah Jazz have become known for the high number of prospects they bring in for workouts prior to the NBA draft, as about 100 players have come to Salt Lake City each spring.
By design, the Jazz have taken a different approach in 2017. Vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin and general manager Dennis Lindsey have talked over the last two years about having more “strategy days” where they spend time watching film of prospects and discussing them instead of conducting a workout.
With less than three weeks to go before the June 22 draft, Utah has held just five official workouts, bringing in 30 players total. The latest one on Saturday featured Florida State wing Dwayne Bacon, Michigan guard Derrick Walton, Washington State guard Ike Iroegbu, SMU wing Sterling Brown, North Carolina post Kennedy Meeks and Vanderbilt big man Luke Kornet.
“It’s helped us that we’ve been able to get as a staff into the theater and watch a lot of players on Synergy (a video scouting service), talk about it,” Perrin said. “We’re probably further along doing that this year. We’ve got a few more workouts coming up, but I think we still have enough strategy days left so far.”
Perrin did note that there’s some differences in scheduling workouts with the 24th and 30th picks of the first round rather than somewhere in the lottery like they have the past four years.
The Jazz own the 42nd and 55th picks in the second round as well.
“The pool is a little bit wider,” Perrin said. “I’m still trying to get guys in that I think are late teens in agents’ eyes but maybe they’re in our (range). I’m having problems doing that, but I think it’s been good that we have four picks this year … we’ve got basically the whole draft covered except for maybe the top 18 players.”
DWAYNE BACON: The most notable prospect to participate in Saturday’s workout was Bacon, who averaged 17.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game last season as a sophomore for the Seminoles.
Bacon tested the draft waters in 2016 after a strong freshman season, and was being discussed by some as a possible lottery pick before he decided to return to Tallahassee. He’s in the draft for good this year, but may not get selected in the first round.
Despite that, the 6-foot-7, 221-pound Bacon said Saturday that he’s grown as a player over the last year.
“I’ve gotten better in my overall game,” he said. “In every aspect I’ve gotten better. Every aspect I improved. All my percentages are improved. I just wanted to go back and mature and be a better player, and that’s what I did.”
DEFENSE: Bacon said he feels the Jazz know he can score, so he wanted to show Saturday that he can defend, too, although he noted that can be challenging playing 3-on-3 in a workout (teams can only bring in six players per workout).
“I’m so used to 5-on-5,” he said. “It’s a big court, a lot of space, so it’s definitely hard.”
Perrin acknowledged that defending is a challenge during workouts because there’s less of a team concept to it, but he said he’s still looking for individual effort from prospects, especially how vocal they are.
“We try to look and see how well they defend the ball and how well they defend when we run screens, how they get through them,” he said, “and whether or not they’re talking — all the defenders — whether they’re talking enough to help their teammates.”