The Utah Jazz are in as enviable position as any rebuilding team, apart from, perhaps, the Oklahoma City Thunder. They already have a star to build around in Lauri Markkanen, a rising star in Walker Kessler, and a few youngsters who could turn out to be quality rotation pieces for the next half-decade or so in Collin Sexton, Talen Horton-Tucker and Ochai Agbaji. And now, they will have three opportunities in the first round alone of the 2023 NBA Draft to add considerably to their talent base.
The Jazz certainly wanted to get the opportunity to draft Victor Wembanyama, although their hot start to the 2022-23 season prevented them from doing so. Even then, with the brainpower in the Jazz’s front office, expect them to make the most out of their three selections, one of which will be in the lottery. The other two selections will come at a much trickier spot (16 and 28), and given how there appears to be a lack of consensus among experts outside the Top 3, there seems to be considerable uncertainty when it comes to which direction the Jazz will take.
One thing’s for sure: expect the Jazz to make the most out of their three selections, even the 28th pick, which hasn’t exactly yielded the best crop of players in the past 30 years. However, it’s not impossible to draft a future star or a future rotation lynchpin with that selection, as the likes of Tony Parker, Leandro Barbosa, and Tiago Splitter were taken at this draft spot. In recent history, Jordan Poole and Jaden McDaniels stand out as quality players taken at that spot.
Given what history tells us, it’s enticing to think that what the Jazz must do is target an underrated international prospect, such as Sidy Cissoko or James Nnaji. But with the Jazz already shooting for the stars with their previous two picks, drafting someone whose skills look like a safe bet to translate to the professional level may be what’s best. After all, it’s always healthier to diversify one’s portfolio.
With that said, here is why the Jazz must target Max Lewis with the 28th overall pick that they acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers via the Brooklyn Nets.
Why Jazz must target Max Lewis in 2023 NBA Draft
Part of what makes the NBA Draft so exciting is the unknown. All pundits and scouts can do is project the futures of at least 58 young men who took the leap of faith into playing basketball for a living. And usually, scouts base their projections off of a player’s athletic gifts, physical tools, and their mental makeup, as these three usually tend to dictate how far a youngster goes in his career.
Max Lewis, the sophomore forward out of Pepperdine, doesn’t exactly tick off those three boxes convincingly. He doesn’t have the fast-twitch athleticism of his other more well-regarded peers, and his 6’7 height and 6’10 wingspan, although solid for his position, doesn’t exactly scream athletic outlier. However, Lewis is one of the most hardworking gym rats in this draft class, and he’s always been eager to hone his craft or pick the brain of those who can help him improve his game.
Lewis is a big fan of the late, great Kobe Bryant, and any team that will be drafting the 20-year old forward will get a talented youngster who won’t rest until he has fleshed out the rest of his game.
But what makes Lewis a candidate for selection at the 28th spot, given his exceptional ability to knock down threes at his size and how well this skill projects to translate the next level?
Max Lewis wasn’t exactly flourishing in a successful collegiate program at Pepperdine; the Waves won just nine out of their 31 contests, and Lewis didn’t exactly display the skillset needed to lift his team to a respectable level.
As talented as he is, the limitations of his game makes being a standout two-way player a far-fetched idea, especially this early in his career. He’s not the best shot creator, his ballhandling skills need a lot of polishing, and he doesn’t have the quick first step necessary to compensate for those shortcomings.
The NBA, at the end of the day, is obsessed with upside, and Lewis doesn’t scream future star. But what he has is a high, safe floor, as his shooting ability makes him such a relatively good bet to have a long and prosperous NBA career, even if it doesn’t necessarily result in All-Star selections.
Playing alongside other shot creators that make the lives of their teammates easier will be paramount to Max Lewis’ development. And in the Jazz’ whirring offensive system with capable playmakers such as Jordan Clarkson and Talen Horton-Tucker, not to mention the gravity Lauri Markkanen boasts, Lewis has the skillset to thrive in a supporting role as early as his rookie season.
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Courtesy : https://clutchpoints.com/jazz-must-target-max-lewis-in-2023-nba-draft-with-pick-acquired-from-sixers