3 Teams that absolutely crushed the 2023 NBA Draft with smart moves

NBA Draft prospect Brandin Podziemski (James Snook-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Draft prospect Brandin Podziemski (James Snook-USA TODAY Sports) /
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NBA Draft
NBA Draft prospect Taylor Hendricks (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports) /

2. Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz appeared to be headed toward a complete rebuild heading into this season when they traded their two stars, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. However, they shocked the world as they were very competitive and got close to making the play-in tournament in the Western Conference. They built on their success this season by getting three top 15 players on the draft Twitter consensus big board.

They started their incredible draft performance by selecting Taylor Hendricks with the ninth pick, a stretch four who can shoot threes and block shots as a secondary rim protector. He’s also a good athlete who runs the floor well and can finish above the rim. He should be a great fit next to Walker Kessler, who had an incredible rookie season last year and appears to be Rudy Gobert 2.0.

Their next selection was just outside the lottery as they selected Keyonte George with the 16th pick. George is a fascinating prospect, as he can create shots off the dribble at a high level and has great upside as a three-point shooter. He’s also a decent passer who racked up assists at a good rate in college.

Unfortunately, he has some major flaws, as he is an underwhelming athlete who isn’t a great rim finisher and turns the ball over way too much. His strengths as a player are extremely valuable, but his flaws will likely cap his upside as an on-ball creator. Still, he is a talented player who is worth taking on the risk outside of the lottery. The Jazz have a pretty weak backcourt at the moment, and George could potentially slide in as the starter early in his career.

The Jazz’ final pick came toward the end of the first round, as they selected Brice Sensabaugh with the 28th pick. Sensabaugh had a phenomenal freshman season at Ohio State in which he was an elite scorer and long-distance shooter, especially for a 19-year-old. He is legitimately one of the best perimeter scorers in the draft, and he has the potential to be a flamethrower from behind the arc.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t do much outside of that. His defense is a major question mark, and his passing ability is sub-par as well. This caps his upside, but he has a clear role on offense, and he should be, at minimum, a solid role player who gets buckets as a sixth man.

The Utah Jazz did a great job of attacking the weaknesses of their roster and taking smart upside swings in the back half of the first round. They should continue to improve heading into next season.