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Jazz select Udoka Azubuike with the 27th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft

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With the 27th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz select…

Udoka Azubuike, C – Kansas (7’0”, 265lbs)

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike was the 2020 Big-12 Player of the Year after posting 13.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game last season. Now, he’s the newest member of the Utah Jazz. One of Utah’s main needs coming into draft day was a big man who could fill some minutes behind 2x DPOY Rudy Gobert. For stretches during last season, that player was Tony Bradley. Not only did the Jazz get the backup C they wanted in round 1, they also shipped Bradley to Detroit for future draft considerations.

Pre-Draft Analysis

Strengths
Elite physical tools. Dominant in the paint with his 270-pound frame, 7-foot-8 wingspan and 9-foot-4 standing reach.
Strong contender for national player of the year honors as the best and most important player on the top team in college basketball. Incredibly productive as a rebounder and finisher. Has shown significantly improved hands and timing as a finisher.
Made significant strides on the defensive end, thanks to improved conditioning, a significantly higher intensity level and experience. Had some great moments this season hedging and switching ball screens.

Improvement areas
How much more can he realistically improve, and how will he fit in the modern game?
Shot a very low 44% on free throws.
At times had an inconsistent approach to the game, which led to some friction between him and Kansas’ coaching staff.

Projected role: Imposing, throwback big

Post-Draft Analysis

After trading Tony Bradley to the Pistons, it made sense for the Jazz to target a center like Azubuike to back up Rudy Gobert.

The Kansas product has exceptional physical tools with his size, strength, length and explosive leaping ability, which should give the Jazz a very different look in stretches thanks to his physicality and lob-catching prowess. — ESPN’s Jonathan Givony


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