Jazz vice president of professional personnel Bart Taylor speaks to the media after the 2019 Utah Jazz minicamp on the Zion Bank basketball campus. The Jazz will host a similar training camp this week. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
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SALT LAKE CITY — Eighteen NBA free agents have arrived in Salt Lake City looking to continue their careers.
The Utah Jazz will host a two-day free-agent minicamp — starting Tuesday and ending Wednesday — on the Zion Bank basketball campus that will include NBA vets, G League hopes, and a few in between. people.
Teams have attended these camps in the past — even spotting now-long-running starter Royce O’Neal in one of them — but this year’s edition seems more urgent because the Jazz don’t have a draft pick.
“We need to find someone at the end of the list who can contribute,” said Bart Taylor, Jazz vice president of professional personnel. “A lot of them are in the NBA; some of the best players in the G League. We need to find people who can come in and be at the bottom of the roster and contribute.”
It sounds simple.
Of those 18 players, 11 have some NBA experience, including Aaron Crabbe, Wes Iwundu, Tyler Johnson, TJ Leif and Pat McCaw, who have played in the Over 100 NBA games.
There’s no real mystery in the group (13 of those players appear in the NBA G League in 2021-22), but it’s good to see them up close and get them to practice.
“What we’re really looking for is how competitive they are and how hard they play, how they get concepts. Get to know them up close and in person,” said Taylor, who also serves as general manager of the Salt Lake Stars. “You can look at other teams’ players, see how they play, you can like them or not, but when they’re in your building, you can touch them and coach them and really see how they’re doing and how they’re interacting with other teammates, How they interact with the coach, how they take over is a very important part of our assessment for us.”
And players who need a free agency minicamp in their careers are eager to show up. Quin Snyder’s track record in developing role players — O’Neal, Joe Ingles, Jordan Clarkson — makes it easy for players to show up early in the offseason, Taylor said.
“They want to come here because they know it’s a place they can get better,” Taylor said.
The Jazz hope they can develop a mutually beneficial relationship with at least one player. Unsurprisingly, the 13 members of this group can be considered wingers and may contribute to Utah’s lack of size on the perimeter.
When asked specifically, Taylor sidestepped the question a bit, but did say the team “is always looking for long arms that can play on the wing,” before adding “that’s what we’re looking for, so it’s been appeared in this group.”
None of the media has reached out to these players.
Utah Jazz mini-camp roster:
Derek Alston Jr.: 6-9 Wings; 24 years old; has appeared in zero NBA games. The former Boise State wing averaged 19.6 points and 6.9 rebounds for the Salt Lake Stars last season.
Alan Crabbe: 6-5 wing, 30 years old; he has played in 381 professional NBA games over the past seven seasons. Crabbe last played in the NBA during the 2019-20 season with the Minnesota Timberwolves.A full-time starter for Brooklyn, Crabbe is a career 39% 3-point shooter
Kevin Harris: 6-6 wing; 24 years old; has appeared in zero NBA games. Last season, the former Stephen F. Austin wing averaged 15.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in the G League with the Raptors 905.
Aaron Henry: 6-6 Wing; Age 22; Appears in 6 games for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2021-22. Henry averaged 13.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game for the G League’s Delaware Hens last season.
Wes Iwandu: 6-6 wing; 27 years old; played 226 NBA games. After playing just three games last season, Iwundu is trying to find his place in the NBA. The former second-round pick played 182 games for the Magic over three seasons before switching to the Mavericks, Pelicans and Hawks.
Alice Johnson: 6-7 Wing; Age 26; Played 72 NBA games for his career. Johnson played very little with the Bulls, Pelicans and Wizards last season.
Taylor Johnson: 6-3 guards; 30 years old; played in 354 NBA games during his eight-year career. Johnson was in the rotation during his days in Miami, Phoenix and Brooklyn; however, last season, he only signed a few 10-day deals.
Callick Jones: 6-1 guard; 24 years old; already played five games for the Mavericks and Nuggets last season. Jones averaged 20.2 points in 10 games with the G League’s Texas Legends last season.
Tyrek Jones: 6-9 Wings; Age 25; Played in zero NBA games. The former Xavier Musketeer has performed overseas in South Korea, Israel and Italy.
Louis King: 6-7 Wing; Age 23; Played 26 NBA games in three seasons. King, a former five-star recruit who fell out of the draft after a season at Oregon, averaged 18.5 points and shot 41 percent from 3-point range in six games in the G League last season.
TJ Leaf: 6-10 forward; 25 years old; played 146 professional NBA games. The 2017 first-round pick fell out of the league and played in China last season.
Pat McCaw: 6-7 Wing; 26 years old; has played in 199 professional NBA games over the past five seasons. McCaw started his career with three championship teams (two Warriors, one Raptor) but didn’t play in the NBA last season.
Isaiah Miller: 6-0 guard; 23 years old; never played in an NBA game. Miller averaged 12.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for the Iowa Wolves in the G League.
Craig Grandel II: 6-4 guard; never played in an NBA game. Randle had 26.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists in the G League last season.
Chris Silva: 6-8 forward; 25 years old; played in 69 professional NBA games over the past three seasons. Silva averaged 15.1 points and 9.8 rebounds in 12 games in the G League last season.
Devidas Silvidas: 6-8 Wing; Age 21; Played 23 career NBA games in two seasons. The youngest player in the Jazz minicamp, he spent his first two seasons in the NBA in Detroit.
Justin Tillman: 6-8 wing; 26 years old; never played in the NBA. The former Virginia Commonwealth player averaged 23.5 points and 11.6 rebounds in the G League last season.
Jared Wilson Framework: 6-6 wing; 25; never played in the NBA. He averaged 17.0 points and 5.3 assists per game for the Salt Lake City Stars last season.
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