Maybe calling Wednesday’s free-agent mini-camp the Jazz’s version of the Island of Misfit Toys is a little bit harsh… but it’s not inaccurate.
Take Justin Patton, the 2017 No. 16 pick who earned his relatively lofty selection thanks to great athleticism and size, if not a developed offensive game. But a foot injury or three sidelined him and ultimately ended his first contract early, and now the 21-year-old is trying to find his next NBA contract.
Or Cameron Payne, the 2015 No. 15 pick who first disappointed for the Oklahoma City Thunder before disappointing immediately when traded to the Bulls.
“We knew the second practice [after he was acquired] cheap nba jerseys china
that he couldn’t play at [an NBA] level,’’ a Bulls source told the Chicago Sun Times. “The only reason it took two practices was because we thought maybe it was nerves in the first one.”
Or Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira, the 2013 No. 16 pick, a 7-0 center with a 7-5 wingspan who played in 141 games for the Raptors, even starting 10 of them. But battles with depression and alcohol abuse served to hamper his on-court effectiveness.
The highest former pick was Thomas Robinson, who went No.5 overall in 2012 to the Sacramento Kings. Since a 5-year NBA career, Robinson’s played overseas and in the G-League.
It’s these players, plus a cast of 26 other free agents from around the world of basketball, who made up the Jazz’s mini-camp this year. Players who were on the Stars roster last year, like Willie Reed, Isaac Haas, Tre’Shaun Fletcher, Tanner McGrew, and Jairus Lyles all also had the chance to compare themselves to the other free agents.
In the two-day camp, the Jazz try to find which of these players might have a chance to make it beyond their limitations into effective players in the NBA in 2019-20.