Northwest Notes: Jazz Draft, THT, Iowa Wolves, Connelly

Armed with three first-round picks in 2023, CEO Danny Ainge says the the Jazz will have at least 10 members of the organization present at the NBA draft combine in a couple weeks, writes Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.

Some. Yeah,” Ainge said when asked how much stock the team puts into the combine. “We’ll have 10 of us or more there anyway. We’ll spend a lot more time watching [the prospects] there collectively, with groups, and evaluating them. And we’ll have a lot of time at the combine and in draft workouts to get to know them up close and personal.”

The Jazz control their own first-rounder, currently projected to be No. 9 overall, though that draft slot could change when the lottery is conducted on May 16. They also control the Wolves’ (No. 16) and Sixers’ (No. 28) first-round picks from trades last summer. According to Walden, the team plans to bring in a horde of prospects to Utah for workouts, but it won’t be publicly disclosing those players “for competitive reasons.”

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • Talen Horton-Tucker is a difficult player to evaluate and that was certainly true of his performance with the Jazz during the 2022/23 season, according to Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Todd says she would be surprised if Horton-Tucker declines his $11MM player option for ’23/24 due to his inconsistency, but notes that he’s still only 22 years old despite the fact that he’s already played four seasons. Horton-Tucker will be extension-eligible if he picks up his option, but Todd thinks the Jazz should take a wait-and-see approach with the young guard next season.
  • The Timberwolves‘ G League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves, received a couple of NBAGL awards, per a press release. The franchise received the President’s Choice Award for demonstrating “excellence in business performance across key areas of focus.” The team set a franchise record for attendance in ’22/23. Iowa Wolves president Ryan Grant was also named G League Executive of the Year, as voted by his peers.
  • Tim Connelly is a Baltimore native and got his start with the Wizards, which is why speculation about him possibly re-joining the organization won’t go away. Still, Minnesota’s president of basketball operations plans to remain with the Timberwolves next season, he said in a radio interview with Chad Hartman of WCCO. “That’s certainly the plan,” Connelly said, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. “That’s why we came here, moved here. We had a lot of unfinished business. It’s been a really fun year, on and off the court, and we’re fully committed to being a Timberwolf.”
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