Why Jazz selected Kyle Filipowski in the second round – Deseret News

Kyle Filipowski has said on multiple occasions that he tried to model his game after Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen. Luckily, the two will now be teammates.

The Jazz drafted Filipowski, a second-year center from Duke, with the 32nd pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

“I really try to model my game after his skill, his mobility and his ability to move at that height, because I think that’s what makes him such a special player,” Filipowski said of Markkanen Thursday evening. “Just being able to have this opportunity to play alongside him and learn from him every day, I’m very grateful for this opportunity. I can’t wait to make the most of it.

Jazz fans certainly have good reason to be excited about the addition of Filipowski to the current roster. Remember when the Jazz had Kelly Olynyk on the team with Walker Kessler and Markkanen — that frontcourt lineup that gave the Jazz a ton of versatility as well as some truly intimidating length? It’s not a stretch to think that Filipowski could add the same kind of depth to the Jazz’s forward line in time.

Although Filipowski played center in college, he doesn’t fit the profile of a traditional big runner and basket protector. But, in the same vein as Olynyk, he’s a smart help defender who is surprisingly good at staying in front of his opponent; he’s good with the ball and can do all the things that make stretchy bigs valuable in today’s NBA.

At 6-foot-11, Filipowski can dribble, pass, shoot, run on either side of a pick-and-roll, he sets great screens, is a good cutter, reads the floor well and can pick-and-pop. He has a great NBA frame and as he fills it out he has the potential to become a strong player at the rim, but he needs to develop a bit to be able to play against stronger players in the post.

“We came in today hoping to get Kyle Filipowski,” Jazz vice president of analytics Shane Fenske said Thursday. “We were very happy that we were able to do that. He’s a super versatile 7-footer who can pass, shoot and really made an impact on a great Duke program winning.”

Many believed Filipowski would be taken out of the draft before the end of the first round, including the entire Jazz front office. Some reports indicated that Filipowski was nervous during the pre-draft process. But the Jazz front office was not worried about anything and saw no warning signs in Filipowski.

“We are thoroughly studying all prospects in the draft to make sure we are ultimately comfortable selecting them,” said Steven Schwartz, Jazz vice president of basketball strategy. “We are more than happy to have Kyle join the Jazz and we are comfortable with everything. We’re excited about who he is as a person, so we’re not worried.

Kyle Filipowski walks the red carpet ahead of the NBA basketball draft on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, in New York City.
Kyle Filipowski walks the red carpet before the NBA draft on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, in New York. On Thursday, the Utah Jazz selected him in the second round. | Julia Nikhinson, Associated Press

In his second season with the Blue Devils, Filipowski averaged 16.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 34.8 percent from 3-point range – a big increase from his freshman shooting numbers when he made just 28.2 percent from three.

The Jazz have been studying Filipowski for several years and are confident that his shooting progression is real and will translate to the NBA. It will take time for him to develop into a solid, reliable NBA player, but at first glance, it appears that the Jazz got a great value with a second-round pick.

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