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Jazz Select Udoka Azubuike with 27th Pick in the 2020 NBA Draft

Jazz select Udoka Azubuike

After the longest NBA season to date, we finally got the first basketball action since the Los Angeles Lakers won the championship just over a month ago. The NBA draft and trade season has begun and has not disappointed.

After a few draft day trades between the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons, where the Jazz sent away the 23rd pick, the 38th pick, and Tony Bradley in exchange for future considerations and the 27th pick, they selected Kansas Jayhawks Center Udoka Azubuike.

What does the new Jazzman bring to the table?

Azubuike, the 6’11 270 lbs big man, set the record at the NBA combine for standing vertical from a center. He’s coming off of a successful season with the Jayhawks where they went 27-1 before the March Madness tournament was inevitably canceled due to COVID-19. The 21-year-old senior averaged 13.7 points per game while shooting 74.8% from the field, breaking the record of highest career FG% in NCAA history, a record previously held by Tacko Fall (74%). Azubuike also added 10.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game thanks in large part to his 7’7 wingspan. All of this makes him an NBA-ready prospect.

Most draft boards had Azubuike going in the early to mid-second round, which makes fans wonder why he was picked 27th. However, his career accolades back up the hype. In his senior year, Azubuike was the only Big 12 player to average a double-double. He was named Big 12 player of the year, made the All-Big 12 First Team, the Big 12 All-Defensive Team, and led the Big 12 in rebounding.

By trading away Tony Bradley, Azubuike slips right into the backup center spot for the Jazz next season. His frame is a huge plus, being 270 lbs with a 7’7 wingspan. He’ll be able to learn behind All-NBA center Rudy Gobert which could give Azubuike an opportunity to become a solid NBA backup for a win-now Utah Jazz team.

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