Just over two months ago, Malachi Richardson and Michael Gbinije were singing the Chicago blues en route to an impeccable comeback win over Virginia to propel Syracuse to the Final Four. Now, the pair must change their musical tune for their upcoming workouts with the Utah Jazz. However, the tryout spells different fates for the former Orange hoopers. The Jazz hold the 12th, 42nd, 52nd and 60th pick in this year’s Draft. Here’s what this week’s tryout means for the guards.
The Utah invite is a strange one for Richardson. Most mock drafts don’t have the Trenton product going before than the early 20’s. Given the mediocrity of the middle crop of this year’s draft, trading back isn’t out of the question for the Jazz if they really like Richardson. The 6’6 shooting guard is all but a lock to be a first rounder or else he likely would be wearing orange next season. The fact that Utah is interested in Richardson given their picks can only mean good things for the McDonald’s All-American. It may be a hint that his stock is rising into the top half of the first round.
As for Gbinije, the Jazz invite makes tons of sense. Utah owns a plethora of second round picks, which is where Silent G projects to go. As a long, athletic guard in college, Gbinije was a defensive force who finished first in the ACC in steals. With the NBA moving towards more small ball lineups, the Duke transfer would be an ideal fit on any roster due to his defensive prowess as well as his three-point shooting. Pro teams surely rave over his consistency due to the fact that Gbinije racked up double digit points in every game this season. His age may concern teams, but in recent memory, plenty of notable names have stayed in college for an extensive amount of time, such as Draymond Green, Damian Lillard and Jimmy Butler. In fact, only one player in this year’s MVP voting opted to go pro after their freshman year.
It would be neat to see Richardson and Gbinije team up at the next level, but the reality is that if the two were to go from the Salt City to the Salt Lake City, there would need to be some moves made by the Jazz front office.