With the 23rd pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz select small forward Rodney Hood from Duke.
At 6’8, Hood is extremely long and lanky and should transition into the small forward position quite smoothly at this level. He’s an excellent three-point shooter both off-the-dribble, and in catch-and-shoot situations. His defense is questioned at times, but Hood is athletic and agile enough to defend his position, which will be key with so many of the league’s top scorers playing the small forward.
NBA-level conditioning will certainly help, but Hood will definitely need to bulk up and add strength in order to contend with some of the bigger swingmen he’ll be matched up against. Hood isn’t the best rebounder at his position, but adding strength could remedy that issue.
As astutely mentioned by ESPN’s Bill Simmons, Hood could also be viewed as a potential replacement for Gordon Hayward if the Jazz were to lose him this summer via free agency. Whether in a reserve role or as a starter, Hood’s ability to spread the floor and score in various ways gives the Jazz yet another young, dynamic player for head coach Quin Snyder to utilize. The Jazz – all of the sudden- went from having one of the league’s worst offensive units to having a versatile core group that can develop into a serious threat in the upcoming years.
“I’m very excited just to get to Utah and play with those guys,” Hood said. “I got a big chip on my shoulder now, and I’m just ready to get there.”
Hood was expected by some to potentially even go as early as a late-lottery selection, so there is a bit of a “steal” feeling with this pick for the Jazz. His NBA comparisons have ranged from a “poor man’s” Paul Pierce to that of a young Rashard Lewis, likely due to his build left-handed stroke from the perimeter.
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