Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: Tennessee F Dalton Knecht

May 17, 2024, 5:49 PM

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SALT LAKE CITY – Tennessee forward Dalton Knecht is projected to be selected in the lottery of the 2024 NBA Draft where the Utah Jazz own the tenth pick.

The Jazz own three of the top 32 selections in the 2024 draft allowing them to add valuable pieces to their already young core.

Here’s how Knecht would fit with the Jazz if he lands in Utah in late June.

Related: Utah Jazz 2024 NBA Draft Prospects

Utah Jazz Draft: Dalton Knecht – F – Tennessee

Stats: 21.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists: .458/.397/.772

Strengths: Knecht enters the draft as one of the most dangerous scorers in college basketball recording 20 points or more in 19 of his 36 performances at Tennessee.

The forward is a deadly shooter knocking down nearly 40 percent of his 6.5 threes per game, and failed to make a three in only one appearance as a senior.

Unlike some pure shooters who rely on the long ball due to a lack of athleticism, Knecht also tested extremely well at the combine showing off his 39-inch vertical, along with elite numbers in the shuttle and lane drills.

Not only does Knecht test well athletically, but his leaping ability was clearly apparent in live games where he regularly attacked the paint and finished easily at and above the rim.

Standing just over 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan, the Tennessee forward has plenty of size and length to compete at the NBA level.

In addition to his excellent vertical leap, Knecht is a smart jumper, often leaping early when attacking closeouts before opposing defenders can time their contest.

The Colorado native is an excellent spot-up shooter, but can also get to his shot off the dribble where he was asked to create a lot of offense on a defensive-minded Tennessee roster, or shooting off movement which should translate next level.

Due to his willingness to embrace his superior physicality, Knecht also earned a healthy 5.7 free throw attempts per game.

The SEC Player of the Year can carry an enormous offensive load scoring 30 points or more in eight of his 36 appearances with the Volunteers.

Weaknesses: Despite his excellent athleticism, Knecht was an underwhelming defender at Tennessee. That may be the result of the amount of energy he had to expend on the offensive end, but he won’t be considered one of the stronger defenders in the lottery.

Smaller guards easily beat Knecht off the dribble, which will make him a target for switches early in his career until he proves his agility can be a weapon on both ends.

It may be due to the lack of offensive talent around him in college, but Knecht’s 1.8 assists per game were low for a player who averaged over 30 minutes per game. Though he was far from selfish in college, he’s not an innate playmaker or connective piece within an offense.

Knecht turned 23 in April, making him the oldest player projected to be selected in the first round, which may limit his upside in the NBA.

Would Dalton Knecht Fit With Jazz In Draft?

With an abundance of youth and a bottom 10 three-point shooting average in the NBA last season, the Jazz are relatively well-suited to host a player like Knecht who may be ready to contribute sooner in his career than most rookies.

Rather than investing several seasons in the upside development of freshmen like Cody Williams or Ron Holland, Knecht would have a more defined role on the Jazz from day one and could be a meaningful contributor on offense a la Simone Fontecchio.

Though he may lack the same upside as some of the younger wings in the lottery, Knecht has a safe floor in the NBA as an elite shooter with pro-level athleticism, a prototype always in demand among winning teams.

Scheme-wise, Knecht is a strong cutter off the ball which fits Will Hardy’s offense, and his reliable shooting would help create space for Lauri Markkanen and the team’s guards.

Knecht doesn’t solve the Jazz’s passing or defensive issues, but he won’t magnify them to a level where he becomes unplayable.

Ultimately, there will be younger players who wind up having better careers than Knecht from this year’s class, but he’s a safe bet to be one of the draft’s 15 best players and would be a solid value selection with the 10th pick.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: Tennessee F Dalton Knecht