Although most of the attention is given to the top five picks in each NBA draft, there are always a few players that fly under the radar.
The most obvious example of one was when the Utah Jazz traded up to grab Donovan Mitchell with the 13th pick in 2017. He made the 12 teams that passed on him look very silly with his historic rookie campaign this past season.
Therefore, when the Jazz were slated to select the No. 21 pick in this year’s event, Utah’s fans were at the edge of their seats to find out who would be joining the up-and-coming franchise that finished fifth in the Western Conference this past season before advancing to the second round of the playoffs.
Utah had a number of different directions they could have gone at No. 21. In need of a backup point guard, they could have gone with Aaron Holiday out of UCLA. If they wanted to add another scoring wing to come off the bench, they could have gone with Chandler Hutchison out of Boise State.
Or, if they wanted to add a big man to replace Derrick Favors, they could have gone with Robert Williams out of Texas A&M.
But, perhaps slightly reaching, they ended up taking combo guard Grayson Allen out of Duke University. As one of the most polarizing collegiate players over the past four seasons, he averaged 15.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists for Duke in his senior year.
He also became a household name for his involvement in multiple tripping incidents over the course of his career. Nonetheless, he will be going to Utah, which made one Jazz player very, very excited.
A sight for all Jazz fans to love
While being interviewed by ESPN after walking across the stage, Allen was approached and hugged by Mitchell, who crashed the party. Check out the moment below:
He and Allen squared off four times in college and know each other well from Mitchell’s two seasons at the University of Louisville.
In fact, Mitchell slapped him on the face once:
"We had had a bunch of good battles against each other when he was at Louisville. He's a great competitor, so it was always fun going up against each other and I'm excited to be on the same team now," Allen said on air.
In all, the defensive-oriented and team-centric Jazz might be a perfect fit for Allen, who has the ability to defend either guard position and possesses the athleticism and skill set to make a difference on the offensive end as well.
"I watch the Jazz play a lot, they move the ball very well," he said. "Donovan obviously had a great rookie year, so I'm excited. I know I'm going to learn a lot from him and his short experience from one year, and from coach Snyder, and I'm just really happy.”
After their on-air embrace, Mitchell took to Twitter to welcome his new teammate.
Interestingly, Allen spoke about playing alongside Mitchell a couple weeks ago after he worked out in Utah.
Now, he will have the opportunity to do just that.
It will be interesting to see what kind of role Allen can carve out during his rookie season for the Jazz. Since the team is guaranteed to return most of their core with the exception of Favors, who is a free agent, he may have a clear path at playing time since reserve guards Raul Neto and Dante Exum are also free agents.
Given his tenacity and Duke connection with coach Quin Snyder, he will likely be given a chance to prove himself right away.