Where the Utah Jazz are headed this offseason may still be a mystery, but what has become clear is that the signing of small forward Simone Fontecchio is a low-risk/high-reward proposition.
Fontecchio, representing Italy, led all scorers with 24 points in an exhibition game versus ex-Jazz man Rudy Gobert and France on Friday. Italy ended up losing 78-77, but Fontecchio scored 31% of Italy's offensive output, which is something that shouldn’t be ignored by Jazz faithful.
Fontecchio looked like a young Bojan Bogdanovic in the highlights from the game that can be seen in the clip below.
The 6-foot-8 small forward was recently signed by the Jazz on a two-year, $6.25 million deal, and will be given an opportunity to crack the rotation of a team that will be searching for an identity following an eventful summer.
At 26 years of age, there may not be a lot of room to develop, but Fontecchio has the experience and track record of a prospect that could be NBA ready from day one.
In the 2021 Olympic games in Tokyo, Fontecchio averaged 19 points per game on 45% shooting from three-point land. He’s played professional basketball for a decade and is regarded as the No. 1 small forward overseas prospect according to Draft Express.
Jazz executive Danny Ainge may have set his eyes on the standout from Spain when he attended a workout for the Boston Celtics in 2015. Fontecchio declared as an early entry for the NBA draft that year, before withdrawing his candidacy.
How Fontecchio fits with the Jazz remains to be seen, but being able to play and guard multiple positions bodes well in today's NBA, where positionless basketball is becoming the norm. He’ll have two years to showcase his talents before a potential big pay day when he becomes a free agent in 2024.
These are the ‘under the radar’ signings a small market team needs if it’s going to survive and get back in the playoff conversation. Jazz fans won’t have to wait long to see Fontecchio in action as the NBA regular season starts October 19.
Follow Patrick on Twitter @pbyrnesNBA.