With the NBA combine underway this week in Chicago, the Utah Jazz are busy studying their options, working through every possibility, tossing them in the air like a dough slapper at Pizano’s. They have two picks in the coming draft, one in the lottery, a likely No. 14 selection, and another at No. 21.

There is both skepticism and sunshine as to whether the Jazz can add to their half-vacant roster a player or two who will actually help them improve what is already a young core. There’s been talk that this draft is weak, that it won’t benefit the club in any meaningful way, particularly at the positions where Utah is most thin.

Kevin O’Connor, though, believes that last part is a bunch of hooey. He says there are useful players available, even from deep, whether the Jazz stay put or move up.

"There will be a player there that, hopefully we draft, but if not, drafted after us, that becomes a good NBA player," he says. "[It’s] our responsibility, our call, our job. … We’ve got to do it right and if we don’t do it right often enough, then we shouldn’t have the job."

Those words might sound as though they are selling what the Jazz have said they will sell until the team once again becomes what it used to be — a real contender: hope.

Living off the fumes of Stockton and Malone has pretty much run its course. And since nobody around here wants to focus much on the brief up-blip that was Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, that leaves the Jazz with not a lot to grab ahold of in recent seasons.

There is the ongoing development of that young core four — which was curbed a bit by Ty Corbin’s choice to give the lion’s share of the minutes to more veteran players in an ill-fated attempt to make the playoffs this past season, players who probably won’t be around next year — and that is where Jazz fans have placed most of that hope.