May 7, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (24) dribbles up court during the second half of game four in the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs at EnergySolutions Arena. The Spurs defeated the Jazz 87-81 to sweep Utah and win the series. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
Okay, let us start with the basics. The draft. Two rounds, 30 picks per round (1 per team, before trades). The Jazz, as we know, have a 1st rounder that belongs to Minnesota, and might have a 1st rounder from Golden State, depending how the lottery works out for them (for more on the lottery and how it works, I direct you to my post from last year, when the Jazz were much more involved in the lottery).
So, excluding that slight chance of hope that Kevin O'Connor is given yet another first rounder to work with (we know how he feels about youngsters in relation to winning), the Jazz are left with a measly 2nd round pick this year - #47 overall. That is a mid-2nd round pick. By that point, all the highly regarded players will be gone. Most of the "maybe he's got a chance to stick" players will be gone as well. So you're left trying to find a diamond in the haystack, or a needle in an ocean, or something like that. Whatever it is, it is NOT pretty.
Since we've got time since the draft, why not look back at how the 47th pick has played out since Kevin O'Connor took over as the Jazz GM? (That was a rhetorical question.) Of course, this has very little impact on this draft (read: none) - every draft class has variable strengths/weaknesses, and some draft classes just suck, but it's still fun to look at (at least for me). As you will see, there aren't very many "hits" at this pick, but still, there is reason for hope. I will also look at whom the Jazz drafted that year, and any other "notable" players taken AFTER #47.
Also, its weird to note, but in terms of "I've heard of this guy" (which generally means he's done something in the NBA), the late-40's pick you want to have is #49 (at least between 2000 and 2008). I cannot explain that. (Or maybe I just recognize too many random, obscure names.) This doesn't mean that #49 is full of All-Star picks, of course - just that you might recognize the names. Which is more than can be said for a lot of the #47 picks. (And despite what it may seem like, I'm not hating on KOC's drafting. I've done that before, and I'll do it again probably, but this is not the time or the place.)
2000 - G Josip Sesar, Croatia (Seattle - traded to Boston for two 2nd rounders)
Who?! ... Exactly. Sesar was drafted by Seattle, back when the Sonics existed, and then shipped on draft night to Boston for two future 2nd rounders. I guess it was one of those "draft and stash" picks. Emphasis on the stash. MISS.
The Jazz drafted #50 that year in the 2nd round, after taking DeShawn Stevenson, and took Kaniel Dickens. (Safe to say, other than Stevenson lasting a long while in Utah, it wasn't a good first draft for KOC.) Dickens, of course, did not play in a NBA game with the Jazz.
Notable picks: And here starts the run at #49, with a guy we have GREAT memories of ... Jason Hart. (Yeah, I decided to just rip the band-aid off at once. Sorry. Don't worry though - reading about the next few drafts will just make this even worse.)
2001 - SF Antonis Fotsis, Greece (Vancouver - played in 28 games, averaging 3.9 ppg)
I was a huge NBA fan back then - I could've named most of the 12 man rosters for every team - but I had never heard of this guy before. I guess this was before 12th men lit the Jazz up for 40 points in random games. He only played for part of 1 season in the NBA - I think we can call this pick a MISS.
The Jazz drafted #52 in the 2nd round this year, and KOC followed up passing on Tony Parker for Raul Lopez by drafting ... Jarron Collins. I will not speak any more on this topic.
No real notables after this, though if anyone remembers Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje (and how could you not with that name), he went #49. Of course.
2002 - C Jamal Sampson, California (Utah - traded on draft night in the Borchardt/Humphrey trade)
The drafting he did early in his career as a GM - I'm surprised KOC stuck around as long as he did. Because they were not pretty. Borchardt, who went 1 pick before the Jazz pick, cost the Jazz their first AND second rounders that year - though, honestly, Ryan Humphrey and Jamal Sampson didn't really do anything much in the NBA either. Call this a MISS.
Notable picks. #49 is someone that Jazz fans might recognize - the rest of the league will probably just be like "who is that?". Does the name Peter Fehse ring a bell? Because he, too, was a #49 pick. As for later on, this was one of the better "after #47" drafts, featuring Darius Songaila at #50, Rasual Butler at #53, and Luis Scola at #56.
2003 - PG Maurice Williams, Alabama (Utah)
For all the misses before, both at #47 and in KOC's drafting history, it just makes sense (in some weird, poetic way) that O'Connor would blow the 1st round pick (Sasha Pavlovic) and then find the first hit in his GM'ing era at #47 with the point guard. For all the time that Stevenson & Collins spent with the Jazz (and all the time Williams didn't), this was the first real find for KOC through the draft (I refuse to count Collins as a find, considering he didn't really do anything in his time here except for not doing anything). While Williams was eventually allowed to leave (which helped usher in the Deron Williams era), he has stuck around in the league and has become a fairly decent player. HIT.
Continuing the #49 trend, we have sharpshooter James Jones. And, following that, we have another sharpshooter in the notable picks section - the #51 pick was used on one Kyle Korver. If you think about it, KOC took his first ever draft pick (Stevenson) and eventually turned that into the guy taken 4 picks after his best draft pick (to this point) ... in a draft 3 years later. KOC is the one GM that would have better success building a winning team out of late-40 picks than late-20 picks. I can't explain that either.
2004 - C Ha Seung-Jin, South Korea (Portland - 2 seasons, 46 games)
After 2 straight years of the Jazz picking at #47, they gave up the throne and decided to stick with just 1st rounders. So Portland "snagged" Seung-Jin at #47, ahead of guys like Pape Sow at #48 (why have I heard his name before?) and Ricky Minard at #49 (Sacramento - this pick originally belonged to Utah). Yes, those are the "notables". AKA, there was nothing notable in this draft - the Jazz should just forget about it. MISS (not just the pick, but the whole draft).
First, the Jazz first round. Finding himself with 3 first round picks and no real "finds" in the 1st round to this point (unless you're going to argue about Stevenson), KOC went to work. First, he drafted Kris Humphries. While Humphries has made himself a name in the league as of late (and I'm not talking about being "Mr. Kardashian"), his tenure with the Jazz was a disaster - one that found him eventually traded for 1st round bust Rafael Araujo. The second pick went into drafting Kirk Snyder. Snyder had talent, but also a lack of brains - and found himself shipped out of Utah after his rookie season. For Greg Ostertag. Seriously. The 3rd pick was used on Pavel Podkolzine, who was traded to Dallas for future picks. As for the 2nd round - well, the Jazz originally had #49. They dealt that to Sacramento for #55 and Keon Clark. They then dealt #55 to Houston (used on Luis Flores - whoever that is) with John Amaechi to get (and release) Glen Rice (and future 2nd rounders). A whole lot of mess, and in the end, all the Jazz really ended up with was - nothing.
2005 - G Bracey Wright, Indiana (Minnesota)
Another name that I've heard (for who knows what reason), but most NBA fans probably haven't. His claim to fame, NBA-related, seems to be that he spent a year with the Florida Flame of the D-League. (Yeah, that's not much of a claim to fame.) That's only cool to me because I didn't know there was a Florida Flame team. MISS.
The Jazz had 2 second round picks that year, AFTER trading a bunch of picks (including one from the Podkolzin trade) to move up and get Deron Williams in the 1st round. The first, #34 overall, was used on CJ Miles. Yes, he's still around. The second, coming via the Amaechi/Rice trade from the year before, was used on Robert Whaley.
As for notable names - well, the #49 trend continued, with Andray Blatche. The #50 pick was used on Ryan Gomes. Amir Johnson went #56, and Marcin Gortat with #57. Another good year (relative) for the "after #47" camp.
2006 - PF Paul Millsap, Louisiana Tech (Utah)
Okay, KOC must have a deal with the draft gods or know some "insider information" about this pick. This is the 3rd time he's had #47 (in 7 years), and he's hit on 2 of them. Which is a huge shock, considering his draft results are nowhere close to this 66% hit rate. But he found a steal with Millsap, just 1 pick after taking Dee Brown in a rare instance of back-to-back 2nd rounders (the 1st round pick was Ronnie Brewer). I'm sure you all know a lot about Millsap, given that you're on a Jazz blog right now. HIT.
Not much in terms of recognizable names after the fact, but Leon Powe went #49, and Ryan Hollins went #50.
2007 - F Dominic McGuire, Fresno State (Washington)
McGuire, if I am correct, is still playing in the NBA. (He did last season, so I'm assuming he'll be on a roster next year as well.) Congratulations to him. That is more than can be said of the Jazz first rounder in this draft (one Morris Almond). He's bounced around a bit, but continues to find a home. HIT.
The Jazz had #55 in the 2nd round, and used the pick on Herbert Hill out of Providence. They then traded Hill and a future pick to Philadelphia for the #38 pick, some guy name Kyrylo Fesenko. Fesenko, of course, has seen more NBA action than both Almond and Hill; Hill, as far as I can tell, has never seen NBA action.
Marc Gasol was the #48 pick in the draft. Why couldn't the Jazz have traded Hill for him instead? At #49, Aaron Gray. Unfortunately, this ends the string of notable names at #49 (every draft thus far, except maybe Ricky Minard), because the following year, #49 belonged to Golden State. (Okay, that's not a valid reason, but I figured I should hate on them a bit because everyone else to be doing it as well - for the whole tanking business, I guess). Also, Ramon Sessions went #56.
2008 - F Bill Walker, Kansas State (Washington - traded to Boston)
Again, not a "superstar" name, but he has found some playing time with the Knicks and stuck around. Again, when you're picking at #47, you can't really ask for much - rarely will someone fall this far and turn out to be an All-Star without A LOT of coaching/luck/development. HIT.
The Jazz went as foreign as they could in this draft, taking Ohio State's Kosta Koufos in the 1st round and then going with the two-headed combo of Ante Tomic at #44 and Tadija Dragicevic at #53. Koufos has somehow stuck around in the Northwest Division, in hopes of terrorizing the Jazz in the near future, while Tomic & Tadija remain in the "stash" mode of "stash for the future, maybe".
No notable players to note.
2009 - PF Henk Norel, Spain (Minnesota) Only 4 guys drafted at #47 and after have played in the NBA - Norel, as you can imagine (based on the odds), is not one of those 4 players. MISS.
Nor is the Jazz pick, Goran Suton (#50). And the first rounder, Eric Maynor, was traded for Peter Fehse so the Jazz could get out of Matt Harpring's contract. Not a good draft for KOC.
In a somewhat surprising statement (not really), none of the 4 guys after #47 are really notable.
2010 - PF/C Tiny Gallon, Oklahoma (Milwaukee)
Yeah... no. I can't believe that they'd take the risk on someone with this name after the whole Robert 'Tractor' Traylor disaster (starting with the whole "lets trade Dirk Nowitzki for Robert Traylor" idea). He has not played for the Bucks, or any other NBA team. MISS.
The Jazz used a first round pick (courtesy of the Knicks) on Gordon Hayward, and the 2nd round pick (#55) on this year's Slam Dunk Champion, Jeremy Evans! (Also, the Jeremy Evans that got less MPG this season than Blake "I'm here for 4 games" Ahearn.)
And again, no real notables.
2011 - G Travis Leslie, Georgia (LA Clippers)
Yeah... no. Not yet, at least. TOO EARLY TO CALL.
The Jazz had no 2nd rounders, but did use their 2 first rounders on Enes Kanter and Alec Burks.
And after a few years of "no one cares" players after #47 (even including #47, in some cases), there was finally a notable draftee after #47 this past season. That player, going #60 overall (aka, "Mr. Irrelevant"), was one Isaiah Thomas.
As you can see, #47 is (like most 2nd round picks) a straight up "hit-or-miss" pick. KOC has, thus far, defied the odds by going 2 for 3 with this pick. Considering that his draft success ratio is far below 66%, you have to wonder - can KOC find a diamond in the rough once again? Or will his success at #47 fall to 50%. (Or will he just trade the pick and ruin the draft night for all Jazz draft fans?)
As the draft nears, there is only one thing to remember really - the draft, especially that late, is a crapshoot. So while the Jazz FO will try to find (and fail miserably) a "complete" player, just know that you're probably not going to find much more than a "pitch in and help" guy - at best. If you can get anything more than that, take it. And if not, know that you aren't alone.
Obviously, there isn't anything that can be used to look at whom to take in this draft, but hopefully this helps set (or calm) expectations to a reasonable level. And hopefully the look back to KOC's older drafts didn't cause anyone any bodily harm. If so, I suggest you consult a doctor immediately.