NBA Draft 2012: Grading Jazz Draft history, finding that dream player, and why the draft will always be a crap shoot

Yes, that's Morris Almond going for a layup last year against the Cavs. As a member of the Wizards.

The draft is super tricky. Even guys who make draft picks as professionals goof up time to time. Similarly, even draft picks who look like locks can end up sucking. Everything in the entire drafting process is, effectively, a crap shoot. And few people shoot crap as effectively as arm chair GMs / fans with too much time on their hands.

Over the last few drafts (2000 till 2011) I've gotten increasingly involved in the whole draft process -- to the point where I usually scout draft picks before the draft. Now, this may seem "normal" to you people reading this blog. But it's not really normal to do research on hypotheticals for a hobby of yours. Old ladies aren't going onto knitting blogs to debate the merits of different potential yarn fabric blends. I guess Hollywood movie buffs do make 'dream lists' of casts for future films. But they don't go to the level of charting out their standing jumps, or college FT% like we basketball fans do. We are clearly the 1% in being insane fanatics of our hobbies. And as a result, yes, this is abnormal.

It's hard enough to pick the right guy when you are a pro, it's even less sane to do so as an amateur. I'm critical of some of the moves the Jazz make -- but I can't be mad at them for what they do in the draft. I like what they do in the draft, and after charting it out -- I'm not better or worse than average either.

All the Jazz draft picks 2000 till 2011:

The Jazz have made 28 draft picks in the last 12 drafts. And of those 28 picks, 18 have been 1st round picks. 1st round picks are worth more because, conceivably, you'll be getter a better player with that pick. At the end of the day the pick is either a hit, a maybe, or a miss. For a first round pick to be a hit you actually have to be pretty good. The expectations for a second round pick are lower, so for them to be a hit they have to be average or surprising in some way. To be a 'maybe' the pick has to be unproven, yet to be determined, or clearly not a hit or a miss. I've split up the Jazz picks (and not who the picks were traded for, if traded for someone) into these three categories.

Jazz Draft History 2000-2011
Hit Maybe Miss
1 Alec Burks Ante Tomic Herbert Hill
2 Aleksandar Pavlovic C.J. Miles Jamal Sampson
3 Deron Williams Dee Brown Kirk Snyder
4 Enes Kanter DeShawn Stevenson Kosta Koufos
5 Eric Maynor Goran Suton Kris Humphries
6 Gordon Hayward Jeremy Evans Morris Almond
7 Jarron Collins Kaniel Dickens Pavel Podkolzin
8 Mo Williams Tadija Dragicevic Raul Lopez
9 Paul Millsap Robert Whaley
10 Ronnie Brewer Ryan Humphrey
10 8 10

According to me the Jazz have 10 hits, and 10 misses, with 8 maybes. That's pretty much right down the line. Time will tell on some of the maybes. Of course, it's not like the Jazz always had great draft position -- but to be fair, over these last 12 drafts we've never had so many 1st rounders. Again, we had 18 first rounders in the last 12 years.

[Ed. Note: see comments section, I've been talked out of being a positive Jazz homer, and brought this down to 8 Hits, 8 maybes, and 12 misses. See what happens when I try to be nice to the Jazz? People call me out for being too nice!]

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Mistakes by the Jazz:

The Jazz, I think, are doing fine by the draft. In that, I don't think they make a mistake more frequently than other teams. In fact, I think that when you factor in where they pick guys, they do a remarkable job. That doesn't mean that they make mistakes sometimes. (We all do) Sometimes I find guys that I would have picked that are available that the Jazz pass over. This doesn't happen every season -- but it has happened before.

I looked over all my predraft notes from as many previous years as I could to cross reference who the Jazz drafted with who a) I would have instead drafted, and also b) the guy before the draft started that I felt was that "Dream player". Sometimes that dream player is the guy who I felt like would be awesome, and most of the time someone that appeared to fall to us on some mock drafts. It's fun to look back at this. And yes, sometimes, just sometimes the Jazz passed on a guy that I would have taken who was available who would have been better. And similarly, I fall in love with the wrong guy too. I'm no better than the Jazz brass at this.

Available
Year Rnd. Pk. Who we drafted Players I was more into Rnd. Pk. Dream Player Rnd. Pk.
2011 1 3 Enes Kanter . Brandon Knight (Det) 1 8 .
2011 1 12 Alec Burks . MarShon Brooks (Bos) 1 25 .
. .
2010 1 9 Gordon Hayward . . Greg Monroe (Det) 1 7
2010 2 55 Jeremy Evans . .
. .
2009 1 20 Eric Maynor . Rodrigue Beaubois (Dal) 1 25 .
2009 2 50 Goran Suton . .
. .
2008 1 23 Kosta Koufos . Serge Ibaka (Sea) 1 24 . Roy Hibbert (Ind) 1 17
. Nicolas Batum (Hou) 1 25 . Serge Ibaka (Sea) 1 25
2008 1 44 Ante Tomic . .
2008 1 53 Tadija Dragicevic . .
. .
2007 1 25 Morris Almond . . Morris Almond (Uta) 1 25
2007 2 55 Herbert Hill . . Kyrylo Fesenko (Uta) 1 38
. .
2006 1 14 Ronnie Brewer . . Mouhamed Saer Sene (Sea) 1 10
2006 2 46 Dee Brown . . Dee Brown (Uta) 2 46
2006 2 47 Paul Millsap . .
. .
2005 1 3 Deron Williams . .
2005 2 34 C.J. Miles . .
2005 2 51 Robert Whaley . .
. .
2004 1 14 Kris Humphries . .
2004 1 16 Kirk Snyder . .
2004 1 21 Pavel Podkolzin . Viktor Khryapa (NJ) 1 22 . Viktor Khryapa (NJ) 1 22
. .
2003 1 19 Aleksandar Pavlovic . .
2003 2 27 Mo Williams . .
. .
2002 1 19 Ryan Humphrey . Tayshaun Prince (Det) 1 23 .
2002 1 46 Jamal Sampson . .
. .
2001 1 24 Raul Lopez . . Raul Lopez (Uta) 1 24
2001 2 52 Jarron Collins . .
. .
2000 1 23 DeShawn Stevenson . . DeShawn Stevenson (Uta) 1 23
2000 2 50 Kaniel Dickens . .

Yes, I was doing pre-draft scouting all the way back to the 2000 NBA Draft, and I wanted D-Steve back then. Quite a few times the Jazz got the guy I wanted them to get. And most of the time the Jazz drafted the guy who was the best player to get (in my mind). There were a few times where the Jazz drafted a guy I wouldn't have picked -- and I turned out to be right. But I don't think that "me being right" occurred any more frequently than the normal distribution of error. I'm often wrong too -- I thought Khryapa and Sene would be starters in this league. And in the off chance that the Jazz draft my 'dream players', like they did with Almond and then trading for Fes -- they both performed way under my expectations.

Do this day I feel like Morris Almond had all the tools to be a Top 10 SG in the NBA for the majority of his career.

For the most part I give the Jazz a passing grade. Sure, I hated the Koufos pick and would have taken either Ibaka or Batum before -- but that doesn't mean the Jazz are draft failures. After all, there's no guarantee that ANY pick will work out. And more than half the time I think our guys do.

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Amar's picks vs. the Jazz picks:

I do sometimes feel very strongly about who we pick, who we didn't pick, and who we should have picked. Here they are, from the same data set of 2000 to 2011.

Amar vs. the Jazz in terms of Drafting
Jazz Pick Amar's Pick Winner
Enes Kanter . Brandon Knight (Det) Jazz
Alec Burks . MarShon Brooks (Bos) TBD
Eric Maynor . Rodrigue Beaubois (Dal) Tie
Kosta Koufos . Serge Ibaka (Sea) or Nicolas Batum (Hou) Amar
Pavel Podkolzin . Viktor Khryapa (NJ) Amar
Ryan Humphrey . Tayshaun Prince (Det) Amar

  • I think that Enes is going to be better than Knight. Knight is going to be good, but I have hopes for Kanter to be that legit throwback power post player that this NBA seems to lack. The NBA doesn't lack shoot first PGs. So I have no problems says the Jazz picked the right guy then, even if I wasn't on the pro-Kanter train before the draft.
  • I love Alec Burks, but my pre-draft metrics did show that MarShon has a lot going for him. I think Alec is a better player right now, and I hope he always will be. I didn't think that MarShon needed to be a lotto pick, but I totally was jocking him. On the Nets we can imagine that he's going to somehow get screwed up. I think Brooks has more potential, way longer arms, and tested better athletically -- but I'll never forget that forced airball three in the rookie game. Oh my god, Marshon, that was horrible. If his head is screwed on so incorrectly the Jazz win this one too. But I think this is honestly TBD.
  • Maynor / Beaubois -- this is a tie as we would have traded Roddy too.
  • Koof vs Ibaka or Batum -- I think it's clear I win this one
  • Pavel P vs. Khryapa -- even though Victor didn't have a great career it was better than Pavel's, and playing with AK I am sure they would have played better in tandem, esp on defense. Amar wins.
  • Ryan Humphrey vs. Tayshaun -- yes, I wanted Tay back then. But only because I watched the NCAA tourney that year. As for R-Hump, who is this guy? Oh yeah, the guy we traded for Curtis Borchardt. Yikes.

I think I come out looking better than the Jazz do, but only in these isolated little snippits. After all, I make mistakes too.

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Amar's Dream picks (based upon pre-draft info):

This is really fun to look at . . .

Amar's Dream Pre-Draft Picks
Player Good Bad Did we get the guy I wanted?
1 Greg Monroe (Det) x . Too high
2 Roy Hibbert (Ind) x . Too high
3 Serge Ibaka (Sea) x . No
4 Morris Almond (Uta) x . Yes
5 Kyrylo Fesenko (Uta) x . Yes (trade)
6 Mouhamed Saer Sene (Sea) x . Too high
7 Dee Brown (Uta) x . Yes
8 Viktor Khryapa (NJ) x . No
9 Raul Lopez (Uta) x . Yes
10 DeShawn Stevenson (Uta) x . Yes
Dream is a success: 30%
Jazz get my dream pick: 50%
Jazz Dream pick is a success: 0%

I seem to have a thing for strong, powerful, black dudes. This isn't the blog post to explore that revelation in though.

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Final Thoughts:

The draft is a crap shoot. The Jazz do well by me in it. They do make mistakes, and sometimes I may look smarter than them; but they doesn't mean that the Jazz would do better if I was the guy making all their draft pick selections. It's a crap shoot for me too. I totally wouldn't have drafted Kosta though. I think it was the whole system problem of needing that stretch 5, that Memo was, that made Jerry's offense fit. It was the same short sighted "band aid fix" instead of hard, introspective, progressive change issue that I talked about in a previous post. We relied on Memo so much to make things work that we needed to keep finding that unique, needle in a haystack bigman.

And I can't believe that Sene and Almond aren't rotation guys on playoff teams right now . . .

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