I'm not going to lie, the results of the NBA Draft lottery were kind of a downer. After everything the Utah Jazz (and fans) had to endure during the season, watching the Cleveland Cavaliers win it all was bad. Even worse when you factor in that the Jazz had essentially a 1 in 3 chance to move up in the draft. That did not happen, in fact the opposite happened. The Jazz, once again, fell in the lottery. (They've only gone up once, ever, in team history -- and that was with the Brooklyn Nets pick to get Enes Kanter a few years back.)
The main concern is that the Jazz will be picking fifth in, what appears to be a four player draft. That doesn't mean we should give up home. Sure, we don't have the assets necessary to get a Top 3 pick, but I wouldn't put it against Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey to be able to make some sort of deal with the Orlando Magic for the #4 pick if someone he wants is available. Lindsey made three trades last NBA Draft, and finished the night with players taken in none of the draft spots the team started with.
It's probably more important to also look at the historical significance of the fifth pick in the draft. Over the last four decades, honestly, it's been very solid.
- 9 / 40 (22.5%) become rotation players
- 13 / 40 (32.5%) become starters
- 4 / 40 (10.0%) become All-Stars
- 4 / 40 (10.0%) become All-NBA Players
- and 7 / 40 (17.5%) become Hall of Famers (N.B. This is including future HOF locks for KG, Ray, and Wade)
You could easily argue that in time that breakdown will further skew in a positive direction as guys like Len become starters and Cousins becomes an All-Star. Also people will make arguments that VC and Love should be HOFers when all is said and done.
Let's look at the players, and what they did during their careers:
|5||1978||Micheal Ray Richardson||NYK||1||2||556||33.4||16.9||35.2||1|
Yes. I have no idea why Bobby Jones and Sidney Moncrief aren't in the HOF, but whatever. If they played for the Lakers they'd be in. But the fact remains that for the last four decades only three guys weren't at least rotation players: James Ray, Jonathan Bender, and Tskita. So getting a rotation player 37 times out of 40 isn't bad. Getting an All-Star or better 15 out of 40 times isn't bad either. By the historical evidence the odds are in the Jazz' favor that this #5 pick (if we keep him) will turn out to be good.
Then again, the odds were in the Jazz' favor that they'd not get leapfrogged by the Cavs . . . but what happens in reality can sometimes fly in the face of logic. And reality brings us back to the 2014 NBA Draft. Are we likely to pick up a Barkley or Pippen or Ray-Ray at #5? The obvious idea here is that this, no matter how the last forty years went, is still a four player draft.
Time will tell if that's truly the case though. For the meantime between now and June 26th we need to satisfy ourselves with a job partly well done. And for the record . . . we're going to get really familiar with the names Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart, and sigh, Dario Saric over the next few weeks. Not exactly the types of players to make winning double OT games in Minnesota and buzzer beaters against Orlando worth it.
The 2013-14 Jazz Motto