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NBA Draft 2012: Utah Jazz Draft Strategy

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As we're all pretty familiar with right now, the Utah Jazz have but one NBA draft pick this year (If we lost our last game to the Warriors, you know, by beating them at their own game, we would have had three, ha ha). I think that when you are in the lottery you either go for the guy who has the potential to be the best, or just flat out go for best player available (BPA). That kind of explains why the Milwaukee Bucks went with Andrew Bogut years ago at #1 (most potential), and then the Atlanta Hawks went with Marvin Williams at #2 (best player available). To suggest that you 'knew' that Deron Williams and Chis Paul would have had better careers would be admitting you are a sixth sense. And if so, spoiler alert, you were dead the whole time. (What a tweest!) This also explains why the Jazz picked Enes Kanter at #3 -- he had the most potential. And yes, young bigs DO have the most potential. The shift towards smaller and smaller ball isn't because it's tactically superior in optimum conditions, it's just that optimum conditions (having a good bigman) are hard to come by.

So, drafting in the lotto means going for the most obvious dude. Drafting in the middle of the first round means finding the best guy who slipped out of the lotto. That's harder to do, but still possible. After Pick #20 in the first round, though, picking your draft pick becomes as easy as explaining the concept of mortality to a gorilla. It's hard to find a great guy, but if you work at it systematically (like the Jazz are known to do) you will more than likely find an NBA player there.

Drafting Strategy from Pick #21 and lower:

The Jazz are used to having crappy draft picks because they always made the playoffs with John Stockton and Karl Malone doing their thing. (In a way, they didn't need any more good picks after them because they always made the playoffs; however, you could argue that one more great player early would have made a lot of difference -- not unlike the tank job a Seattle team did). In previous seasons the Jazz would just go out and pick the guy who made it that far in relation to their own draft board. In a way, this is based not upon need at all, but on surprise factor. This was why they picked Kosta Koufos over guys like Nicolas Batum or Serge Ibaka -- not that Batum's length and threes or Ibaka's defense couldn't have helped -- but because Koufos was supposed to go earlier according to the Jazz brass. (Again, I guess because he was a 20 year old bigman with potential)

If everything goes as planned the Jazz will just end up picking the guy they wanted, which is what happened with Quincy Lewis, I believe.


Drafting Strategy from Pick #31 and lower:

This is the second round, and at this stage the Jazz do two things really well. They do the "draft and stash" move where they take a flyer on a guy who isn't likely to play next year and 'cheat'. Sometimes they use the same move and it ends up that the guy DOES play next year (Mo Williams, Kyrylo Fesenko). The other thing the Jazz do really well is identify a diamond in the rough. It doesn't always work, but we all know that it is possible to get one. However, for every Paul Millsap (a near All-Star) we've drafted a bunch of Goran Suton type guys.

I really do not know if going for a guy who could be great is the best idea. Perhaps this is all historical revisionism in the case of Millsap. We needed PF depth behind Carlos Boozer and got a guy who was a rebounding specialist who was young and went to the same school as one of our best players ever. It could be as simple as the Jazz going for 'need' here. Let's not forget that they drafted Dee Brown the pick before Millsap. I think if anything that was the low risk / high reward 2nd round pick as he could have been quite good at this level, or forgotten. Millsap was the safe guy.

We have a Sub-40 (or 40 Below, if you like weather) pick this year. Most likely it's not going to be a great guy. Most likely it will be a pick for depth. I'd like to go wing here (we have three on the roster right now, with one of them being Raja Bell who has demanded a trade in nicer terms). And I'd like to see a specialist here (just like Millsap was a specialist). We have a few generalists out there be it Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks, and we have the option for DeMarre Carroll (who is a hustle guy). I'm not expecting the Jazz to find the next Manu Ginobili -- but the next Kyle Korver could be found in the 2nd round.


Other moves:

Oh, there's also the issue of the Jazz trading draft picks after making a pick for a player drafted above him. The Jazz have done that a number of times (mostly to snag a big). They did it to get Curtis Borchardt from the Orlando Magic, and Kyrylo Fesenko from the Philadelphia 76ers. If there's an east team that picks up a guy we like, we may see a trade if you're still awake during the later hours of the 2nd round.


On a wing, and a prayer:

Moving up . . . we all love the idea. I don't even know if we need to 'move up', as it stands, we could just get another pick. Basically, whatever we can get for Raja Bell we should try to get. He doesn't want to be here, even if it's cash and another 2nd rounder . . . you gotta take it. The Jazz aren't going to amnesty him, but need to move him. Even the locker close out / last day of school aftermath seems to point in that direction -- so this isn't "crazy ol Amar making stuff up on dem there interwebs" again.



I don't have a problem with HOW the Jazz draft. They don't mess up a ton of times, and it's not like they usually get great picks (in terms of their spot in the draft order). While they don't make trades just to make trades, or seem to tag-team with other teams ahead of them -- they do it when they need to. Case in point: Deron Williams.

I have complete confidence in how the Jazz draft, it is logical and makes sense. While I'm not always happy with WHO they draft, and while they do let some great guys slip between their fingers - that happens to all teams as well. I know some of you guys are going to bring up Tony Parker -- but Raul Lopez did not sleep with anyone's wives. It's not always about on court production here, guys. Sometimes you need to hire / draft the right kind of people too, off the court!

If someone is going to be found at the #47 or below range, it might as well be us. And, honestly, it might be another international player. How would you feel about that?