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History of Utah Jazz draft picks at every 1st Round spot

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A look at 43 years of Utah Jazz Draft history

NBA: Lottery Draft Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The lull between the end of the season and the NBA draft is full of anticipation for what lies ahead, but here we’ll instead take a look back in time to how the Utah/New Orleans Jazz have done in the yearly tradition of selecting young players and praying they turn out well.

Officially, between New Orleans and Utah, the Jazz have taken 50 players between picks one and 30. That total includes picks the Jazz traded away. Take into account the players traded away and traded for, the number of players the Jazz walked home with falls to 45.

In this review, I’ll be examining how the Jazz have done at each spot. Players drafted, traded away or traded for between picks 1-30 will be included. I specify that range and not just the first round because picks in the late 20s haven’t always been in the first round as the league hasn’t always had 30 teams.

Draft pick data comes primarily from RealGM. (Wikipedia provided info on who the Jazz traded for). All stats are from Basketball Reference unless otherwise specified.

No. 1

The Jazz have never had a pick here.

No. 2

Selections

  • Darrell Griffith (1980)

The Jazz just about hit it out of the park with their only #2 overall selection in franchise history, which was also the first pick after the team moved to Utah. Griffith won Rookie of the Year in the 1980-81 season and averaged 21.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists through his first five years. Dr. Dunkenstein also became the first Jazzman to win the NBA’s dunk contest.

Unfortunately, Griffith’s production tailed off after a stress fracture in his foot held him out of the 1985-86 season. When he came back, he had lost his starting spot. He went on to play five more years with the Jazz — averaging 10.9/2.6/1.2 in that span — as the team transitioned into the Stockton/Malone era.

No. 3

Selections

  • Dominique Wilkins (1982) TRADED TO ATLANTA
  • Deron Williams (2005)
  • Enes Kanter (2011)

Dominique Wilkins wasn’t actually traded on draft day, but he was traded prior to the start of the season. But there is still plenty of regret about what might have been.

Wilkins is a member of the NBA Hall of Fame and had he played his nine All-Star years in Utah instead of Atlanta, there would likely be a Finals trophy in the Jazz front office display case.

The other two selections are guys who played themselves into Jazz infamy. Williams, along with Carlos Boozer, defined an era for the franchise, becoming the only player other than John Stockton to average 10-plus assists in a season (he did it three times) for the Jazz. His efforts also helped the Jazz make the 2007 Western Conference Finals.

Williams’ infamy comes into play in the 2010-11 season where fans blame him for pushing Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan to retire mid-season and then himself getting traded to the then-New Jersey Nets. After the trade, Williams slowly faded into obscurity and as of right now is not on an NBA roster.

Enes Kanter was part of the “Core Four” that provided hope to Jazz fans in the post-Williams era. Kanter averaged 9.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in three-and-a-half season with the Jazz but ticked off fans after hating on Utah in the aftermath of getting traded in the middle of the 2014-15 season to make way for the future All-NBA center Rudy Gobert.

He put up 14.1 points and 11.0 rebounds with the New York Knicks this past season — his second team since leaving Utah.

No. 4

The Jazz have never had a pick here.

No. 5

Selections

  • Dante Exum (2014)

The jury is still out on the sole #5 pick that was the result of the team’s tank/rebuild season in 2013-14. Exum has had an injury-filled career and has averaged only 5.7 points in his three seasons and has appeared in less than half of the team’s games since he was drafted. However, Exum has shown flashes of All-Star potential, particularly late in this last season.

No. 6

The Jazz have never had a pick here.

No. 7

Selections

  • Rich Kelley (1975)
  • Thurl Bailey (1983)

Rich Kelley holds a notable distinction in Jazz history. He was the first first-round player in franchise history (the team’s first-round pick in 1974, the inaugural year for the Jazz, was traded to the Hawks).

Kelley played four seasons in New Orleans, putting up 15.7 points and 12.8 rebounds in the fourth season before moving to New Jersey in 1979. He would return to the franchise — this time in Utah — for two-and-a-half seasons from 1982-85.

Thurl Bailey played 13 seasons in the NBA, 10 with the Jazz. He was selected the year before Stockton and two years before Karl Malone. He mostly came off the bench — starting 29.5 percent of games for the Jazz — but was still a solid contributor to the team. From 1984 to 1990, he averaged 16.1 points and 5.8 rebounds and had two seasons where he averaged north of 19 points (1987-88 and 1988-89).

Just like Stockton and Malone, Bailey was an iron man, missing just four games in his first nine years. He is also one of 20 players since 1946 to play more than 82 games in a season (he played 84 in 1991-92 when he was traded from Utah to Minnesota which gave him a couple of extra games to play).

No. 8

The Jazz have never had a pick here.

No. 9

Selections

  • Gordon Hayward (2010)
  • Trey Burke (2013) ACQUIRED VIA MINNESOTA

The Jazz selected Hayward after he was a few inches from hitting what would have been the greatest buzzer-beater in NCAA Final Four history and he proceeded to have seven solid seasons in Utah.

Hayward increased his scoring averaged every year he was with the Jazz, culminating in his first All-Star selection in 2016-17 (Utah’s first since Williams in 2010-11). In that season he averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists.

Then he went off to join his former coach in Boston and proceeded to injure his ankle in vomit-inducing fashion.

Burke was meant to be the capstone on the Core Four and make it a “Fab Five” or something to that effect. He had a solid rookie season, earning All-Rookie in 2013, but never managed to pan out as he couldn’t bring his shooting percentages up to good levels after three seasons with the team.

No. 10

The Jazz have never had a pick here.

No. 11

Selections

  • James Hardy (1978)

The lone #11 pick was probably also the first bust for the franchise. Hardy played just four NBA seasons — all for the Jazz — and averaged 5.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in that time.

No. 12

Selections

  • Alec Burks (2011)
  • Trey Lyles (2015)
  • Taurean Prince (2016) TRADED TO ATLANTA

Not much has come out of the #12 slot for the Jazz. Burks is currently the second-longest tenured Jazzman but has only a couple of decent seasons to his name and this year, he was paid $10.8 million to play 1,059 minutes and average 7.7 points (that comes out to $10,241 per minute and $21,954 per point).

Lyles had a promising rookie year, but succumbed to the sophomore slump and was traded to help bring in Donovan Mitchell. Prince never saw the floor for the Jazz, instead he went to Atlanta. In this last season he was actually not bad, starting all 82 games for the Hawks and putting up 14.2 points in 30.0 minutes.

No. 13

Selections

  • Danny Schayes (1981)
  • Karl Malone (1985)
  • Donovan Mitchell (2017) ACQUIRED VIA DENVER

The Jazz have gone two-for-three on selections at 13. Schayes played in only 132 games, scoring 9.7 points per game in one-and-a-half seasons before getting shipped off to Denver.

Malone on the other hand played 18 seasons and 1,434 games for the Jazz and become the greatest player in the franchise’s history with a statue standing outside the front doors of his home arena.

The Mailman holds nine single-season and 18 career records for the Jazz. His dominance in the ‘80s and ‘90s helped Utah make the playoffs every year he was on the team and made the NBA Finals twice. He is currently second on the NBA career points list with 36,374 points.

Donovan Mitchell obviously doesn’t have the resume of Malone (and probably never will), though he does have All-Star potential and is arguably already a star in the league after a stellar rookie season.

No. 14

Selections

  • Kris Humphries (2004)
  • Ronnie Brewer (2006)
  • Shabazz Muhammad (2013) TRADED TO MINNESOTA

No one picked by the Jazz at #14 lasted very long. Muhammad was sent to the T-Wolves on draft day (as part of the Trey Burke trade) and Humphries played only two seasons in Utah, averaging 3.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in 129 games.

Brewer had the longest (and best) Jazz career of the three, playing three-and-a-half seasons before being moved to Memphis. He scored 10.5 points per game but was known more for his defense.

No. 15

Selections

  • Dell Curry (1986)
  • Jose Rafael Ortiz-Rijos (1987)

In back-to-back years, Utah had the #15 pick and neither turned out well for the Jazz. Curry played just one year in the Beehive State before going on to have solid 16-year career. He played just 9.5 minutes per game for the Jazz.

Ortiz only lasted two years in the NBA, appearing in 64 games — all for the Jazz. He averaged just 2.9 points in those games.

No. 16

Selections

  • John Stockton (1984)
  • Kirk Snyder (2004)

Stockton easily comes in as the best pick of the two taken by the Jazz at this spot. His statue stands alongside Malone’s and deservedly so. He owns the NBA’s career assist and steals records and holds seven of the top nine spots in the single-season assists leaderboard, including the top four.

Snyder only appeared in 68 games for Utah in one season, playing 13.3 minutes per game and shooting a lackluster 37.2 percent from the field.

No. 17

Selections

  • Eric Leckner (1988)

Nothing much came out of the lone pick at this spot. Leckner lasted just two seasons and never averaged north of five points in his time with Utah.

No. 18

Selections

  • Luther Wright (1993)
  • Curtis Borchardt (2002) ACQUIRED VIA ORLANDO

Both Wright and Borchardt were disappointments at #18. Wright suffered from mental health problems and only played 92 minutes for the Jazz. Borchardt made it to a second season and started 23 games but never made it to a third season in the league with any team.

Borchardt, so far as I am aware, was the first instance of the Jazz making a trade for a different pick on draft day itself.

No. 19

Selections

  • John Duren (1980)
  • Quincy Lewis (1999)
  • Ryan Humphrey (2002) TRADED TO ORLANDO
  • Sasha Pavlovic (2003)

None of these selections lasted more than three seasons with the Jazz. Duren, taken in the same draft as Darrell Griffith, saw just two seasons with the Jazz and only three overall in the NBA. Lewis made it four seasons but played just three of those in Utah.

Lewis averaged 12.3 minutes per game in his three years with Utah before missing the 2003-04 season and playing one last NBA season with Minnesota.

Humphrey was traded on draft day so Utah could move up to take Curtis Borchardt and played four seasons between Memphis and Orlando, averaging 2.3 points and 2.2 rebounds.

Pavlovic had a journeyman’s 12-year career in the NBA, traveling between seven different teams. Only his rookie year was spent with the Jazz and he appeared in 79 games playing 14.5 minutes per game.

No. 20

Selections

  • Larry Knight (1979)
  • Eric Maynor (2009)

Maynor and Knight played a combined 26 games for the Jazz. All of those came from Maynor.

Knight averaged 21.3 points and 14.3 rebounds his senior year of college but after being selected as the third first-round pick in franchise history, he never played a second of NBA basketball.

In the 26 games Maynor played, he averaged 5.2 points and 3.1 assists before being sent to Oklahoma City mid-season.

No. 21

Selections

  • Blue Edwards (1989)
  • Eric Murdock (1991)
  • Pavel Pdkolzin (2004)
  • Gorgui Dieng (2013)

The #21 pick is tied with three other spots for the most common pick the Jazz have had (#19, #23 and #28). Despite having plenty of shots to nab a good player, Utah hasn’t capitalized.

Two players, Pavel Pdkolzin and Gorgui Dieng, at 21 didn’t make it out of draft day with the Jazz. Murdock spent only one season in Utah, playing 50 games at 9.1 minutes per contest.

Blue Edwards made All-Rookie as a Jazzman and played his first three years in Utah, starting 186 games and averaging 10.3 points. He spent two-and-a-half seasons away from Utah before returning for a brief 26-game stint in the second half of the 1994-95 season.

No. 22

The Jazz have never had a pick here.

No. 23

Selections

  • Tico Brown (1979)
  • DeShawn Stevenson (2000)
  • Kosta Koufos (2008)
  • Rodney Hood (2014)

Only three of the selections at #23 made it to the NBA. Brown was actually a second-round pick but never arrived in Utah. Instead he played eight seasons in the Continental Basketball Association and had a distinguished career in that league including two championships and multiple 50-point scoring games.

DeShawn Stevenson was traded from Utah in the middle of his fourth season with the team after having worked his way up to full-time starter with the team. Kosta Koufos played 84 game across two seasons with the Jazz, playing 8.8 minutes per game.

As for Rodney Hood, Jazz fans are well aware of how his time with the team was spent. Four seasons — two as a full-time starter — as a solid scoring wing. One of the better late-round picks by the Jazz (though certainly not the best).

No. 24

Selections

  • Andrei Kirilenko (1999)
  • Raul Lopez (2001)

Two very different stories at #24. Lopez is perhaps known more for being the guy the Jazz selected instead of Tony Parker, who was taken four spots after Lopez. The latter played only two seasons with Utah, averaging 6.5 points and 3.8 assists in 113 games.

Kirilenko, instead of being a bust, was one of the steals of the 1999 draft. He played 10 seasons with the Jazz and is one of just two players in Jazz history to average 3-plus blocks in a season and is one of just two players in NBA history to have multiple 5x5 games.

No. 25

Selections

  • Martin Muursepp (1996) TRADED TO MIAMI
  • Morris Almond

Neither of these selections makes Jazz historians blink. Muursepp never played a minute for Utah, being traded to Miami and playing only three years. Almond also lasted just three years in the league and played just 34 games in his two seasons for the Jazz.

No. 26

Selections

  • Jacky Dorsey (1976)

Dorsey never played a second for the Jazz. As a second-round pick by New Orleans in the team’s third season, Dorsey was waived two days before the team’s season-opener and didn’t make his pro debut until 1977 with the Denver Nuggets.

He played for four different teams in each of his four seasons, appearing in just 60 games.

No. 27

Selections

  • Howard Wood (1981)
  • Jacque Vaughn (1997)
  • Rudy Gobert (2013) ACQUIRED VIA DENVER

Wood was the second selection by the Jazz in the 1981 draft (a second-round selection) and played just one season with Utah and appeared in just 42 games (three starts).

Vaughn hold a dubious position in Utah’s record books as he is second in franchise history in games played (224) without a single start. In his fourth (and final) year in Utah, he played 19.1 minutes per game and score 6.1 points and was an efficient shooter.

The selection where the Jazz really shine is with Gobert. At this point, the NBA is fully aware of his defensive prowess and at just 25 years of age, some of his best basketball is in front of him.

No. 28

Selections

  • Aaron James (1974)
  • Greg Ostertag (1995)
  • Scott Padgett (1999)

Aaron James holds the distinction of being the first-ever draft pick by the Jazz organization. He was technically a second-round pick as the then-New Orleans Jazz traded their first-round pick to Atlanta for what became the 10th overall pick in in Mike Sojourner.

James played all of his five NBA seasons with the Jazz and averaged 10.8 points on 48.1 percent shooting in 21.5 minutes per game.

The 1995 selection of Ostertag proved to be of fair value. The 7-foot-2 center played 10 of his 11 seasons with the Jazz and is one of four players in franchise history to average two or more blocks per game in three different seasons.

Padgett played four seasons in Utah with his best being the 2001-02 season when he played just over 17 minutes a game and scored 6.7 points per game and shot 43.4 percent from three which is the highest 3-point percentage from a power forward in franchise history (min 100 attempts).

No. 29

Selections

  • Nazr Mohammed (1998) TRADED TO PHILADELPHIA

He never played a minute for the Jazz, but Mohammed spent 18 years in the NBA. He was a journeyman, spending time with eight different teams and eventually retiring at the age of 38. He is one of seven players from the 1998 draft to play in 1000 games.

No. 30

Selections

  • Josh Hart (2017) TRADED TO LA LAKERS

As a rookie this year for the Lakers, Hart was a solid player. He appeared in 63 games (23 starts) and put up 7.9 points in 23.1 minutes per game on .496/.396 shooting.