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NBA Draft 2014: Where potential turns into production -- a look at Jarnell Stokes and #35 draft picks

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The Utah Jazz are a team built mostly from the draft, and beyond that, mostly with 1st round picks for the first time in team history. Let's take a look at what they have.

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Not every team is able to entice players to join their squad in free agency. In the case of the Utah Jazz, very few players have decided to take their talents to "Salt Lake". Trades happen, and the draft is a must, but they are much more important to the Jazz than free agency -- the team couldn't even get players to join them back when John and Karl were on the team. BECAUSE trades and the draft are more important let's take a look at each major piece we have on the team today, and try to see where they are in terms of the potential vs production axis.

The Utah Jazz traded away their #35 pick, so why am I even doing this? Well, it's to build a frame of reference for the Jarnell Stokes 'loss'. He was there, and we decided not to keep him. Other players were there too, like Glen Robinson III. But it's fine. Why is this fine? Let me show you.

1 1974 Kevin Stacom 16 1989 Pat Durham 31 2004 Andre Emmett
2 1975 Allen Murphy 17 1990 Greg Foster 32 2005 Ricky Sanchez
3 1976 Dallas Smith 18 1991 Mike Iuzzolino 33 2006 P.J. Tucker
4 1977 Mark Landsberger 19 1992 Tony Bennett 34 2007 Glen Davis
5 1978 Tommie Green 20 1993 Ed Stokes 35 2008 DeAndre Jordan
6 1979 James Bradley 21 1994 Michael Smith 36 2009 DeJuan Johnson
7 1980 Rick Mahorn 22 1995 Jimmy King 37 2010 Nemanja Bjelica
8 1981 Charles Davis 23 1996 Joseph Blair 38 2011 Tyler Honeycutt
9 1982 Derek Smith 24 1997 Kebu Stewart 39 2012 Draymond Green
10 1983 Darrell Lockhart 25 1998 Bruno Sundov 40 2013 Glen Rice Jr.
11 1984 Othell Wilson 26 1999 Calvin Booth 41 2014 Jarnell Stokes
12 1985 Tyrone Corbin 27 2000 Mike Smith
13 1986 Milt Wagner 28 2001 Jeff Trepagnier
14 1987 Doug Lee 29 2002 Milos Vujanic
15 1988 Sylvester Gray 30 2003 Szymon Szewczky

Jarnell Stokes may be a fine player, but history isn't really on the side of the #35 draft pick. I know who they are, and I poured over their stats for the last four decades. Let's break it all down.

So outside of what Stokes is as a player, he's part of a crew that seems to just hang around, 32 of the 40 players drafted before Stokes play in one NBA game. But only 12 of those 12 make it to their 5th year in the league. Hardly any better is the fact that only 16 make it to their 3rd year in the league. There are, of course, some stand outs that were picked #35:

  • Mark Landsberger was a solid rotation player,
  • Rick Mahorn a vital piece of a championship team,
  • Derek Smith a guy who played in the league for nine years and played nearly 24.0 mpg over his nearly 10,000 minute career,
  • Tyrone Corbin is another good #35 pick, he played 16 seasons in the NBA
  • Mike Iuzzolino, while his playing career was short, his name was said more in 90's video arcades than anyone else
  • Michael Smith had a solid career as a back up PF in sactown

But then it's kind of the doldrums for the early 2000s, until we got this high yield crop of P.J. Tucker, Glen Davis, DeAndre Jordan, Draymond Green, and Glen Rice Jr. I will say that stokes has ONE HUGE THING GOING FOR HIM. It's that right now there is momentum for the #35 spot -- it's never been better. In the last 10 years 7 have made the league, and they average 22.4 mpg, 7.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 0.9 apg, 0.7 spg, and 0.8 bpg. The values for these last 10 years are of much higher averages than the previous four decades. Sure, there were legendary outliers like Mahorn -- but right now with guys like Big Baby and DeAndre doing things as PF/Cs it's easy to fall for the idea that Stokes is going to be great.

If anything, Stokes is likely to be an NBA player who averages fewer than 20 mpg over his career. Or at least, that's what four decades of data tells us.

Yes, this is really me trying to psych myself up to the point that the Jazz traded him away for what could end up being nothing good.

Stokes is going to be going to a crowded front court in Memphis -- so he may be stuck in that Jeremy Evans problem that we looked at back in our analysis of the #55 draft pick. Only 7 of the 40 drafted players have been "good" players that you kick yourself if you miss out on. Can the Jazz afford to miss out on guys? Or will Stokes be that "gotta be around the corner" player who brings the recent trend back towards historical average?

Rick Mahorn had career (regular season + playoffs) averages of 6.8 and 6.2. Is this Stokes territory? Maybe. If so, is he something to be upset about? Is it Glen Davis and his 8.5 and 4.6? We're going to be fine. After all, we still have Ante Tomic . . . oh wait . . .

NEXT UP: The #33 pick, and Carrick Felix!