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 . . .