The NBA Draft is coming up next month, and teams are already running players through work outs. The Utah Jazz saw 12 players already before the Chicago Combine, and there are plans to see scores more. The next, most obvious, calendar date is today -- the NBA Draft Lottery. Franchise fortunes are made and lost on this day, where teams lose and lose with the hopes of getting a lucky bounce with the ping pong balls, and then draft a John Wall, or Derrick Rose, or LeBron James, or whomever. Also, sometimes you go out there and you draft a Kenyon Martin, or a Kent Benson. Sometimes you do get that stud, other times, well, a dud. The larger disappointment than a #1 pick bust is that every single year of the NBA Draft lottery there are teams that have very little statistical chance of winning it who somehow are disappointed when they do not. This is that proverbial "damn" moment by Randy Rigby.
Yeah. So just to make sure we're all on the same page, the Utah Jazz have the 12th most ping pong balls in this lottery. (It's not actually a lottery, it's a computer generated number sequence that is way too nerdy, and too less "Price is Right"-y to actually be televised.) And while lotto winners have come from all walks of the Top 9 seeds of late, the #12 draft lotto seed is usually, always, going to end up being the #12 draft pick.
Who are the last few #12 picks? I broke it all down here a while back, but it's not a bad idea to look at my work again. (And see all the spelling/word errors.) There have been plenty of good players picked outside of the Top 10, with such historically important names as:
- #11 picks: Robert Horry, Allan Houston, Andris Biedrins, J.J. Redick, Klay Thompson, Michael Carter-Williams
- #12 picks: Greg Anthony, George Lynch, Nick Collison, Thaddeus Young, Alec Burks, Stephen Adams
- #13 picks: Loy Vaught, Dale Davis, Bryant Stith, Jalen Rose, Kobe Bryant, Corey Maggette, Richard Jefferson, Thabo Sefolosha, Brandon Bass, Ed Davis, Zach LaVine
- #14 picks: Malik Sealy, Peja Stojakovic, Troy Murphy, Luke Ridnour, Kris Humphries, Ronnie Brewer Shabazz Muhammad
- #15 picks (Jazz can't actually get this pick): Eric Piatkowski, Brent Barry, Steve Nash, Matt Harpring, Al Jefferson, Rodney Stuckey, Robin Lopez, Larry Sanders, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo
The #12 spot isn't that impressive in direct comparison from 1990 to 2014. However, if someone jumps the Jazz by winning the lotto (the Phoenix Suns or Oklahoma City Thunder), then that bumps the Jazz down to #13, which is where they picked Karl Malone at back in 1985. So, you know, silver lining.
However, recent rends indicate that the Jazz, with 7/1000 chances to win the lotto (and the teams behind them even less), that they will most likely stay put at #12. And that's where I think it helps to have a Dennis Lindsey (and the rest of his crew). They actually scout beyond their draft position, but more than that, when they do scout someone they really don't make a mistake. This is the one part of the Jazz org that I am 100% in bed with. Luck may get you a high pick. But hard work, diligence, and having excellent people doing an excellent job will help you make the best of whatever cards you are dealt.
After all, they were able to turn Erick Green and some cash into Rudy Gobert. Are you really going to bet against this crew? I think not. The Jazz had a #12 recently and turned that into Alec Burks. At worst he's a rotation player in the NBA. And at the #12 spot, you don't usually get that.
And we all already know who we are picking, right? He's someone that:
- 60% of the fanbase will love no matter what
- 10% of them will love him forever, no matter what
- 15% will think he's taking up playing time from someone else on the team they like better
- 5% will call him a bust
- 5% will expect him to get more playing time than possible
- and 2.5% will be upset we didn't pick someone else, whom in three seasons, they will historically revise their opinion to suggest that you KNEW we shoulda picked THAT GUY instead
- there's another 2.5% left over for the Uncle Dales out there who are upset we didn't pick the "scrappiest" player available on the board
NO matter what the Jazz do with their #12 seed at the lotto, I do think we all know that DL and crew view it as a potential #12 lotto draft pick asset. And assets are to be used. I wouldn't be surprised to see the team move up, or stay put. It all depends on who is on the board and in striking distance. It's going to be a fun June as we try to figure it all out together.