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NBA Draft 2016: New Orleans / Utah Jazz draft spot frequency

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A historical look at where the Jazz have drafted . . . and what kinds of players they got for it.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz currently are heading into the 2016 NBA Draft with four picks: #12, #42, #52, and #60. The good people over at Tankathon.com give the Jazz a solid ranking with their four picks, but it's nothing compared to the hauls the Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, and Philadelphia 76ers are bringing to the table. Each of those four teams have THREE first round picks to the Jazz' one. And really, I don't know what Utah is going to do with the #42, #52, and #60 picks . . . right now to me they exist almost purely as assets to be moved.

And I do expect Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey to make at least one trade on draft night. But that got me thinking -- what's the frequency distribution of draft spots in team history? Sure, we didn't win the lottery again and continue to have never had a #1 pick -- but with all the assets the teams now has, surely more trades are to come. Right? Where have the Jazz had a lot of picks from? Well, I had to look it up. (N.B. These are the draft picks the team has gone into the draft with -- and thus does not reflect any draft day trades.)

1974 2016 Utah Jazz draft pick frequency

All-in-all, the Jazz have drafted 181 players. Historically, 92 of those were drafted after pick #60, and thus I'm not including them here -- though you know I have lots of love for John Shasky, David Pope, Billy Donovan, Mark Eaton, Paul Griffin, Delaney Rudd, Duck Williams, and Bart Kofoed in my heart. So out of the remaining 89 players we've seen only 8 of them in the Top 10. The two groupings that seem to form are the sub-40 club in the 2nd round; and more fruitfully, the late lotto to the 20s in the first.

Top 10:

  • Darrell Griffith (#2, 1980): Won the Rookie of the Year award, was huge for the team playing over 20k minutes
  • Dominique Wilkins (#3, 1982): Some say that selling him to the Atlanta Hawks saved the franchise, or at least helped keep the team in Utah. A part of me thinks that they could have found a way to sell tickets with him on the team though, especially with some of the talent that pre-existed at that point.
  • Deron Williams (#3, 2005): The All-NBA player and Olympian used to be one of the best guards in the league. His best years were in Utah, but it's possible that his very messy fall-out from his disagreements with Jerry Sloan will forever tarnish his legacy.
  • Enes Kanter (#3, 2011): Oh man, where to start with this guy . . . ?
  • Dante Exum (#5, 2014): { please be great . . . please be great . . . please be great }
  • Rich Kelley (#7, 1975): The first Top 10 draft pick in franchise history, and probably the only guy to play for both the New Orleans Jazz and Utah Jazz. One of the best bigmen in team history, but largely forgotten by people today.
  • Thurl Bailey (#7, 1983): A bigtime college star who helped the Jazz on and off the bench for years and years. He really should have his number retired. The fact that he hasn't happened yet may indicate that it will never happen.
  • Gordon Hayward (#9, 2010): The small "s" star of this team right now, I can imagine the Jazz being successful without him in a future where he doesn't want to re-sign with the team . . . but I know that before success comes there will be a lot of tough nights without him. The best player on the team's current core could end up being a 'bridge' player between Jazz playoff runs.

Picks 11 to 21:

  • James Hardy (#11, 1978): He was really good as Bane, and in Mad Max, and Inception. Wait, that's Thomas Hardy.
  • Alec Burks (#12, 2011): If he could stay healthy . . .
  • Trey Lyles (#12), 2015): He's going to turn into some sort of hybrid mix of Donyell Marshall and Terry Cummings, maybe.
  • FIRSTNAME LASTNAME (#12, 2016): If he's another guy like Lyles, I don't think we have to worry at all. The Jazz scouting department is almost without peer.
  • Danny Schayes (#13, 1981): Longtime NBA player, son of a Hall of Famer.
  • Karl Malone (#13, 1985): The best Power Forward of All-Time.
  • Kris Humphries (#14, 2004): Journeyman big has hustled on the glass his entire career and had a very televised wedding with the step-daughter of an Olympic Hero, the biological daughter of one of O.J. Simpson's lawyers.
  • Ronnie Brewer (#14, 2006): His talents were best used in the Flex Offense alongside talented players who drew more defensive pressure.
  • Shabazz Muhammad (#14, 2013): Tyrone Corbin's favorite player from that draft class was used to trade up for Trey Burke (#9, 2013), as fate would have it, the current head coach Quin Snyder's lease favorite player on the team.
  • Dell Curry (#15, 1986): A one-in-a-generation shooter who played only one year for the Jazz -- who somehow couldn't find a spot for him on the floor. He would go on to win a 6MOY award and produce an MVP son who could have been born in Utah.
  • Jose Ortiz (#15, 1987): One of the first Puerto Rican players in the NBA, who would later represent them in the 1992 Olympics against two of his former Jazz teammates.
  • John Stockton (#16, 1984): All things considered, the most important player in franchise history.
  • Kirk Snyder (#16, 2004): A combo guard taken right after Al Jefferson who would reveal to the world that he has some issues, and was arrested for breaking into his neighbor's house and assaulting him one night. Only played one season for the team.
  • Eric Leckner (#17, 1988): The playing time he got early on in his career makes me wonder what Kyrylo Fesenko could have been under Frank Layden, with that type of more jovial head coach.
  • Luther Wright (#18, 1993): Wright should have been a monster on the court, but his own demons kept him off of it. A very sad story.
  • John Duren (#19, 1980): One of the stalwart line of Duren, of Khazad-dum, cousin to Thrain, Gloin, Dain, and Sleepy. Wait, that's the line of Durin. Damn, I'm bad at this.
  • Quincy Lewis (#19, 1999): Once denied missing a shot despite having me tweet to him photographic evidence and a box score that proved he did.
  • Ryan Humphrey (#19, 2002): Traded along with Jamal Sampson for slowly moving, antique, brittle chifforobe Curtis Borchardt.
  • Sasha Pavlovic (#19, 2003): Lost after a promising rookie season in the expansion draft.
  • Larry Knight (#20, 1979): Did not play in the NBA, probably did not get permission from his liege Lord.
  • Eric Maynor (#20, 2009): Wow, lots of "shoulda-beens" on this list.
  • Blue Edwards (#21, 1989): An exciting wing player who started on some early 90s teams.
  • Eric Murdock (#21, 1991): Got his career turned around after leaving Utah, probably known more now for getting into a fight with then team owner Larry H. Miller that included LHM trash talking him.
  • Pavel Podkolzin (#21, 2004): The 7'5 Russian with Acromegaly only played two seasons in the NBA, for Dallas. He was involved in a salary dump by the Houston Rockets that would send Glen Rice and three picks (Pavel, Robert Whaley, and Dee Brown) to Utah for John Amaechi and a trade exception. Without Pavel the Jazz don't get the 1st rounder from Dallas needed to have enough 1st rounders to trade up for the #3 spot to take Deron Williams.
  • Gorgui Dieng (#21, 2013): The other part of 'Bazz for Burke trade that worked out so well for the Jazz.

Sub-40 Club:

I'm not going to go over every player here, many didn't play a minute in the league.

  • Olivier Hanlan (#42, 2015): Could be another Goran Suton issue, nice college player who never makes it to the NBA, and does his work out in Europe.
  • Ante Tomic (#44, 2008): We drafted this guy almost a year ago. Going through customs can take some time, but this is ridiculous.
  • Bryon Russell (#45, 1993): Honestly, let's just retire that #34 if we're also retiring Thurl's #41...
  • Dee Brown (#46, 2006): The One-Man-Fast-Break is deemed too dangerous to have around young players, which is why he now works for the University of Illinois' athletic department and is a great influence on them. Either the Jazz were wrong, or the UoI is. Which organization do you think knows him better?
  • Erick Green (#46, 2013): Without him the Jazz don't get Rudy Gobert (#27, 2013). Somehow ended up signing a 10-Day contract with the team from the NBADL.
  • Jamie Watson (#47, 1993): A poor man's T-Mac.
  • Mo Williams (#47, 2003): A spectacular shooter and leader who played two years with the team, one as a 3rd stringer, the other as a starter. A deep devotee of Jason Hart's personal playbook.
  • Paul Millsap (#47, 2006): Today he is an All-Star and All-NBA candidate. When he was with the Jazz he was the glue that kept our team together.
  • Kevin Murphy (#47, 2012): I am amazed that a #47 didn't work out for this team, was involved in the GSW/DEN/UTA trade that got us the #60 pick in this draft and the rental of Andris Biedrins.
  • Robert Whaley (#51, 2005): AKA. Bobby Williams.
  • Jarron Collins (#52, 2001): Somehow got worse every year in the league.
  • Bob Hansen (#54, 1983): Was huge for the Jazz in the season that Griff was injured, he stepped up to fill that starter's role and helped the team in the playoffs.
  • Shandon Anderson (#54, 1996): If only he got a few fewer rookie calls against him in the NBA Finals, we might have a championship.
  • Jeremy Evans (#55, 2010): Gordon Hayward's BFF

Man, this is a long list. What's the point? The point is that the Jazz usually pick in the late-lotto through to the 20s in the first round, and secondly, with some random sub-40 picks in the second. A lot of these guys didn't turn out as expected. Very few turned into stars.

What can we expect from the 2016 NBA Draft? Well, I'm excited to see what happens with the #60 pick -- having to draft someone they'd rather hope goes undrafted means more financial security for that guy, but also more protection for the Jazz if they want to keep him. (RIP undrafted rookie Wesley Matthews.) The #42 and #52 picks will probably be moved in some sort of package. I really expect at least one of our picks to get Dani Diez 'd on draft night.

As for the #12? Well . . . more on that guy in the next post!