At the end of a very long night there are 60 picks selected in the NBA Draft. Effectively, it's the happy ending to 60 stories. But few stories are as inspiring as the guy who is picked last. All the suspense ends with the culmination of a life-long dream. Every year there are about four hundred players in the NBA, and each June 60 new hopefuls hear their names called. And with the 60th pick we've had a lot of "who?" but after a few years we occasionally look back and ask "how?" instead. Specifically, "How did they drop to 60?" Because life isn't a sports movie we need to be up front here, very few guys picked at #60 make us go from "who?" to "how?". But enough have that we have to seriously look at the possibilities. So here are the #60 picks from the last thirty years:
|3||1972||GSW||John Tshogl||Santa Barbara|
|6||1975||MIL||Bill Campion||Manhattan College|
|8||1977||GSW||Marlon Redmond||22.1||G||San Francisco||77||13.7||6.5||2.1||1.0||0.4||0.3||42.3%||0.0%||65.5%||0.6||0.026|
|9||1978||LAL||Michael Cooper||22.1||G-F||New Mexico||873||27.1||8.9||3.2||4.2||1.2||0.6||46.9%||34.0%||83.3%||52.5||0.107|
|14||1983||KCK||Steve Harriel||Washington State|
|31||2016||UTA||To Be Determined|
Thanks to Basketball-Reference for the data, by the way!
Unlike the #12, #42, and #52 -- the Utah Jazz have never picked at #60 before. Utah has filled their rosters during times of injury with undrafted players, even made one into a starter ( ). They also lost that guy because the Free Agency rules for undrafted players are more savage. If they instead had moved into the #60 pick they could have him still on the roster today. And that's really the protection the team could gain from keeping this pick.
You know, if there was not enough reason to keep the pick already. Michael Cooper was the stopper on a team that went on to win five Championships, and he was so good he was Defensive Player of the Year once which capped off being an All-NBA Defensive (1st or 2nd) team member eight different times. He was a 60th pick. Drazen Petrovic is a Hall of Famer who could have been one of the 10 Best shooting guards in the history of the game. He was a 60th pick. This season Isaiah Thomas was an All-Star and led his Boston Celtics to the NBA Playoffs. [For the record, Coop and Drazen were selected in drafts where there were more than just 60 picks.]
At #60 there is almost no risk, and all reward. And even if you don't hit a home run, if you are smart you can still draft a rotation guy, like Jefferson, Sacre, or Erden. Of course, that puts this up to maybe six guys over thirty years. Very low risk, but very low chance of getting anything out of this pick.
Don't expect: to hit that home run.
Do expect: that it's probably going to be a high upside guy, and not some 4th year NCAA player who is older than some of our Utah Jazz players currently on the roster. (Sorry Fred VanVleet and Kyle Wiltjer!)
Prediction: The Jazz keep this pick, and it will totally be a "who?" pick. So be on the look out for guys like Andrey Desyatnikov (7'3 Russian big), Aleksandar Vezenkov (Bulgarian / Greek / Cypriot who plays in Spain), or even the 18 year old Slovenian wing player Blaz Mesicek. Hmm, I seem to be just going Euro draft and stash with each of these possible 2nd round picks. That's totally not what I'd want though. There's also the 18 year old, 6'11, 240 pounder Gracin Bakumanya on my big board. But I really don't know if he has a lot of upside. He is young. And has a body. And has a crazy name. And he definitely fits the "who?" category for a #60 pick. I don't know if any of these guys could change enough opinions to make it to the "how?" category though.
Gut Feeling: If the Jazz are successful in making trades for two of the three picks ahead of this one, and I think they will be, then Utah will keep this one and use it on a high upside "who?" player. It's likely to be someone they worked out before the draft though -- and at the end of the day it could just end up being a(2010 #55) type. NBA level at something, but will have a hard time staying out of the NBA DL and on an NBA floor. A man needs a name? So how about Yogi Ferrell (Indiana). He's older than I'd want, 23, but at 6'0 and with great handles and a three point shot . . . the Isaiah Thomas comparisons will at least be made on twitter if he is selected at #60.
Swing the bat. Hope it connects.