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NBA Draft 2016: History of the #60 draft pick and Utah Jazz possibilities this year

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Do you believe in miracles?

Drazen!
Drazen!
Ken Levine/Getty Images

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:

Draft Tm Player Age Pos College G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT% WS WS/48
1 1970 CLE Glen Vidnovic Iowa
2 1971 BAL Willie Allen 22.1 F Miami
3 1972 GSW John Tshogl Santa Barbara
4 1973 PHO Ronnie Robinson 22.1 F Memphis
5 1974 KCO Lloyd Batts 23.0 G-F Cincinnati
6 1975 MIL Bill Campion Manhattan College
7 1976 LAL Wayman Britt 23.3 G Michigan 7 2.3 1.3 0.6 0.3 0.1 0.0 30.0% 75.0% 0.0 0.046
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
10 1979 LAL Walter Daniels Georgia
11 1980 SAS Lavon Mercer Georgia
12 1981 IND Purvis Miller USC
13 1982 GSW Chris Engler 23.1 C Wyoming 195 7.2 1.8 2.0 0.2 0.2 0.2 41.1% 67.7% 0.6 0.020
14 1983 KCK Steve Harriel Washington State
15 1984 CLE Leonard Mitchell LSU
16 1985 DET Andre Goode Northwestern
17 1986 POR Drazen Petrovic 21.2 G International 290 26.4 15.4 2.3 2.4 0.9 0.1 50.6% 43.7% 84.1% 21.5 0.134
18 1987 IND Sean Couch Columbia
19 1988 WSB Ed Davender Kentucky
20 2005 DET Alex Acker 22.2 G Pepperdine 30 7.8 2.7 1.0 0.5 0.2 0.1 37.0% 32.0% 50.0% -0.2 -0.043
21 2006 DET Will Blalock 22.3 G Iowa State 14 11.9 1.8 1.1 1.2 0.4 0.0 30.0% 20.0% 100.0% -0.1 -0.032
22 2007 DAL Milovan Rakovic 22.1 C International
23 2008 BOS Semih Erden 21.3 C International 69 13.4 3.8 2.8 0.4 0.4 0.4 54.6% 59.4% 1.8 0.094
24 2009 MIA Robert Dozier Memphis
25 2010 PHO Dwayne Collins 22.1 F Miami
26 2011 SAC Isaiah Thomas 22.1 G Washington 365 29.2 17.1 2.6 5.0 1.0 0.1 43.7% 36.2% 86.3% 32.9 0.148
27 2012 LAL Robert Sacre 23.0 C Gonzaga 189 14.5 4.2 3.1 0.7 0.3 0.6 43.6% 0.0% 67.1% 2.4 0.042
28 2013 MEM Janis Timma 21.0 F International
29 2014 SAS Cory Jefferson 23.2 F Baylor 58 10.0 3.5 2.8 0.3 0.2 0.4 44.4% 12.5% 58.3% 0.9 0.071
30 2015 PHI Luka Mitrovic 22.1 F International
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 (Wesley Matthews). 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 Jeremy Evans (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.