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The 23rd Pick Through the History of the NBA Draft

What type of player could the Jazz add?

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday you were all hit with a ton of potential draft prospects the Utah Jazz could select in this year’s NBA draft. Every draft has it’s steal, and GM Dennis Lindsey will be looking for exactly that come June 20th. At pick #23, that won’t be easy.

Historically, after the first pick of the draft it’s pretty much a crap shoot. Obviously the higher you pick the better your chances are of finding a star or difference maker, but nothing is guaranteed. The odds at finding even a rotational piece at the back half of the draft are.... not great.

I don’t say this to dampen your hopes, rather to set fair expectations. Personally, I won’t be at all surprised if Utah ends up trading their first round pick away entirely. If they do decide to keep it, let’s hope the front office can find lightning in a bottle similar to the Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell selections.

The Jazz have a decent history with this exact draft slot, including in recent years. Here are all of the 23rd picks in franchise history:

  • 2014 - Rodney Hood
  • 2008 - Kosta Koufos
  • 2000 - DeShawn Stevenson
  • 1970 - Tico Brown

Honestly, if you ask me the Jazz are doing extremely well for themselves considering. I have no idea who Tico Brown is, but the other 3 had or will have long NBA careers. Not bad for such a late pick. The rest of the league probably can’t boast such a record with a pick in the early 20’s.

For a comprehensive review, here are all of the #23 picks since the year 2000:

  • 2018 - Aaron Holiday - Pacers
  • 2017 - OG Anunoby - Raptors
  • 2016 - Ante Zizic - Celtics
  • 2015 - Rondae Hollis-Jefferson - Nets
  • 2014 - Rodney Hood - Jazz
  • 2013 - Solomon Hill - Pacers
  • 2012 - John Jenkins - Hawks
  • 2011 - Nikola Mirotic - Rockets
  • 2010 - Trevor Booker - Timberwolves
  • 2009 - Omri Casspi Kings
  • 2008 - Kosta Koufos - Jazz
  • 2007 - Wilson Chandler - Nuggets
  • 2006 - Josh Boone - Nets
  • 2005 - Francisco Garcia - Kings
  • 2004 - Sergei Monia - Trail Blazers
  • 2003 - Travis Outlaw - Trail Blazers
  • 2002 - Tayshaun Prince, Pistons
  • 2001 - Brandon Armstrong - Rockets
  • 2000 - DeShawn Stevenson - Jazz

For those counting at home, that’s exactly 0 All-Stars in almost 20 years. That’s not to say there aren’t some really good players mixed in there, but overall you aren’t getting a franchise piece with the 23rd pick.

If you get a Tayshaun Prince, Nikola Mirotic, or even a Wilson Chandler then wow good for you. That’s a huge win. If you get a Rodney Hood, Solomon Hill, Omri Casspi, or Trevor Booker then you’ve done pretty well for yourself. But again, you aren’t really changing the franchise direction with it.

What you can do, however, is find cheap help. You might be able to get a guy under team control that outperforms his deal by a good margin. This becomes particularly important for a team like the Jazz that will have some big paydays coming soon. A rookie contract that provides solid minutes off the bench can be like gold to an NBA GM.

So does the 23rd pick of the draft have value? Yes, of course.

Does it have a lot of value? No, not really. So if it is thrown into a trade and the return doesn't seem ludicrous, it shouldn’t be.

But the Jazz are in a stage of building where the margin for error is pretty slim. There isn’t much wiggle room any more. So if they decide to keep the pick and invest in a young player, let’s hope Dennis and Justin Zanik defy the odds and find a diamond in the rough that contributes to a title-contending team like Toronto found in Pascal Siakam or Milwaukee found in Malcolm Brogdon. Let’s hope one of those prospects exceeds expectations like Rudy and Donovan comparative to their draft positions. Let’s hope we find ourselves another winner.