As you are probably well aware, the Jazz did not make NBA history and become the first team with a 1.8% chance of picking in the top-3 to defy the odds, much to the dismay of Randy Rigby (who either oversold the fake disappointment, is the mother of all optimists, or doesn’t understand what percentages are – most likely: a combination of all three)
As a result – the Jazz will own first-round selections at #14 and #21. Even in the worst of drafts – there is always at least one late-first (Tony Parker, Kevin Martin, David Lee, ect) or 2nd-round pick (Michael Redd, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur, ect) who surprises and becomes a very good NBA player. While the odds are small (Dear Randy Rigby, this means something is unlikely to happen so please don’t get overly upset when it doesn’t) of uncovering a gem outside of the top-10, what should realistic expectations for Utah’s 2013 Draft be based upon prior draft history? To determine this, let’s take a look back at every 14th and 21st selection over the past 15 years:
|2008||Anthony Randolph||Golden State|
|2007||Al Thornton||L.A. Clippers|
|2001||Troy Murphy||Golden State|
|2010||Craig Brackins||Oklahoma City|
|2009||Darren Collison||New Orleans|
|2008||Ryan Anderson||New Orleans|
|2005||Nate Robinson||New York|
Obvioiusly – the 14th pick has more value than the 21st. However, the results show that – while there’s little superstar potenital – a strong argument can be made that a majority of players selected 21st are better than those picked 14th. Rajon Rondo (21st in 2006) is clearly the best player on both lists, and the only player who could be viewed as a potential franchise piece. Boris Diaw (21st in 2003) had a promising start to his career to the point the Hawks turned his potential along with two future draft picks) into Joe Johnson in 2006, and the Suns gave him a 5-year/$45 million extension in 2006. Jeff Foster (21st in 1999) developed into a starting center for perennial playoff teams in Indiana. Morris Peterson (21st in 2000) was a solid starter and enjoyed an 11-year career and two PG’s – Nate Robinson (21st in 2005) and Darren Collison (21st in 2009) – while never sticking with one team have repeatedly found work in backup roles.
Amongst #14 picks – Troy Murphy is probably the only solid starter picked in that spot, Luke Ridnour is/was a serviceable point guard and finally Kris Humphries and Ronnie Brewer – role players and ultimately career backups – round out the list of productive players who are at least capable of contributing. (In fairness, it is still far too early to judge John Henson).
So the bottom line is while a 7-pick gap between Pick #1 and Pick #8 offers a huge drop-off in caliber of player, recent history shows there is no discernible difference between players selected 14th and 21st. Clearly in the present – #14 vs. #21 matter when a team is looking to trade-up and basing a pick off their pre-determined draft board. However, it’s obvious in the grand scheme of things that the talent available at #14 will still be there at #21.
The Jazz won’t have a high probability of selected another Enes Kanter or Gordon Hayward, but they’ll have two chances to select players with essentially equal chances at becoming a quality contributor. Striking out once in a draft is somewhat understandable (especially if you’re Kevin O’Connor), but the Jazz can’t go 0-for-2 again this year. They must come away with at least one legitimate NBA rotation-player whom Ty Corbin can coddle and play far too few minutes during their first few seasons.
The worst thing that could happen from this draft is Ty winds up with two first-round picks who actually give him a valid reason to keep on the bench.