The Jazz have historically had some great draft picks, including John Stockton and Karl Malone. That hasn’t been the case lately. The team has made some questionable picks in their recent history, and I rank the 5 worst ones.
5. NBA Draft 2004
The Jazz took Kris Humphries with the 14th pick in the draft. Humphries has had a solid career as a backup in the NBA but has never been a great player. He has career averages of 6.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, has played in 744 games and has 199 starts. In his best year, Humphries averaged 13.8 points and 11 rebounds per game.
He has never been known as much of an offensive threat, showing by his low scoring outputs.
Honorable Mentions: Tony Allen, Kevin Martin
Draft Steal: Trevor Ariza #43
Utah should have taken the player who was picked right after Humphries, Al Jefferson. Jefferson has made his name as one of the best low-post scoring threats in the NBA today. He was an All-NBA Third Team member in 2014, and has averaged 16.7 points and 8.9 rebounds over his career. Jefferson has played in 813 games and has 649 starts. His best season saw averages of 23 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Jefferson is obviously a much better player and has had a great career. Had Utah taken him over Humphries, they would have had many more years with him instead of the three they had while they weren’t any good.
4. NBA Draft 2010
Utah took Gordon Hayward with the 9th pick in the draft. This has been a great pick for the team, as Hayward has become the team’s franchise player, and become one of the more versatile small forwards in the league. He averaged 19.7 points and 5 rebounds per game last season. He has played over 70 games in every season except the lockout-shortened season. Hayward was a great pick for the Jazz, but they definitely missed on someone much better.
Honorable Mentions: none
Draft Steal: Hassan Whiteside #33
The Jazz should have taken Paul George, who went #10. George is a three-time All-Star, a three-time member of the All-NBA Third Team, 2014 All-Defensive First Team, two-time All-Defensive Second Team, and won the Most Improved Player award. He averaged 23.1 points per game last year and averaged over 27 points and 7 rebounds in last year’s playoffs. George is known as one of the best wing defenders and two-way players in the league. Most people consider him to be a superstar. He is also on the cover of NBA 2K17.
This missed draft pick would be higher on the list had the Jazz taken someone other than Hayward, who is a very good player. George is just a lot better and is obviously the better player now.
3. NBA Draft 2013
Utah picked Trey Burke at #9, who was the College Player of the Year at Michigan. Burke won the 2014 Skills Challenge over All-Star Weekend. He has averaged 12.1 points and 4.2 assists per game over his career. Burke hasn’t increased his scoring output in each year he has been in the league and lost his starting job halfway through his second year. He played less minutes every year and just didn’t seem to fit with the Jazz.
Honorable Mentions: Dennis Schroder, Steven Adams, CJ McCollum
Steal: Rudy Gobert #27
The Jazz should have taken Giannis Antetokounmpo, who went 15th. The “Greek-Freak” has only averaged 12.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in his career, but he has increased his points, rebounds, assists, and minutes every year he has been in the league. He averaged almost 17 points and 8 rebounds per game, ending the season as the Bucks primary ball-handler. Giannis is freaky athletic and has been called Russel Westbrook in a 6’11” body. He’s become the franchise centerpiece for the Bucks and is becoming a star in the NBA.
While it’s yet to be seen if Burke can revitalize his career in Washington, it’s obvious he didn’t work out in Utah. Had the Jazz taken Giannis, they would have had a freakishly athletic playmaker who is tall, long, and fast. Giannis will continue to be the better player throughout his career whether Burke plays well in Washington or not.
2. NBA Draft 2006
Utah took Ronnie Brewer with the 14th pick. Brewer had a respectable career with the Jazz, playing his first four years with them. He averaged 13.7 points per game in his best year in Utah and has a career average of 7.8 points per game. Brewer has played in 502 games and has 304 starts.
Honorable Mentions: Paul Millsap, Rajon Rondo
Steal: Paul Millsap #47
The Jazz should have picked Kyle Lowry. Millsap would be the person they should have picked here, but Utah took him at 47 so I picked Lowry instead. Lowry is a two-time All-Star and made the All-NBA Third Team last season. He averaged 21 points and 6.4 assists per game. He’s currently in the prime of his career. Lowry is Toronto’s leader in triple doubles as well as threes made in a season. He has played in 653 games with 417 starts and played over 68 games in each of the last four seasons.
While Utah already had their franchise point guard in Deron Williams, Lowry would have made a great backup to him in his first few years in the league. Where Williams left the Jazz, Lowry would have been able to step up and take over the starting role when he would have been ready. Lowry ultimately would have been a much better player for the Jazz than Ronnie Brewer ended up being.
1. NBA Draft 2011
Utah took Enes Kanter with the 3rd pick this year. Kanter has had a solid career, with averages of 10.7 points and 6.7 rebounds. He has gotten better every year in the league and is a good offensive threat off the bench. Kanter had highs of 13.7 points and 7.8 rebounds during his time in Utah and has played over 70 games in every season (except the lockout-shortened season, when he played in all 66 games). Kanter wasn’t a great fit with the Jazz because of his horrid defense. He had a bad exit with the team, and Jazz fans are not too fond of Kanter.
Honorable Mentions: Isaiah Thomas, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson
Steal: Isaiah Thomas #60
The Jazz should have picked Kawhi Leonard. He fits the team’s mold very well, being that he is an amazing defender. Leonard was the 2014 Finals MVP, a 2016 All-Star starter and First Team member, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and All-Defensive First Team member, and a member of the 2014 All-Defensive Second Team. He was also the 2015 steals leader. Leonard has career averages of 14.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and averaged 21.2 points and 6.8 rebounds last season. He finished second in MVP voting in 2016 to Steph Curry and has become the Spurs franchise player.
This is definitely the biggest mistake for the Jazz seeing as how good Kawhi has become. Kanter didn’t fit the defensive mold the Jazz have created, while Leonard has become the best defender in the league. Leonard has become a superstar in the league, and Kanter is still not a starter. Leonard should have been the pick for sure.