Saturday, June 28, 2008

Foreign Flavor

Who are these guys? The Jazz are getting back to drafting the foreign players again. In the past, the Jazz have drafted Martin Muursepp, Kirilenko, Raul Lopez, Sasha Pavlovic, and Pavel Podkolzine. We've had a decent track record of drafting overseas (certainly, Muursepp and Podkolzine shouldn't count, since we got rid of them before they could even say "Salt Lake City"). Kirilenko though, has been the one diamond discovery. And I believe Raul Lopez could have been "something special" if it weren't for his constant knee problems.

As each day passes from this draft season, I feel more and more excited about the possiblities of our draft picks.

Kosta Koufos - 7'1" 265 C The Ohio State University

Even though Koufos' heritage comes from Greece, he couldn't be more American (he's got dual citizenship). He played high school ball in Canton, Ohio and went to Ohio State for a season. In addition, Koufos was a McDonald's All-American! How much more American can you get? Koufos's game couldn't be more European though. Koufos loves the outside jumper. He can shoot it well. But sometimes, he spends too much time out there. Crazy thing is, he has the body to be a big-time post presence. He's big, has length and is a good athlete. I guess this gives me hope that he'll be able to transition (or at least, develop) into a strong post player. My hope is that he overcomes his "Charmin Soft" reputation as he grows older and gains experience. So, what was the Jazz number that he happened to choose? #41... Dirk Nowitzki! I guess we should get used to seeing Koufos spending alot of time at the 3-point line afterall. At pick #23, you can't go wrong with a big center who has the skillset that Koufos possesses. I'm confident he won't become Luther Wright, Curtis Borchardt, or Eric Leckner. He's just too skilled.

Ante Tomic - 7'2" 225 C Croatia

To say that I know anything about Tomic would be an absolute, utter lie. From hearsay and others, it sounds like he's quite a talent, but too skinny and weak to battle in the paint. I really enjoyed this commentary on Tomic, thanks to DraftExpress:

"Ante Tomic likely enjoys the most potential among the second round guys. He really resembles Pau Gasol, minus the body. The length, the low post skills, the mid-range jumper, the court vision, even his ability to put the ball on the floor, but also his softness on defense. Still the guy is just too skinny and his body doesn’t always allow him to display his game as he would like, although he’s faring every year better in the Adriatic League. Anyway, his physical development is taking some serious time, and it will take him several years to be ready for the NBA; if he ever makes it. Still, that’s what the second round is about, and Tomic looks like a very intriguing investment. The question is, will he ever make it considering his contract situation."

If the talent is truly there, I'll personnally fly to Croatia for a "Bulk-Up Antic Tomic" campaign. It would consist of me and "Auntie" chowing down on burgers, slirping down chocolate shakes and hitting the weight room. His comparision is Pau Gasol? Are you kidding me? If he's anything close to Pau, let's get him over here! Pronto! Suffice to say...he must be a promising talent. Hopefully, he's able to beef up.

Tadija Dragicevic - 6'9" 222 F Serbia

Now, I don't think Tadija's bio is quite as glowing, even though he puts up impressive numbers in the Adriatic League (18.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.1 apg). It sounds like he can shoot the ball but doesn't provide much else for his team. DraftExpress provides their insight on Dragicevic (at the bottom of the page).

My Draft Grade: B +
We got great value in the first round with Kosta Koufos. He's a player who could develop into a solid NBA center down the road. Unfortunately, he doesn't quite meet what we need in terms of defense, toughness and aggression. At 23, however, we're not gonna find much better. There were other players available who could have been really intriguing...Chalmers, Arthur, Jordan, Batum and Greene. Yet I realize we were going for a center, and from the centers that were available, Koufos was the most skilled and talented. He was expected to go as high as Indiana at #11 and Golden State at #14. We got a solid pick at #23. I think our hope though (from all of the centers on our roster), may be that Fesenko becomes the intimidator and defensive specialist for us, since I don't think Koufos will provide it.

I think we all knew that we'd perform the "Draft and Stash" in the 2nd Round (either that, or get rid of the picks). Our roster just doesn't have the space to accommodate more players. Thus, it was good to go foreign. Tomic, in particular, is a great get at #44. Here's to the investment to he bulks up 25 pounds! I believe it was worth the risk. Tadija, on the other hand, probably won't be worth it. Who knows if he has the talent to make the League? Though, how often do players selected at #53 actually make the roster anyway? We shall see how these foreign players work out for the future.

Friday, June 27, 2008

From the Former Yugoslavia with Love

The second round isn't worth watching on TV because it lacks (A) a smug David Stern, (B) eight button suits, and (C) pronounceable names. But it looks like the Jazz got a couple of real winners in the second round.

Ante Tomic, C, Croatia: According to scouts, this guy is a 7"2' giant (2.18 metres for TCG's european fans) with long arms. That is a good sign. He also "has serious problems matching up with even subpar European level post players." That is a bad sign. Apparently Ante (pronounced "Auntie" until I'm instructed otherwise) is not "only skinny, but extremely weak." So weak in fact, that it's doubtful whether he has the ability to put on much muscle. He is not a good shot-blocker (but what 7''2' player is?) and he prefers layups over dunks, finding the latter unbecoming, apparently. And the best part is, his NBA comparison is Gregor Fucka, a man who never actually made it to the NBA. I could make some off-color jokes about Mother Fucka being so proud of the comparison to her son, but I'll refrain. If Tomic can toughen up (a huge if) he has good skills for the NBA.

Tadija Dragicevic, PF, Serbia: On's list of draftees, Tadija is one of only two players with no link accompanying his name. What does that mean? No one at thought he would be drafted. Chad "CTR" Ford has never heard of him either, but does note that he's put up great numbers in the ULEB. From what I can gather, this guy is an unathletic scorer who struggles to rebound, play defense, and is not much of a hustler. Basically, it looks like he's a 6''9' mid-range standstill jump shooter. Draftexpress estimates his chance of making an NBA lineup as "close to nonexistent." He's already 22 so his upside is quite limited. Looks like a real coup for the Jazz so late in the draft. Hopefully Kevin O'Connor has secret scouts that know something that no one else does.

If you ever see these guys on the streets of Salt Lake, Belgrade, or Zagreb, give them a warm embrace. Welcome to the Jazz family, Ante and Mr. Dragicevic!!

It Rhymes with Doofus

Just like the marvelous unicorn, the draft is a mysterious beast. In my draft primer, I listed Kosta Koufos, the Greek from Canton, Ohio as a first tier talent that would not be available when the Jazz selected at #23. So, was I pleased when the Jazz nabbed him without trading up? Hardly.

As the draft entered the middle stages, the Golden Griff and I became worried. With big men being selected at nearly every spot in the middle of the first round, we thought the Jazz were doomed to take a sure-fire big man bust. JaVale McGee or some other disaster. Then something marvelous happened.

The Wizards, in all their glory, took my gold-plated guaranteed bust-of-the-draft, McGee, at #18. Suddenly, teams were panicking that all the busts would be taken before they had a chance to get in on the fun. The next picks were, amazingly, JJ Hickson, Alexis Ajinca, and Ryan Anderson. Suddenly, we realized that with only one pick left before the Jazz, an amazing amount of talent was still left on the board: Mario Chalmers, Donte Green and a lottery-talent big man in Darrell Arthur. Then Orlando took a guard, and the Griff and I were calling for the Ghost of Double-O-Tag. Darrell Arthur for the win!!! A draft day dream come true.

Nope. Kofous. And Kosta isn't a horrible pick - it's not like they took McGee. But it's the fact that we passed over a potentially valuable rotation player in Arthur for the guy that plays the right position but will never average more than 13 minutes of playing time. The Curse of Mark Eaton struck again. Kevin O'Connor cannot can't pass up a 7''0' white guy who values family.

I cannot fathom why the Jazz would take a guy whose ceiling is "poor man's Memo" instead of Arthur, who will be a part of a 7-man rotation in two years. I just can't. The moment Stern stumbled over Kosta's name felt like the end of a heart breaking playoff loss. They were so close - it was all set up. And they blew it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What to Expect Tonight: A Run on Bigs

The draft is finally upon us, and things are just as unsettled as ever. It is no secret that the Jazz want a big man, and this draft is loaded with them - but it appears that other teams have noticed that fact as well. The Bobcats acquired Denver's pick at number 20 and are looking for a center. Basically, once Philly is on the clock at number 16, big men are going to be taken with nearly every pick as six teams between that slot and the Jazz are desperate for one (Philly, Indiana, Washington, Cleveland, Charlotte, New Jersey). The Jazz are in the unenviable position of taking whomever is left once the dust settles on the 2008 big man clearance.

First Tier: In Your Dreams

Right now, it looks like there are six big men that have no chance of lasting until 23: Kevin Love, Kosta Koufos, the Lopez twins, Anthony Randolph and Darrel Arthur. If any of these guys somehow slips past the 16th pick, they are gone by the time the rush on big men begins at number 16.

Second Tier: The Possibles

There is a second tier of big men that will not be lottery picks, but will have to be passed over by numerous interested teams to make it to the Jazz: Jason Thompson, Mareese Speights, Javale McGee, Alexis Ajinca, DeAndre Jordan, and Roy Hibbert. The Jazz obviously want Hibbert, but he may not make it through the gauntlet. McGee and Thompson have the best chance of falling into our laps.

Third Tier: Long Shots

Then there is the third tier: big guys that most likely will be available once the Jazz pick, unless they get snatched up just before we pick: JJ Hickson, Serge Ibaka, Nathan Jawai, Ante Tomic, Ryan Anderson, Devon Hardin. Anderson is suddenly a hot commodity - it's rumored that the Spurs have given him a promise at #26 - if he makes it that far. The others (except Hardin and Hickson) are foreigners that won't come to the NBA for a few years.

The Jazz Select: Whoever is Left

The Jazz are basically going to take their favorite guy in group 2 that is still on the board. Hibbert is the top choice, but I can see the Jazz being satisfied with Thompson, Jordan or Ajinca (although Ajinca has huge bust potential). Speights might duplicate Millsap too much to entice the Jazz. If all of the group 2 guys are gone, I think the Jazz either trade the pick or take a foreigner that can develop elsewhere for a couple of years. None of the wing players in the draft fit the Jazz' style, except Mario Chalmers who, I fear, will be long gone by #23.

Darkhorse: Picking for Others

If the Jazz take someone that is not on this list, it's a safe bet that they are picking for someone else. Due to the Korver trade, the Jazz cannot trade their pick before the draft. However, they are free to trade a player once selected. So, if you hear the Jazz select someone like Chris Douglas Roberts, or Nicolas Batum, don't get too excited - they are probably on their way out of town before they ever arrive.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What do I think?...

So the NBA Draft is upon us...Whoop-a-dee-doo! And what do I think? I'm thrilled! The NBA Draft allows each fan an opportunity to believe that one's team can change its future destiny with one (or two) draft picks. Perhaps primarily found on pretense, the Draft allows us fans to have hope. Is there hope out there for Jazz fans? We shall see.

You may wonder why I have a picture of OJ Mayo in this article when we ought to be talking about the Jazz. Besides the fact that I went to USC and am a Trojan fan, reports that the Miami Heat may be looking at OJ Mayo with the 2nd pick of the NBA Draft. Will they actually select Mayo over Beasley at #2? Probably not...but they just may trade out of their position in order to acquire the Mayo. The article continues to report that the Heat would make this move (and pass on Beasley), with a belief that they could lure Carlos Boozer next season, once he opts out of his contract and becomes a free agent. Should the Jazz be concerned about losing the Booz in '09? Probably so... It's an interesting draft sub-plot to a long list of draft story-lines.

The Jazz may be out of luck as it pertains to drafting the center of their choice at #23. Apparently, two trades have transpired or could transpire, which may change the fortunes of player selection. First, DraftExpress is reporting that Charlotte has acquired the #20 pick from Denver where it's hoping to land Roy Hibbert, if available. Then, has announced that Jermaine O'Neal will indeed be headed to Toronto, in exchange for Rasho Nesterovic, TJ Ford and the #17 pick. There, Indiana may also select a center. Kosta Koufas? Robin Lopez? With both of these transactions taking place, the Jazz are left with "a mighty slim" chance of landing Hibbert or Lopez if they stay put. Would the Jazz be willing to trade forward for a chance to get one of the two?

The Jazz are now in an interesting predicament. Who will be left for the Jazz to draft at 23? Here's what I think will happen...barring other crazy trades.

1. Bulls - Rose
2. Heat - Beasley (trade to someone else)
3. Wolves - Mayo
4. Sonics - BLopez
5. Grizz - Love
6. LAC - Westbrook
7. NY - Gallinari
8. Bucks - Alexander
9. Bobcats - Bayless
10. Nets - Gordon
11. Pacers - Augustin
12. Kings - Hibbert
13. Blazers - Greene
14. Warriors - Thompson
15. Suns - Rush
16. 76ers - Ajinca
17. Pacers - RLopez
18. Wizards - Randolph
19. Cavs - Koufas
20. Bobcats - Jordan
21. Nets - Arthur
22. Magic - Speights
23. Jazz - Super Mario Chalmers

Reasonable Rumor: Jason Hart Part II

Why have one Jason Hart when you can have two? At least that's what one source claims the Jazz are thinking. is reporting that the Jazz hope to draft point guard Goran Dragic with the #44 pick in the second round. The rumor makes some sense because Dragic still has two years remaining on his European contract and could be left over there to develop.

But a close look at his bio reveals why the Jazz are really interested in Dragic: according to , the best case for Goran Dragic is that he becomes the next Jason Hart. Now that's what I call potential.

Sign of a trade?

As the Deseret Morning News reports, the Jazz will not be hosting their annual Draft Day party. Could this signal that the Jazz are trading their pick? Perhaps.

In 2006, I attended the Chicago Bears' Draft Day party at Soldier Field. The Bears had their first pick near the end of the first round, and the jubilant crowd passed the time with gross, over-priced hot dogs and plenty of adult beverages. After waiting for nearly 4 hours through the 1st round, the Bears' pick finally came. A hush fell over the crowd as the Commissioner approached the podium to announce... the Bears had traded their pick for future draft picks. A near-riot broke out as the carefree crowd suddenly felt their Saturday had been stolen. The normally fiercely loyal Chicago fans were saying things about the Bears organization that would have made Papa Bear George Halas weep. The trade itself was not a bad move for the Bears, but the anti-climatic nature of the trade made it a sad day in Chicago.

Could Larry H. be trying to avoid a similar PR nightmare? Or are we at TCG becoming too obsessed with tomorrow's draft? Maybe and impossible.

Too Many Ballers

Today is the calm before the storm that is the NBA draft. Get ready for 8 button suits, top hats, and awkward alone-time in the green room time for some unlucky draftee (DeAndre Jordan?).

The Jazz currently have 13 roster slots filled for next year, and CJ Miles is likely to get some sort of offer sheet that takes the 14th spot. That leaves 1 spot for a rookie or free agent. The problem is, the Jazz have 3 draft picks. Given the fact that the first-rounder gets guaranteed money, it would appear that the two second rounders have absolutely zero chance of making the team, barring a trade or buy-out.

What this all means is that the Jazz have to make some sort of deal - otherwise they are just wasting those second round picks. Here are some options:

  1. Trade the first round pick - This would seem to be the obvious decision. Getting rid of this pick leaves that last roster slot open in case the Jazz want to pursue a free agent in the off-season, or sign one of the second-rounders. This would effectively allow the two second-rounders to fight for the one remaining slot. Realistically the Jazz aren't going to get much for the pick - likely a future first rounder from a team drafting in the mid to late twenties.

  2. Trade the second round picks - If the Jazz keep the first rounder, it doesn't make much sense to draft after that. But how much value are we going to get in return for picks 44 and 53? Not much. We could probably package the two picks for one future second-rounder from a team with empty roster slots. Alternatively, we could try and move up in the draft by sending all three of our picks for a slightly higher first round choice in this draft. The Magic and Nets pick in front of us and have roster slots to fill, but it's unlikely that they'd be willing to let the Jazz leapfrog them and take the player they want just to get a couple of crappy second-rounders.

  3. Get rid of all of the picks - We could try and package all three picks for a future pick with some value. Perhaps a team like Toronto (where Jermaine O'Neal is rumored to be going) wants a bunch of young kids in this draft in exchange for their first round pick next year. New Jersey, Miami, and Orlando also have room in their roster for three rookies.

  4. Go Foreign - Of course, the Jazz could just use some of the picks on foreign players that aren't ready/willing to come to the NBA yet. Some first round big mean (Ante Tomic, Serge Ibaka, Nathan Jawai) fit into that category as well as some second round options (the turkish big men).
  5. Suck it up - The Jazz could just draft three players and basically flip the bird to the two second rounders. Maybe this puts a little pressure on CJ to go to the Revue. This is stupid, but it may be what transpires tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Final Workout

The DesNews is reporting that the Jazz will conduct their final pre-draft workout today. Only two participants were mentioned:

Trent Plaisted, C/PF, BYU: No stranger to basketball fans along the Wasatch front. Plaisted is blessed with good athleticism and quickness for a guy his size, and he benefits from being a lefty. But his post up game is limited and his foul shooting is horrendous. There are also serious concerns about his length. In college he was able to use his athleticism to beat people, which won't be the case in the pros. I can see the Jazz drafting him just to appease the die-hards from Utah county, before letting Trent make some cash in Europe.

Steven Hill, C, Arkansas: Now we're talking! I watched Hill play a couple of times and I can say, without a doubt, that he is the best emo big man available in this year's draft. Hill is stone-cold daft punk: he has absolutely no offensive game, and he doesn't even pretend. He just uses his athleticism to patrol the paint looking for blocks, hard fouls, and cheap wine. Let's get this guy as our enforcer in the second round!

UPDATE: Dick Harmon is reporting that Trent's workout went swimmingly, except that he barfed at the end and the Jazz therefore stopped the workout early. Dick also tells us that, tragically, over the last two weeks, Trent was only able to spend one weekend with his wife. Whereas, I'm sure when Trent's NBA career is in full swing he'll see the misses every weekend.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Please Don't Draft...

JaVale McGee

At 7 feet tall, he only averaged 14 points and 6 rebounds a game in the the big-man starved WAC. And what's more, according to SL Trib writer Ross Siler, JaVale's got a "stage mom" who could give David Archuleta's dad a run for his money:
"The Jazz will hold their last workout before the draft on Tuesday. One player who isn't expected to attend is JaVale McGee. The Nevada center's situation is unique to say the least. He signed with an agent who works for Eugene Parker, better known as one of the NFL's top agents. But McGee's mother is the one who's supposedly calling all the shots. Pamela McGee played on the U.S. Olympic team in 1984 as well as two years in the WNBA but apparently won't let her son work out for teams drafting outside the lottery. This even though McGee is now projected to fall to the Jazz at No. 23 by Her bigger concern is said to be getting her son ready to play as a rookie than where he goes in the draft. The NBA: Where mom happens."


Trent Plaisted

We already tried bringing in an overrated stiff from BYU - remember Hafa - and it didn't work. Please don't make us go through it again.
Let's just hope our old buddy Chad Ford has this one all wrong.

The Sunday Six

Six more Jazz workouts on Sunday:

Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown: Should the NBA just assign Hibbert to the Jazz? It seems inevitable. Everyone knows that the Jazz want Hibbert and Hibbert wants to play on the Jazz. Few other teams with picks ahead of the Jazz want him (except for possibly Cleveland and New Jersey). Want more evidence that the Jazz are taking him? Larry H. said last week that if the Jazz had Mark Eaton last year, they would have taken the championship. Hibbert is the closest thing in the draft to Big Mark. So what's not to like? Nothing, as long as you're happy drafting a 7''2' Jarron Collins.

Alexis Ajinca, C, France. Check out the guns on this guy! The young Frenchman has length to spare, or as they say in France, "lenf." His ceiling is Kevin Garnett in Calvin Booth's body. Ajinca is an intriguing pick, and is projected all over the board from late lottery to late first round. I wouldn't mind taking a risk that Le Petite Alex bulks up a little and becomes a rich man's Booth, but I don't see Jerry Sloan passing on Hibbert, a four-year letterman at a U.S. college, for a skinny French project.

Serge Ibaka, PF, Congo. If you do nothing more today, please, please, for the love of all that is holy, check out Ibaka's highlight tape. It looks like it was filmed during Ibaka's stint in the West Jordan recreational basketball league. You can see Serge take on some of the shortest, whitest, slowest players ever to appear on an NBA draft highlight reel. It is obvious to my eyes that Serge could have started for the Murray Spartans. Also, it features extensive footage of the block drill.

Longar Longar, PF/C, Oklahoma. (on left in photo). The Sudanese big man is a great athlete and a hard worker. He is a monster on the boards, but still needs to bulk up for the NBA. Unlike a lot of African bigs (Desagna?) he has pretty decent hands as well. Scouts worry, however, that he may have maxed out his potential - he's already 25. Likely a second rounder, if drafted at all. Upside: his name has endless that's-what-she-said potential.

Sean Singletary, PG, Virginia. Undersized point guard who is known for his "razzle-dazzle." Does that sound like a Sloan guy? I didn't think so. ESPN's Hollinger predicts he will be a huge bust - even for a second rounder. Chad Ford, however, claims that he is a "Kevin O'Conner favorite." I don't see it. If the Jazz wanted a 5''11' point guard why did they let Dee Brown leave? Oh yeah, because he partied.

Kyle Weaver, SG, Washington St. A shooting guard with great length who can also play a little PG, if needed. I'm intrigued by Weaver because he has great athleticism and his numbers were muted somewhat in college because he played in a defensive-oriented program with a motion offense. He could really blossom in the NBA. However, how many weak shooting two-guards can an NBA contender have on a roster?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wild Complexity and Intrigue

John Hollinger of offers his analysis of the NBA draft, predicting how each prospect will fare in the NBA. He bases his findings on regression analysis, comparing each of the prospects on factors such as player stats, opponent competition, and physical abilities. His discoveries are surprising! He's definitely not impressed with Anthony Randolph, projecting that he'll most certainly bust. "Between me and the scouts, one of us will look like an idiot."

Ian Thomsen of CNNSI provides some draft wisdom with his top 5 darkhorses and wild draft rumors. Thomsen lists Robin Lopez as his #1 darkhorse, predicting he'll hit the late lottery when all is said and done (on the contrary, Hollinger rates Lopez as a player who shouldn't be taken in the 1st Round). Who do you believe? It's crazy to hear how Golden State is all over the board regarding who they like. Now, it's Jason Thompson who's rumored to be Golden State's golden boy. Donte Greene could go top 10 or could fall all the way into the 20's. This draft couldn't be any deeper, and full of wild disagreement. Every team has their own preference. Who do the Jazz prefer? I guess we'll find out.
Check out Yahoo sports to see all of the prospect videos.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Olympic Update

According to today's Deseret News, KTVX News recently cut 25% of its workforce and Tracy Aviary announced a "major new project." I know, I know. Fascinating stuff. However, you'll have to go to another blog for more on those breaking stories, as I'm only interested in the article about the men's Olympic basketball team. Chauncey Billups said today he doesn't want to play on the team, which apparently makes D Will even more of a lock than he already was (it truly baffles me that other point guards besides Williams and Paul were even in the running, but I guess they at least had to give Kidd and Billups a shot). The Booze, as most of us probably already know, is also nearly a sure thing.

I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this. I'm pumped for some good, international Olympic ball and I'm glad two Jazzmen will represent our country. On the other hand, Boozer has had way too many season altering injuries in his career and I wouldn't mind D Will taking a breather and coming back strong next season. At some level I feel like both of those guys only have so many career games in them and I'd rather see them used up for the Jazz. Also, if some random Croat or New Zealander takes a cheap shot at one of our boys. . . so help me, but I will strongly consider never giving said country a penny of my devalued American tourist money.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Top 5... Draft Tidbits

1. Draft Unpredictability
It seemed before last year's draft, we could tell who was going to fall where. As a Jazz fan, I knew that if Morris Almond was on the board, the Jazz would take him. And certainly enough, that's what happened. The year prior was a little more complicated. Most fans believed that the Jazz would draft either JJ Redick or Saer Sene. With our luck, Ronnie Brewer slid to our spot. Both Sene and Redick were already gone (and thankgoodness!...because both players have been downright, disappointing, 2nd-year busts). We'll see who might slide this year. Players who seem to be falling into that category are Javale McGee, DeAndre Jordan, Darrell Arthur, and possibly Donte Greene. This year, I really have no clue what the Jazz are thinking. The possibilities seem endless.
2. Beware: The French Invasion
France has produced some nice NBA talent over the years from Tony Parker and Ronny Turiaf to Boris Diaw and Mickel Pietrus. This year's draft seems to have a couple more highly regarded prospects in Nicolas Batum (pronounced Nic-o-la Bat-ooom) and Alexis Ajinca (pronounced Al-ex-ee A-jin-sa). Both players are long and rangy athletes at their respective positions with incredible run'n'jump ability. Ajinca, in particular, is incredibly intriguing. He's 7-1 and 240 pounds (extremely light and skinny), but moves around the floor like a gazelle. He can move, block shots and hit open ones. Is he strong enough to hold his position in the paint? Apparently, he's steadily moving up the draft board due to his workouts (perhaps even past the Jazz). '00Tag-License to Thrill' must be proud of his Frenchmen! Oui! Oui!

3. Centers Galore
Even with the apparent 'word' that Hibbert and Ajinca are making good impressions (according to Chad Ford and DraftExpress), it also means other Centers may not be performing so well. There's just an abundance of Centers in the draft, moving up and down the draft board. That's a good thing for the Jazz. Some Centers may be more ready than others, but there's a lot of talent out there. Just to keep everyone's mind open to the possibilities, here are the many names: DeAndre Jordan, Javale McGee (young,raw,athletic...projects), Kosta Koufas (dual threat), Roy Hibbert (the experienced), Robin Lopez (defense-oriented), Alexis Ajinca (multi-talented), Jason Thompson (offense-oriented), Nathan Jawai (unknown) and DeVon Hardin (athletic).

4. Who's Up Ahead?
When it comes to the draft, there are always teams who are seeking the same position need as the Jazz. Who might these teams be? The Toronto Raptors are definitely interested in a Center at #17. Hibbert, Lopez and DeAndre Jordan must be high on their board. Golden State at #14 may choose a skilled Center for their uptempo system (Koufas?). Cleveland could go big, Denver might go one or the other and New Jersey is definitely seeking a Center with one of their two 1st Round picks.

5. 'Super Mario' Chalmers
The more I think about it, Mario Chalmers would seem like the perfect backup point guard to Deron Williams. Chalmers is a winner (as evidenced by his big shot and championship game performance), plays intense defense (2.5 steals per game), shoots a high percentage (51% FG, 46% 3pt), and knows how to play with exceptionally talented teammates. He's not a glory-hog...he just wants to win. I believe the Jazz really like Ronnie Price as the backup (and I do too), but Chalmers might be the perfect profile-fit for the Fisher/Eisley player of our future. Don't be surprised if the Jazz role the dice on someone other than a Center.

Back to School

Yesterday was decision day for underclassmen without an agent. A number of minor players decided to return (including BYU strongman Lee Cummard), while some likely first rounders decided to "go" to school for another year.

The announcements won't affect the Jazz much, as most of the players exiting the draft that would have been first rounders were guards and, as we all know, it is the Jazz' destiny to draft big. However, one of my personal Jazz hopes, Chase Budinger, is headed back to the University of Arizona. Here's a list of all the players who made decisions yesterday.

On the draft front, NBALDS expert Chad Ford (whom I outed) shook up his mock draft and finally has the Jazz taking someone other than Roy Hibbert. He has the Jazz taking Nevada big man JaVale McGee. To which I say: screw BYU-Hawaii assistant professor Chad Ford! McGee absolutely screams "Borchardt-type-bust." If the Jazz take McGee there may need to be an investigation into Scott Layden's role with the team.

But, here's the silver lining: with all the workouts happening, there are a couple of big men that are a now projected within range of the Jazz' selection who were projected as lottery picks a week ago (don't you love scouting!).

DeAndre Jordan, Texas A&M: Unreal athlete who thrives on rebounding and put-backs. He has the potential to be a dominant physical presence, but he has to develop some semblance of basketball skills. I saw him play once, and was underwhelmed - for someone with so many athletic gifts, he is often invisible on a lackluster team. He is extremely raw offensively and will be one of the worst foul shooters in the NBA as soon as he takes the court. But if you're drafting 23rd and somehow this beast falls into your lap, you have to take him.

Darrell Arthur, Kansas: A few weeks ago everyone was listing him in the top 8 picks and now Chad Ford has him at 18? I doubt he drops that far. But if he does, this one's a no brainer. Arthur is much more polished than Jordan (DeAndre that is) and is also an elite-athlete power forward type. Downside: He'd have to lose the double-zero in the NBA when the Jazz retire Ostertag's number.

Monday, June 16, 2008

You Know This Guy in the Hospital

ESPN is reporting that Jazz owner Larry H. Miller is in the hospital with "complications related to diabetes." No word yet on what those complications were.

So many jazz hospitalizations this summer: Millsap's thumb, Korver's foot, and now this, the biggest blow of them all. Best wishes from TCG to the Jazz' best softball player.

Motown Rumor Mill

The radio stations in Detroit have been abuzz with speculation that our own Carlos Boozer might be coming to town with a couple of his Jazz pals. As far as I can tell, there are two possible trades being discussed in the media.

Here is the first from

Detroit trades: RIP Hamilton Jason Maxiell #29 Utah trades: Carlos Boozer Ronnie Brewer

Why for Detroit? They get younger. They get a legit 20 and 10 big man in Boozer. Boozer would average 12+ Rebounds per game on Detroit. They get a solid young SG who's athletic and can defend. Would be a great SG to pair with Stuckey for a future backcourt. Sheed can cover up Boozer's sub par D.

Why for Utah? Boozer is a poor defender. He was outplayed by Scola and Landry in round one, and been outplayed big time by Gasol and Odom. Boozer's D makes Okur look like a defensive stud. Boozer's playoffs have been sup par and the Jazz have done better with him on the bench than playing. They have a solid young PF waiting in the wings in Paul Millsap. Jason Maxiell will also be great for them and they'd have a great you duo of PFs who can both play defense. Rip gives them a legit 20 PPG scorer and ton of big game experience.

And here is the second, courtesy of

2. Utah's Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer, Jarron Collins and Morris Almond for Hamilton, Prince and Arron Afflalo

As a contender without the right pieces to get over the top, the Jazz are in a similar boat as the Pistons. Could this swap help both teams?

Utah would get two veteran wing players to shore up its two weakest positions on the floor. The Jazz would lose an All-Star in Boozer, but the move would allow them to shift Andrei Kirilenko back to the 4, where he thrived before Boozer joined the team -- and they have Paul Millsap to back him up. Also, Boozer has an early termination option after the upcoming season. I think the Jazz are concerned that he'll bolt Utah for a bigger market.

Detroit would be giving up two key wings but getting back a low-post scorer and rebounder in Boozer, something the team has needed the past few years. Stuckey would step in as the starting 2 guard. Brewer would give the Pistons a long defender who can play both the 2 and 3, and Almond showed a lot of promise in the D-League last year. The Jazz would still need to find someone to play the 3, but they have trade bait like Jason Maxiell or Antonio McDyess to make that happen.

This is a trade that would shake up the core of both teams while allowing them to compete for an NBA championship next year.

What’s your take? Would you pull the trigger? Does this really make either team better?

What Could Have Been. . .

As this year's Finals wrap up, I thought it an appropriate time to remember the Jazz's back to back appearances in the NBA's most hallowed series. ESPN's numbers guru John Hollinger (not to be confused with that same company's hoops columnist and closet Mormon Chad Ford) recently used some statistical wizardry to rank and compare all of the teams to win an Eastern or Western Conference playoff series since the ABA merged with the NBA.

His work lends credence to what many Jazz fans have often suspected. For starters, the '97 and '98 Bulls were damn good: according to Hollinger, the 5th and 12th best teams ever, respectively. Drawing them was some real bad luck for our boys from Utah, because as far as Finals teams go, Stockton, Malone & Co. were particularly good those two years. In fact, as many in the Salt Lake Valley have long maintained, it appears that the '97 Jazz were the best team to never win a title. That squad is ranked as the 24th best team of all-time, won 64 games during the regular season (the most by a team that didn't win it all), and were only outscored by the Bulls -- who, remember, were the 5th best team ever -- by four points over six games in their Finals matchup.

But before all of you Jerry Sloan lovers go crying to your mommies about how unfair it was that the Jazz had to play the Bulls at the peak of their powers, ponder this. In 1995 the Jazz had homecourt advantage in the opening round with Houston and led the concluding Game 5 at the Delta Center at halftime. But after approximately 72 missed three pointers by David "I'll have another shot of vodka with those two beers" Benoit, our guys were home for the summer and the Rockets were cruising on to a title. The real punch to the gut? That Houston squad was only the 45th best Finals team out of the 60 ranked, and their opponent that year, the Orlando Magic, was 46th. Ah, what could have been. . .

Saturday, June 14, 2008

6 More

The Deseret News is reporting that 6 more prospects will work out for the Jazz on Sunday. The six players who will participate in the workout are Marreese Speights from Florida, Jason Thompson from Rider, Ryan Anderson from Cal, DJ White from Indiana, Ronald Steele from Alabama, and Johnnie Bryant from the U (he's filling in for Swedish guard Rudy Mbemba who can't make it). Each of the four big guys are intriguing candidates to possibly take at pick #23.
1. Marreese Speights F/C 6-10 Florida
Speights might be the most heralded of the group from a talent standpoint. Most prognostications have him going anywhere from the late lottery to mid-first round. He's got real potential with good athleticism, length and skill. He's very raw offensively though, and has the bust factor playing against him, because of his young age, inexperience and "reported" indifference. I can't see him falling to the Jazz at 23. However, the draft is deep enough that anything can happen. Speights is more of a power forward than a center. So I believe the Jazz could be looking for a true center with extreme length and defensive capability which Speights doesn't really possess. Yet, if he drops, you gotta believe the Jazz would be serious about taking him. With Millsap and Boozer most likely up for contract renewals after next season, it could be nice to have another PF in place.
2. Jason Thompson F/C 6-11 Rider
We've discussed Thompson already on TCG, but he's worth mentioning some more. Thompson intrigues me, because he was so dominant at Rider. Granted, Rider's a smaller school, but anyone with that size and ability must get some serious consideration. Like I said before, he's the darkhorse candidate in this draft. He has the ability to play both center and power forward, can stretch the defense with his outside shooting and can block some shots (2.7 blocks which ought to mean he can play some defense, right?). It should be interesting to hear how he performs in these workouts against tough competition.
3. DJ White F 6-9 Indiana
White had a terrific college career at Indiana. To me, he seems like a Paul Millsap type who may have been underappreciated in college, but could really turn out to be a nice pro. You can never have too many Millsaps on your team. I doubt the Jazz will take him at 23. There seems to be other prospects which meet the Jazz needs. Though maybe he falls into the 2nd round for the Jazz to take later?
4. Ryan Anderson F 6-10 Cal
Anderson posted some serious stats in college (21.1 pts, 9.9 rbs) as a sophomore. He may or may not be in the draft. He'll stay in if he gets good feedback from teams in the first round, otherwise he'll go back to college. His decision to stay or go will come on Monday. Like DJ White, the Jazz will probably look in another direction. He doesn't necessarily fill a need. Although, you can never have enough shooters on the team. That's what Anderson does really well (stretch the floor). On that level, Anderson would fit nicely on the Jazz.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

From NBA Jam to Roster Jam

One of the coolest games ever to grace the video game world was NBA Jam. For those that grew up in the '90's, NBA Jam ruled the basement, the quickie mart, and the weekends. That game was full-on addictive. It gave a new meaning to "time-consuming." I remember playing that game for hours on end, until our night was completely over. Who can ever forget the phrase..."He's on Fire!"

If we were considering this year's Utah Jazz team with the ability to populate the Jazz roster in NBA Jam, which players would make up the top-4 slots? My quickest thought would be Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur. Can you imagine how versatile that line-up would be? Williams would be the constant "no rest" player, never subbing out, while the others would provide their particular niches; Boozer playing the boards and postgame (dunks), Okur shooting the three-ball and Kirilenko running the break, providing showtime slams and stuffs. Unstoppable!

On a virtually unrelated note, how do the Utah Jazz manueavor out of the roster "JAM" where they currently find themselves? Some of us might actually think that the Jazz are in a healthy roster situation, with options and possibilities a plenty. But, I believe we're overloaded with players that shouldn't belong in our top-15, providing player combinations that just don't add up(ie...6-deep wings, no post defenders, and excessive deadweight).

The challenge the Jazz face this off-season is trimming off the "FAT". We need to get a leaner, meaner roster! And we actually must 'cut away the fat' before we 'bring on the muscle'. Currently, the Jazz have 13 players under contract. The league limit is 15. CJ Miles brings that number to 14 if the Jazz decide to give him a qualifying offer sheet. In addition, the draft is around the corner with the Jazz holding 3 draft picks in the 1st and 2nd rounds. How will they be able to carry all of these players? They won't! And can't. If the roster stays the same, the Jazz won't have the available movement to venture into the free agent market or select a draft pick. So, what should we do?

A) Trade 2 for 1 or 3 for 1
Thank goodness for expiring contracts! Jarron Collins and Jason Hart ought to be the first passengers sent packing...even if it means trading for another worthless expiring. At least it's two for one! We need the roster flexibility. Perhaps the Jazz could send away a young asset along with these two bench-warmers, in order to sweeten the pot. Maybe a sign-and-trade of Miles? Or offer up young Morris Almond? In addition, I'd rather have young guys with potential than players with zero production and added age. With roster flexibility, we may have the chance to land a solid vet from the free agent market.
(For some reason, I don't think the Jazz will trade the likes of Warrior Matt Harpring or Sweet Shooting Kyle Korver, meaning there may not be ample opportunities for player trades.)

B) Draft and Stash
This concept is probably more suitable for 2nd round picks. The reason being is because foreign players tend to increase their stock playing overseas and likely receive higher salaries in consequence to their added production. The Euro contracts usually end up being higher and more desirable than late-1st round, automatic NBA pay scale contracts. Thus, it's better to choose foreign players in the 2nd round. Who are the potential 2nd round foreign prospects that could be around for the Jazz? Thanks to, here are some options:

  • Omer Asik - big, 7-0 Turkish center with length and athleticism. Blocks shots.

  • Nikola Pekovic - powerful, 6-11 forward who's a scoring machine.

  • Goran Dragic - 6-4 point guard...could become Deron's backup someday

  • Semih Erden - another huge 7-1 Turkish center. Perhaps Memo could use some company.

6 More Players Workout

Here are the six players that worked out for the Jazz yesterday. They all look stellar.

Mike Green - PG, Butler.

Tyrone Brazelton - PG, W. Kent.

Nathan Jawai - PF/C, Australia.

Devon Hardin - C, Cal.

Sasha Kaun - C, Kansas.

Brian Butch - C, Wisconsin.

I know nothing about the two point guards. They look like camp invitee types. Devon Hardin and Nathan Jawai are the only guys with first round potential and have been previously analyzed by the draft guru.

But the other two bigs look like money in the bank. Sasha Kaun has a name that screams "WNBA foreigner with upside." His should be a familiar story to Jazz fans - a graduating senior that rarely started for the Jayhawks hoping to get big minutes with the Jazz. Kaun is a high energy guy, however, unlike his idol Ostertag. Plus, it looks like he's got a great feel for Microsoft Word.

I only saw Butch play once - in the NCAAs. He is an oaf, but a large one. He could be our answer on defense to Memphis' Big Country Reeves and Portland's Arvydas Sabonis.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Drip, Drip, Drip

Tim Donaghy's drip-drip-drip revelations have been covered before on TCG, and his latest revelation, that specific games were influenced and specific NBA players were targeted/favored, has been generating a lot of news lately. The biggest piece of news, however, is the relative shrug of the shoulders of NBA fans. That is to say, "so what else is new?" While the league continues with its non-denial denials, it has a major credibility problem on its hands, and that problem is not any greater than it is in SLC, where Jazz fans have forever felt slighted because of Utah's small market and uncool reputation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Who I Like

OK. I've complained about the Jazz' drafting of inept big men to the point of silliness. Now, for a little sunshine peeking through those clouds :) Here are some guys that I would like to see in a Jazz uniform next season. Note: I limited my choices to players with a reasonable chance of falling to number 23 in the draft (sorry Joe Alexander and Brandon Rush). Thus, I'm only talking about players picked later than number 18 in ESPN insider (and possible mormon?) Chad Ford's mock draft.

1. Robin Lopez, Stanford, C. (Projected: 20) You may be asking yourself, "What's the difference between the Jazz' current lesser-half-of-Stanford-twin-center-duo and the modern lesser-half-of-Stanford-twin-center-duo?" There are two differences: (1) Robin actually likes basketball and is athletic; (2) Robin is dating Michelle Wie! Similarities between Collins and Lopez: they both love Mariah Carey and Disney movies.

2. Chase Budinger, Arizona, SG. (Projected: 21) Super-athletic, sweet shooter, tall, white: why, this guy screams Jazzman (except for the athlete part). The knock on him is that he's a little passive and doesn't dominate like he should, but in the pros he wouldn't need to. He'd be like Kyle Korver with more dunks and less Jesus.

3. Mario Chalmers, Kansas, PG/SG. (Projected: 22) I love tough, rugged defenders on the perimeter, something the Jazz haven't had since . . . . .

4. Nicholas Batum, France, SF. (Projected: 25) What's not to love about a super skinny Frenchman? Screw small ball, the Jazz could throw him on the court with Kirilenko and play thin ball. He seems like a Kirilenko-type risk: athletic foreigner with endless arms, great hops, and a shaky jumpshot. I'd take that risk again.

5. Bill Walker, Kansas St, SF. (Projected: 29) He would have been a high lotto pick right out of high school, but hurt his knee in college and now everyone is afraid of him. He would really increase our athleticism and scoring ability, although Jerry would make him shave the braids.

Coaching Continuity

It appears the Utah Jazz coaching staff will remain intact for the 2008-09 season. As everyone expected, Jerry Sloan made it known that he would be returning to the bench. The uncertainty that did exist was laid to rest as Phoenix announced the hiring of Terry Porter as head coach, and the Chicago Tribune reported that Phoenix Assistant GM Vinny Del Negro has been offered the head job for the Bulls, which he has reportedly accepted. Jazz assistants Phil Johnson and Tyrone Corbin were interviewed for the Suns' gig, and Corbin was also interviewed for the Chicago position.

While Corbin demonstrated some understandable disappointment in not landing as a head coach, his loss is the Jazz's gain. Consistency and continuity at the coaching level is one Utah's great strengths, and having everyone back again for next year should increase the chances of a title run.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Draft Guru Presents..."The Big Men"

On the heels of a fabulous post by the Crotty Kid, the Draft Guru wishes to offer some gems of draft wisdom regarding the draft’s big men. After some discussion about “The Curse of Mark Eaton”, I’d like to provide some players who might just fill the shoes of the Quiet Giant. Because really, the dreaded curse of “Big Mark” will definitely befall upon the Jazz. Right?

As Dark Helmet was approached by Colonel Sanders in their search for the princess, in the great movie Spaceballs he was questioned, "Don't you have the Schwartz, too?" Dark Helmet then replied, "Naw, he got the upside, I got the downside. See, there's two sides to every Schwartz." In like manner, with this group of big men, there are two sides to each player: the upside and the downside. And with the Jazz picking at 23, there’s probably going to be a bit more of the downside than we'd like.

So without further ado, I give you the big men of the 2008 draft:

1. Roy Hibbert 7’2” 275 C Georgetown
Upside: size, length, inside presence, good skills, good hands, coordinated, solid passer
Downside: slow, mechanical, soft
Analysis: I think Hibbert gets a bad rap. He’s better than what many people give him credit for. He has the ability to be like Ostertag with his length in the paint, though he’s much more skilled on the offensive end of the floor. I believe he’s better than Collins already. He could fit in well with the team. Remember when Hibbert outplayed Greg Oden in the Final Four, scoring 19 points and 6 rebounds? He’s pretty good. I have a feeling he’ll be gone by the time the Jazz pick.

2. Robin Lopez 7’0” 255 C Stanford
Upside: toughness, tenacity, length, agility, defense
Downside: low skill level, no offense/post moves, lack of quickness
Analysis: There are more Stanford twins! Lopez specializes in defense and that’s what we need. Opponents didn’t dare come into the paint with the Lopez brothers in there. Both on the ball and off the ball, he can guard and block shots. He’s limited offensively and somewhat raw skill-wise. Is he better than Fess? Perhaps defensively he’s better. He could be good for the Jazz because he doesn’t demand the ball.

3. Jason Thompson 6’11” 250 PF/C Rider
Upside: size, skill level, rebounding, agility, shooting ability, versatility, blocks
Downside: low level of play (adjustment?), soft, defensive intensity, lateral quickness
Analysis: This guy is the darkhorse. I saw him play once, and he scored 26 points, had 24 rebounds and 5 blocks against Siena (who, mind you, beat Vandy in the NCAA tourney…decent squad). He’s got all of the skills. He just hasn’t played against great competition. He’s a decent athlete who moves around really well. Is he tenacious enough to be a defender for us? 20 pts, 12 rbs, 2.7 blks average…not bad numbers!

4. Javale McGee 7’0” 240 C Nevada
Upside: athletic, long, talented, explosive
Downside: inexperienced, raw skills, skinny, lacks strength
Analysis: McGee has the greatest bust potential. He could go higher in the draft just based upon athleticism and developing skills. He’s not proven and will take time to develop. He hasn’t done squat in college. At least Patrick O’Bryant led his college team to the Sweet 16…

5. Kosta Koufas 7’0” 240 C Ohio State
Upside: size, versatility, shooting, skills, agility
Downside: defensive intensity, toughness, strength, post presence
Analysis: He plays like Memo. Loves to shoot the 3-ball and hang out on the perimeter. He’s not the greatest athlete around the hoop but he’s got skills and talent. I think we already have one of him.

6. DeVon Hardin 6’11” 240 PF/C California
Upside: incredible athlete, strength, explosiveness inside, defense, low maintenance
Downside: hoop IQ, desire/motivation, bad hands & post game, tenacity
Analysis: This guy really makes you frustrated. He’s got all of the physical abilities. It would seem like he ought to dominate his competition, but he doesn’t. In fact, he disappears a lot of the time and loses focus and intensity. He would probably drive Jazz fans crazy. But, if he only played a few minutes each game for defensive purposes, he could probably be effective.

7. Nathan Jawai 6’10” 270 PF/C Australia
Upside: athletic, strong, good hands, touch, footwork
Downside: defensive focus, lateral quickness, unproven, length
Analysis: He’s a complete unknown to me. He seems to have some real upside and ability based upon what I’ve seen on Youtube. He’s an unproven talent. Some compare him to a poor man’s Elton Brand.

8. Alexis Ajinca 7’1” 240 PF/C France
Upside: length, athleticism, defense, shotblocking
Downside: strength, slight frame, inexperience, toughness
Analysis: Another mystery man in my estimation. He must have serious potential if he’s being considered for the first round. It seems like he’d be a long term project. Perhaps the Jazz wouldn’t take on another project.

The Curse of Mark Eaton

Now that Hibbert has come to town and expressed his desire to continue in the great tradition of Jazz centers, I thought it would be nice to take a stroll through memory lane. While Pasty Gangster feels that the Jazz could do worse than draft the Hoya big man, I think history should be the judge of that.

Let me start by stating two facts:

(1) The NBA over-values centers: the reward of landing a franchise big man is so great, that teams will draft young centers well before their talent indicates they should be taken. Centers with real potential do not stick around in the draft.

(2) Since 1984, the Jazz have had a top 14 selection only once: Deron Williams.

Logic, then, indicates that by the time the Jazz draft, all the good big men are gone. Sure, guys like Boozer and Ben Wallace have slipped through the entire first round, but such slippage is usually due to a perceived lack of NBA size.

However, the Jazz believe that they can beat the system, convinced that the one year that a Duncan, or an Andrew Bynum, or even a Joel Przybilla slips to the bottom of the first round is going to be the present year. All of this wishful thinking has to do with the 1983 draft. To the casual jazz fan, that draft is best remembered not for the Jazz' selection of Dominique Wilkins, but for the 4th Round selection of a 7''4' auto mechanic from UCLA. Big Mark Eaton strolled into town and became the fulcrum in the Stockton-Malone success slingshot. Hell, he was even an all-star! And he loves to cook!

But the Jazz' history of drafting bigs since 1983 has not been a ringing endorsement of the scouting ability of the Jazz front office. So, without further ado, a history of every player the Jazz have drafted in the first round since 1983 that was at least 6''10. Lest we ever forget:

1988: Eric Leckner, 17th overall from Wyoming. To be fair, you used to be able to get a decent center on the cheap from the old Western Athletic Conference (WAC): Theo Ratliff, Greg Kite, Michael Cage. But the warning signs on this guy were obvious - a white guy from Inglewood, CA that played college ball in Laramie? After two lackluster seasons with the Jazz, Leckner became a true journeyman, playing for 8 teams in 7 years. Draft Grade: D+

1993: Luther Wright, 18th overall from Seton Hall. Let's just say this - in a conservative state like Utah, drafting a bi-polar crack addict is a tough sell. However, like many stories of former Jazz mistakes, he has found Jesus. Draft Grade: F

1995: Greg Ostertag, 28th overall from Kansas. Did you know that Double-O tag is fourth all-time on the career games played list for the Jazz? That's something, right? As a four-year letterman for the Jayhawks, Ostertag averaged a paltry 7 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. Surprisingly, his numbers were lower in the NBA. However, since Ostertag was actually almost close to being a poor man's replacement for an NBA center, this pick at least resulted in a rotation player. Draft Grade: B

1996: Martin Muursepp, 25th overall from Estonia. Who? Exactly. But the Heat wanted him, so they gave us the pick that became DeShawn Stevenson. Deshawn, for those who choose not to remember, used to start for the Jazz. Draft Grade: B+

1998: Nazr Mohammed, 29th overall from Kentucky. Wait, he was a jazzman? You bet. For a few hours, at least. We dished him to Philly, for the pick that became Quincy Lewis. This one actually hurts though, as Nazr is a decent NBA center who can give you 15 minutes a game (instead of Collins). While Quincy Lewis blew. Draft Grade: D

2002: Curtis Borchardt, 18th overall, Stanford. The Jazz actually didn't draft him, they traded their pick, Ryan Humphries PLUS cash to get him. Unlike the typical Jazz b.s. narrative about a big man underachieving in college but destined to turn it on in the pros, Borchardt was actually good in college. He slipped to the Jazz because he had terrible, stinky, injury-prone feet. In three years with the Jazz he played the equivalent of one season (83 games). Draft Grade: D

2003: Pavel Podkolzine, 21st overall, Russia. The big 7''5' Russian was instantly traded to Dallas for a pick that the Jazz later included in the trade to Portland that in turn netted Deron. Pavel "played" for two seasons with the Mavs while picking up Deron has been a nice thing for the Jazz. Draft Grade: A.

So, what has this little history lesson taught us? Drafting for size at number 23 is a total waste. The Jazz should either (1) trade the pick, (2) take an international player, or (3) take a flier on a swingman that drops. Do not draft any of the following: Roy Hibbert, Javale McKee, Kosta Koufos, or DeVon Hardin. The end.