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NBA Draft Lottery 2011: Utah Jazz Pray For New Franchise Player

The Utah Jazz, thanks to the Deron Williams trade, have two lottery picks. Had the Jazz held onto Williams, they'd likely have zero. The more valuable of Utah's picks is New Jersey's unprotected first-round choice; the Nets finished tied with the Kings for the No. 5 worst record in basketball, and as such have a 7.5 percent chance of grabbing the top pick. The Jazz finished with the 12th-worst record themselves; that pick comes with a 0.7 percent chance of grabbing No. 1. So together, Utah has a 8.2 percent shot at No. 1.


Despite the trade of D-Will, point guard isn't a pressing need; Devin Harris, part of that return package, is a one-time All-Star and suitable for a team on the rebuild. Shooting guard is a major concern, assuming Gordon Hayward (the team's 2010 lottery pick) projects to small forward. The Jazz have little depth at center with Mehmet Okur's injuries and free agency. Power forward is stacked; the wings are the problem here.


If Utah jumps up, it'd be difficult to pass on Kyrie Irving (as it would be for most teams). The Jazz know what a difference a top-tier point guard can make, and in my estimation wouldn't hesistate to scoop up the Duke product. If they hit No. 2, it'd be an interesting choice between Arizona forward Derrick Williams -- who could play three but might be more comfortable at power forward, where the Jazz have Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap -- and a center-type like Enes Kanter or Jonas Valanciunas.

Kemba Walker could also have a shot at No. 2 or No. 3; an NBA-ready guard would jump-start the rebuild and (theoretically) paper over a gaping hole.


Constant success tends to drain a team's ability to win the lottery, but I don't think Utahns would trade the Sloan-Malone-Stockton era for anything. The Jazz didn't actually win the opportunity to pick Williams at No. 3 in 2005; Utah had the No. 6 pick, but traded it and a few other assets to Portland for the third slot. That was a good trade. Beyond that, Utah has not picked in the top three in the history of the lottery.

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