The worst first round picks in Jazz history

The Orlando summer league has come to an end with more questions than answers when it comes to new Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke.  During his time on the floor in Orlando, Burke was unable to adjust to the speed of the game which affected his decision making.  He also struggled mightily with his outside shot causing some Jazz fans to wonder if Burke would ever be able to be successful in the NBA.

One week of summer league does not an NBA career make, but it got me to thinking about the players that the Jazz have missed on in the past. Looking back over the years the Utah Jazz have made some wonderful selections like John Stockton, Karl Malone, Andrei Kirilenko and even Greg Ostertag (only because he was the best player left on the board when the Jazz drafted him), but not all their picks have been home runs.

The Jazz have missed on their fair share of first round picks and this list is the worst of the worst.

How bad the draft pick was, is based on three factors.  First, is how a player performed as a member of the Jazz.  The second is how a player performed during his entire NBA career and third is who the Jazz could have had instead of said player.  With that being said, even if a player was solid during his time with the Jazz he could still be on this list because Utah could’ve taken a much better player.

Note: the last four years of draft picks are not included on this list.  There isn’t enough evidence on if they were bad picks or not.

25.  Darrell Griffith- Griffith was the second pick in the 1980 draft.  He had a great first five years in Utah before a foot injury derailed his career.  Griffith played five more seasons for the Jazz but was never quite the same.  Griffith averaged more than 16 points a game during his Jazz career as well as more than three rebounds, two assists and a steal.  The reason that Griffith made the list is because Utah could’ve drafted Kevin McHale instead.  HcHale was a seven time all-star and named one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players.

24.  Ronnie Brewer- Brewer was the 14th pick in the 2006 draft.  He spent three and a half years in Utah before being traded for salary cap reasons.  Brewer’s best season with the Jazz came in 2008-2009 when he averaged 13.7 points and 1.7 steals a game.  Brewer lands at 24 on this list because the Jazz passed on Rajon Rondo to take him.

23.  Rich Kelley- Kelley was selected with the seventh pick in the 1975 draft by the New Orleans Jazz.  Kelley spent four seasons in New Orleans and was very productive, especially in 1978-1979.  That season Kelley averaged 15.7 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.1 blocks. Kelley was traded for Bernard King who only played 19 games as a member of the Jazz.  The Jazz would have been better served drafting Gus Williams, World B. Free or Dan Roundfield.

22.  Danny Schayes- the son of legendary big man Dolph Schayes, Danny was taken with the 13th pick in the 1981 draft.  Schayes only spent a year and a half with the Jazz before being traded for Rich Kelley who was on the down side of his career.  Before being traded in his second season in Utah Schayes was averaging 12.4 points to go along with nine rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 blocks a night.  Schayes makes the list because the Jazz should have drafted Larry Nance, Eddie Johnson or Danny Ainge.

21.  Jacque Vaughn- Vaughn was taken with the 27th pick in the 1997 draft.  Vaughn played four seasons in Utah as a backup point guard to John Stockton.  He only averaged more than four points and two assists in one season for the Jazz.  Instead of drafting Vaughn, the Utah Jazz should’ve taken Alvin Williams or Stephen Jackson.

20.  Blue Edwards- Edwards was the 21st selection in the 1989 draft.  Edwards started 186 games in three seasons for the Jazz.   He averaged more than 12 points a game during his 1991-1992 season before being traded.  Vlade Divac, Clifford Robinson and Dino Radja were all still on the board when Edwards was selected.

19.  DeShawn Stevenson- Stevenson was taken with the 23rd pick in the 2000 draft.  He wasn’t productive for Utah until 2003-2004 which was the same season he was traded to the Orlando Magic.  The Jazz should’ve taken Michael Redd.

18.  Sasha Pavlovic- Pavlovic was selected with the 19th pick in the 2003 draft.  Pavlovic only played one season for the Jazz and averaged 4.8 points a game before being left unprotected for the 2001 expansion draft.  He was selected by the Bobcats before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a first round pick.  There were a number of good players left on the board when the Jazz selected Pavlovic such as Boris Diaw, Carlos Delfino, Leandro Barbosa, Josh Howard, Willie Green and Kyle Korver.  Mo Williams was also still available but the Jazz took him with their second round pick.

17.  Dell Curry- Curry was selected with the 15th pick in the 1986 draft.  Curry only spent one season with the Jazz before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers with Kent Benson for Darryl Dawkins and Mel Turpin.  Dawkins only played four games for the Jazz and Turpin was waived after just one season.  Curry was a 40% three-point shooter during his 16 year career.  The Jazz selected Curry even though Dennis Rodman, Mark Price and Jeff Hornacek were still on the board.

16.  Thurl Bailey- Bailey was taken with the seventh pick in the 1983 draft.  Bailey was very productive in his first stint in Utah before being traded for Tyrone Corbin.  Bailey’s best season came in 1987-1988 when he averaged 19.6 points per game to go along with 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.  The reason that Bailey makes the list is because Dale Ellis, Jeff Malone, Derek Harper, Glenn “Doc” Rivers and Clyde Drexler were all got drafted after the Jazz selected him.

15.  Eric Maynor- Maynor was taken with the 20th pick in the 2009 draft.  Maynor played only half a season for the Jazz before being traded for salary cap reasons.  Since then, Maynor has played for two other teams and has just signed with a third.  He has averaged 4.5 points, three assists and 1.3 rebounds a game during his NBA career.  Chase Budinger, Taj Gibson, DeJuan Blair, Danny Green, Marcus Thorton and Darrin Collison were all still available when the Jazz selected Maynor.

14.  Eric Leckner- Leckner was selected with the 17th pick in the 1988 draft.  Leckner only spent two seasons with the Jazz averaging 4.3 points and 2.6 rebounds a game before being traded to the Sacramento Kings.  Rod Strickland, Grant Long, Vernon Maxwell, Michael Adams and Anthony Mason were all taken after Leckner.

13.  John Duren- Duren was selected with the 19th pick of the 1980 draft.  Duren played two seasons with the Jazz never playing more than 14 minutes a game.  He was waived after the 1982 season and only played one more year in the NBA.  There were a fair number of good players left on the board when Duren was taken such as Jeff Ruland, Rick Mahorn, Kurt Rambis and Rory Sparrow.

12.  Scott Padgett- Padgett was taken with the 28th pick in the 1999 draft.  Padgett spent four Years playing for the Jazz and was a solid bench player.  In all, Padgett spent eight seasons in the NBA with four different teams coming off the bench averaging a little more than four points a night.  When the Jazz drafted Padgett, Manu Ginobili was still available.

11.  Quincy Lewis- Lewis was taken with the 19th pick in the 1999 draft.  Lewis played three seasons in Utah and started 21 games.  He never averaged more than four points a game.  Players who were still on the board after the Jazz selected Lewis were Jeff Foster, Kenner Thomas, Devean George and Manu Ginobili.

10.  Curtis Borchardt- Borchardt was taken with the 18th pick in the 2002 draft with the Jazz trading up from the 19th pick to get him.  Borchardt missed his entire rookie season due to injury then only played two seasons with the Jazz.  During his two seasons, Borchardt averaged 3.1 points and 3.3 rebounds.  Luis Scola, Nenad Krstic, John Salmons, Matt Barnes, Tayshaun Prince and Carlos Boozer were all still available when Borchardt was selected.

9.  Kosta Koufos- Koufos was selected with the 23rd pick in the 2008 draft.  Koufos only played 84 games over two seasons in Utah averaging a little more than three points and two rebounds a game before being traded.  Koufos had his best season in the NBA in 20112-2013 averaging eight points, 6.9rebounds and 1.3 blocks while starting 81 games for the Denver Nuggets.  Players who were still available when Koufos was selected are Serge Ibaka, Nicolas Batum, George Hill, Nikola Pekovic, DeAndre Jordan, Goran Dragic, Omar Asik and Mario Chalmers.

8.  Kris Humphries- Humphries was taken with the 14th pick in the 2004 draft.  Humphries only spent two seasons with the Jazz averaging less than four points and 2.7 rebounds a game.  Humphries was traded to the Toronto Raptors after the 2005-2006 season for BYU product, Rafael Araujo.  It took seven seasons in the NBA for Humphries to find success when he averaged a double- double in back-to-back seasons for the New Jersey Nets.  The reason why Humphries is so high on this list is because of the numerous amount of talented players the Jazz passed up to take him.  Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, J.R. Smith, Jameer Nelson, Tony Allen, Kevin Martin and Anderson Varajeo were all still left on the Board

7.  James Hardy- Hardy was taken with the 11th pick in the 1978 draft by the New Orleans Jazz.  Hardy spent all four of his NBA before finishing his basketball career in Europe.  While with the Jazz, Hardy averaged 5.7 points and 5.3 rebounds a game.  When the Jazz selected Hardy, Gerald Henderson, Michael Cooper, Terry Tyler, John Long, Mike Mitchell and Maurice Cheeks were all still available.

6.  Kirk Snyder-Snyder was selected with the 16th pick in the 2004 draft.  Snyder never fit in the Jazz system and only played one season before being traded.  Snyder managed to stay in the NBA for three more years but never found any success.  To go along with all the players the Jazz passed on to take Kris Humphries, the Jazz also passed on Dorrell Wright, Delonte West, Beno Udrih, Chris Duhon and Trevor Ariza to draft Snyder.

5. Morris Almond- Almond was selected with the 25th pick in the 2007 draft.  Almond only managed to play 34 games with the Jazz over two seasons.  Most of his time with the Jazz was spent lighting up the D-league.  After leaving the Jazz, Almond only played four more games in the NBA.  Aaron Brooks, Arron Afflalo, Tiago Splitter, Carl Landry Glen Davis, Ramon Sessions and Marc Gasol were all still on the board when Utah took Almond.

4.  Raul Lopez- Lopez was selected with the 24th pick in the 2001 draft.  The Jazz waited for two seasons before Lopez finally joined the roster and was gone two years later.  Lopez started 26 out of the 113 games he played in Utah, averaging 6.5 points, 3.8 assists and 1.7 rebounds a game.  The players still remaining on the board when Lopez was taken are why he is ranked so high.  Jamaal Tinsley, Gerald Wallace, Samuel Dalembert, Bobby Simmons, Mehmet Okur, Gilbert Arenas and Tony Parker all got drafted after Lopez.

3.  Jose Ortiz- Ortiz was taken with the 15th pick in the 1987 draft.  Ortiz only played 391 minutes in a Jazz uniform over two seasons before being waived.  Ortiz only played in 64 games, averaging 2.9 points and 1.1 rebounds a game.  Mark Jackson, Ken Norman and Reggie Lewis were still available when the Jazz selected Ortiz.

2.  Larry Knight- Knight was selected with the 20th picked in the 1979 draft.  Although Knight was a great rebounder at Loyola University of Chicago, he never played a single game in the NBA.  Sly Williams, Kyle Macy, Bill Laimbeer, James Donaldson and numerous other picks would have made the Jazz roster that season.

1.  Luther Wright- Wright was taken with the 18th pick in the 1993 draft.  Wright only played 92 minutes over 15 games in his entire NBA career.  During his time on the floor, Wright averaged 1.3 points and .7 rebounds a game.  Chris Mills, Sam Cassell and Nick Van Exel were all still available when Wright was selected.  The reason why Wright lands at the top spot on this list is because the Jazz waived him while still owing him almost a million dollars.  That’s not something the Jazz organization does very often.

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