The biggest draft busts in Utah Jazz history

The Jazz have had their ups and downs when it comes to the NBA draft. On one hand, they have selected cornerstones of the franchise like John Stockton and Karl Malone. They have also found great late picks like Bryon Russell, Paul Millsap, Mark Eaton and Rudy Gobert. Those are the great stories.

The other ones aren’t so pretty. They have missed on countless stars while taking players who struggled to make it in the league (and some who never did).

Here is the list of the worst picks the Utah Jazz ever made. Guys who never panned out for the Jazz or not at all.

15. Scott Padgett

The Jazz had three first round picks in 1999 and they missed on two of them. Padgett lasted four seasons with the Jazz, but was never saw more than spot minutes. He played 231 games in a Jazz uniform and averaged 4.9 points and 3.0 rebounds in 13.7 minutes before moving on to the Houston Rockets.

Manu Ginobili was the best player still left on the board when the Jazz landed Padgett.

14. Kosta Koufos

Koufos has turned himself into a very solid NBA player, but he was a bust for the Jazz. He played 84 games in Utah and was out of the rotation by year two. That year, he played in just 36 games and averaged 1.5 points and 1.3 rebounds in 4.8 minutes. Utah traded him the following offseason.

What makes it worse is that the Jazz could have selected Serge Ibaka, DeAndre Jordan or Goran Dragic instead.

13. Raul Lopez

Like Curtis Borchardt, injuries were a major factor why Lopez didn’t find success with the Jazz. He lasted two seasons in Utah and played in 113 games. He was solid as a rookie, averaging 7.0 points, 3.7 assists and 1.9 rebounds while playing all 82 games. Year two wasn’t nearly as successful as he played in just 31 games because of injuries. He was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies the following summer, according to, but never played another NBA game.

Tony Parker, Gilbert Arenas and Mehmet Okur were all available when the Jazz selected Lopez.

12. Eric Maynor

Maynor’s career in the NBA was short-lived, and it was even shorter with the Jazz. He lasted just 26 games before he was traded off to the Oklahoma City Thunder midway through his rookie season. Since leaving the Thunder, he has bounced around the league over the last few years making stops in Portland, Washington and Philadelphia. He didn’t play in the NBA in 2014-15.

Instead of Maynor, the Jazz could have taken Taj Gibson, Danny Green, Patty Mills or Darren Collison.

11. Eric Leckner

The Jazz needed some help in the front court, but Leckner didn’t turn out to be the answer. He played just two seasons with the Jazz and played just 10.2 minutes a night before he was traded away. He lasted for eight seasons in the NBA, but never averaged significant minutes for any of his seven teams.

The Jazz could have drafted Grant Long or Anthony Mason instead.

10. Enes Kanter

Kanter is the highest pick that the Jazz have ever missed on. Not that he won’t be a solid player in the NBA (on one side of the floor), but because he was not a fit at all. On top of that, the Jazz didn’t get a whole lot in return when they unloaded Kanter at the trade deadline in 2014.

What makes it that much more painful is that Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmer Butler, Kemba Walker and Nikola Vucevic were all still on the board when Kanter was taken.

9. John Duren

The Jazz made a solid pick with their first choice in the 1980 draft when they took Darrell Griffith, but they missed with their second pick. Duren played just two seasons with the Jazz before he was waived, according to He played one season for the Indiana Pacers before he was out of the league altogether.

Rick Mahorn, Kurt Rambis and Jeff Ruland were all still available when Utah took Duren.

8. Quincy Lewis

Lewis was the first of three first round picks the Jazz had in 1999. He came out of Minnesota as a scorer, but had a really hard time putting the ball in the whole during his time in Utah. He lasted just three seasons with the Jazz and averaged 3.8 points on 39.9 percent shooting in 145 games. He moved to the Minnesota Timberwolves after leaving the Jazz, but played just 14 games before he was waived, according to

Other than Ginobili, no other stars were still on the board when the Jazz took Lewis, but they could have had some serviceable pieces.

7. Curtis Borchardt

Borchardt came to the Jazz in a draft night trade with the Orlando Magic for Ryan Humphrey. He played through injuries and barely saw the floor during his time with Utah. He played 83 games over three seasons and averaged 3.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in 13.5 minutes. The Jazz traded him to the Boston Celtics, but he never played another NBA game.

The Jazz missed out on Tayshaun Prince and Carlos Boozer when they landed Borchardt.

6. Kris Humphries

Humphries is one of a couple of players on this list who managed to have a solid NBA career, but it definitely didn’t work out well with the Jazz. He played two seasons in Utah and averaged 3.6 points on 39.4 percent shooting with 2.7 rebounds in 129 games before the Jazz moved him to the Toronto Raptors for Rafael Araujo.

There were plenty of talented players on the board when the Jazz selected Humphries, including Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, J.R. Smith and Jameer Nelson.

5. Kirk Snyder

The 2004 draft wasn’t a good one for the Jazz. After missing on Humphries, they took another bust in Kirk Snyder. He played just one year in Utah before the Jazz traded him as they tried to get rid of plenty of draft day mistakes all at the same time. During his one season with the Jazz, he appeared in 68 games and averaged 5.0 points on 37.2 percent shooting with 1.8 rebounds in 13.3 minutes.

Trevor Ariza, Tony Allen, Kevin Martin and Anderson Varejao were all still available when the Jazz took Snyder.

4. Morris Almond

Almond was a great shooter in college, but it didn’t translate during his time in the NBA. He played just 34 games over two seasons in a Jazz uniform and averaged 3.1 points on 38.5 percent shooting with 1.1 rebounds in 8.6 minutes. After leaving Utah, he played four more games in the NBA.

Marc Gasol. Tiago Splitter, Arron Afflalo and plenty of other productive players were still on the board when the Jazz rolled the dice on Almond.

3. Jose Ortiz

Ortiz was another big man who wasn’t a fit for the NBA game. He last just two years with the Jazz before he was out of the league. During that time, he played in 64 games and averaged 2.9 points on 44.3 percent shooting with 1.1 rebounds in 6.1 minutes.

Reggie Lewis and Ken Norman were still on the board when the Jazz took Ortiz.

2. Luther Wright

Wright came to the Jazz with the 18th overall pick in the 1993 draft and was gone just over a year later. During his time in Utah he played in just 15 games and averaged 1.3 points on 34.8 percent shooting from the floor in 6.1 minutes. He never played in another NBA game once he left the Jazz.

Sam Cassell and Chris Mills were still available when the Jazz draft Wright.

1. Larry Knight

The biggest proof of being a draft bust is never even making the roster. That’s exactly what happened to Larry Knight. He was the 20th pick in the first round in the 1979 draft, but never played a single regular season game for the Jazz. In fact, he never played for anyone in the NBA.

Bill Laimbeer, James Donaldson and Jerry Sichting were all still available when the Jazz landed Knight.


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