Utah Jazz to pick 9th in NBA draft
Jazz arenít biggest losers; Wizards are biggest winners
Jason Olson, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The NBA draft lottery didn't exactly hold form Tuesday night.
But it did for the Jazz, who learned they'll pick ninth overall in the June 24 draft — failing to move up into the top three, but not slipping from nine either.
Utah had only a 2.2 percent shot — 22 chances out of 1,000 number combinations — to land the No. 1 overall pick, and a 7.85 chance at getting into the top three.
But they didn't go anywhere with the pick, which originally was owned by the New York Knicks and was acquired by the Jazz acquired in a February 2004 trade with Phoenix that cost Utah only little-used Ben Handlogten and Keon Clark.
Protection on the selection expired after last year's draft, finally allowing Utah a chance to cash in on a deal — essentially a money-saving move for the Suns — that netted the Jazz only No. 9 but cost them precious little.
"Any time you can get something basically for nothing," Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said, "I think it's worth the wait."
O'Connor represented the franchise — whose only other top-10 pick since 1984 was point guard Deron Williams in 2005 — at the lottery in Secaucus, N.J., where Washington wound up the big winner.
The Wizards moved up from No. 5 to No. 1, something they had only a 10.3 percent (103 chances out of 1,000) of doing.
Philadelphia also wound up well off, moving up from sixth to second.
New Jersey was the biggest loser.
The Nets had the worst record in the NBA this season and the most chances to win the lottery — 250 out of 1,000 — but they slipped to No. 3 anyway.
And that means the Wizards will have the pick of the litter — likely, based on early consensus of most NBA scouts and front-office personnel, either University of Kentucky point guard John Wall or Ohio State shooting guard Evan Turner.
"I think everyone's talking about the two kids up top," O'Connor said, "and they felt those are the two first kids that are gonna go."
Jazz plans for the pick remain to be determined.
But it's possible Utah would use it on any one from among a number of bigs, including Georgetown's Greg Monroe, North Carolina's Ed Davis, Kansas' Cole Aldrich, Baylor's Ekpe Udoh, Marshall's Hassan Whiteside, Kentucky's Patrick Patterson or even Lithuanian power forward Donatas Motiejunas.
If so, though, O'Connor wasn't telling.
"Somebody's gonna be a good player in this draft," he said, and "we hope that we hope we make the right choice."
Besides New Jersey, other lottery losers Tuesday were Sacramento, which fell from No. 3 to No. 5, and Golden State, which dropped from No. 4 to No. 6.
O'Connor — whose only concession to looking for luck Tuesday was that "I didn't wear the same suit I had on last time" — saw some silver lining in that fact for the Jazz.
"If you want to look at things that are positives," he said, "the Western Conference teams went backward and the Eastern Conference teams went forward."
Mostly, though, O'Connor left New Jersey feeling more sorry for someone else than he did feeling especially good about his own fortune.
"I feel bad for (Nets president) Rod Thorn," the Jazz GM said, "because he's a friend, and I know the agony he went through this year."
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