SALT LAKE CITY — As fans poured into EnergySolutions Arena in anticipation of Utah's two first-round picks in Thursday's NBA Draft, their expectations were sky high, demand for success enormous, with the margin for error paper thin.
The initial overall consensus from Jazz followers? Positive, with a feeling that things are going to improve.
The selection of Turkey's Enes Kanter was mostly expected, so the huge cheers by the big crowd were not a surprise.
Garrett Kramer from Bountiful, for one, wasn't surprised when the Jazz selected Kanter with the No. 3 pick.
"That's what I wanted them to do," Kramer said. "I heard a rumor that he can take off from two feet from the foul line and dunk it. I want to see him do that."
The 19-year-old, 6-foot-11 Kanter filled one of Utah's needs, according to Jazz fan Ned Campbell from Provo.
"I thought it was between (Kanter) and (Kentucky guard) Brandon Knight," Campbell said. "But they really needed a big man."
While Utah's first pick seemed to be easier to figure out, its selection at No. 12 is the one that gained more attention, due to the chance that local favorite Jimmer Fredette might play in his adopted home state after finishing his stellar career at BYU.
But after Fredette was taken by Milwaukee (picking for Sacramento in a three-way trade that also included Charlotte) with the No. 10 selection, those hopes went away.
Loud cheers were heard throughout EnergySolutions Arena after Fredette was selected, but those cheers of excitement were clearly tinged with disappointment.
"I would have liked him to play here, but I was happy for him to be in that situation," Campbell said. "I was afraid that he was going to slip further down the board. It will be challenging for him (in Sacramento) but I think he thrives on that pressure."
Fredette was a great uniter when it came to one of the greatest college rivalries, and he certainly won Kramer over.
"I'm a Utah Ute and I hate BYU, but I love Jimmer," he said. "I was there when he scored 47 points against us and Utah fans gave him a standing ovation. So I wanted him to stay and play here."
With Jimmer gone, most believed the Jazz would go for a guard, especially when Detroit and Charlotte picked guards Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker with the No. 8 and 9 selections, and guard Klay Thompson went to Golden State right before Utah's choice.
So while fans knew the No. 12 pick would most likely be a guard, the actual selection — Colorado's Alec Burks — was more of an unknown.
The crowd's reaction was mixed — about half boos and half cheers — and was followed up by silence, perhaps still stunned and disappointed by Jimmer's selection just two picks earlier.
"I don't know much about him, but what I've heard have been good things," Kramer said.
The unknown factor concerns Campbell, as well.
"I don't know a lot about (Burks), but I have heard that he's not as good a shooter as I would have hoped," he said.
Improvement is always on fans' minds, and going forward this year is no different.
"We're going to be really young, so hopefully someone can step up and take the leadership role," Campbell said. "There is going to be some growing pains, but it will be exciting."
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