Ranking the best draft picks in Utah Jazz history

Published: Thursday, July 24 2014 9:18 p.m. MDT

Deseret News
The Las Vegas Summer League has come to an end for the Utah Jazz after plenty of excitement and even a few big-time plays. Two players who had solid showings were 2014 first-round picks Dante Exum and Rodney Hood. Exum showed off his quickness while Hood displayed the ability to stretch the defense with his outside jumper. Even though neither player performed at the top of their game the entire time, they showed enough to get Jazz fans amped up for what is to come in the upcoming season. Since the Jazz are a small-market team, it is of the utmost importance for them to make good decisions in the draft. While it seems that the selections of Exum and Hood were good ones, only time will tell if they were the right picks. After all, Summer League success doesn't always carry over to the regular season. Some guys play fantastic in the summer but flame out when facing the best players in the world. Jazz fans are hoping that the front office made the right choice with both selections and they will be great players throughout their respective careers. Even though the draft is far from a guarantee, the Jazz have found plenty of success with their picks in the past. This list is a ranking of the best of those picks since the Jazz arrived in Utah. These rankings are based on numerous factors. The most important are if the player was the best possible pick left on the board and how the player produced in the NBA. Because of the first reason, there are some surprise players that make the list for the simple fact that the Jazz made the best possible choice for who was available. It is important to note that just because a player is higher on the list doesn't mean he is (or was) a better player. It just means the Jazz made a better pick. Here is the ranking of the best decisions that Utah has ever made in the draft.
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Morgan Duel
Taylorsville, UT

Wow only two really good players in all those picks. Who are the Jazz Scouts?

Farmington, Utah

Where is Hornacek?

Cinci Man

Jeff Hornacek was drafted by the Phoenix Suns, not Utah. This is a great list.

Jerome, ID

It wasn't an illusive championship ring, it was elusive.

South Jordan, Utah

No Thurl Bailey - you're kidding me right?

Sandy, UT

Definitely Thurl should be high on the list. I'd also put Darrell Griffith above Bryon Russell. Blue Edwards and Dell Curry should be on the list before Bobby Hansen for sure.


and Karl Malone as a perennial all star whiner... I'll leave it at that

Kearns, UT

1. Stockton. 2. Malone (he wouldn't have been near as good without Stockton feeding him the ball). 3. Griffith (way better career stats). 4. Thurl Bailey (7th overall pick, long career). After these guys no one else matters. Having Wilkins on the list is stupid. He never played for the Jazz. I'm surprised Jose Ortiz isn't on this uninformed list. After all he was the best player available then.

Whomever put this list together has no clue.

Fruit Heights, UT

The list only needed to be 1-10.

Sandy, UT

Not have Thurl Bailey on the list is a joke, he is in the top 10 and Darrell Griffith should be in the top 5.

Pleasant View, UT

Hey guys - Stockton to Malone should have been a tie. You can't have one without the other. Right?

Alpine, UT

For all of us new Utah fans, who did the Jazz get in the trade Dominique Wilkins?

Sandy, UT

The Jazz got Freeman Williams and John Drew in the trade for 'Nique.

Parowan, UT

It's obvious this writer did not see Darrell Griffith play. 10th!?! Really? Absurd.

Brigham City, UT

Ok Jay, the word is Elusive not Illusive. By the way, Stockton should have been listed as #1 and Malone #2.

Burke, VA

How can you possibly put Dominique Wilkens as even in the top 20 when he didn't play, correct that, didn't want to play for the Jazz and never put on a uniform. A good draft strategy would have known that fact before the pick was made.

And to leave Thurl Bailey off the list entirely, let alone leaving him out of the top five is almost criminal. Stockton, Malone, Griffith, others were great picks but think about Jazz history and remember whose presence turned the franchise from the perennial cellar dweller to a playoff team. It was the 1984 season, Thurl's first. Who write's this stuff, anyway?

Burke, VA

How can you possibly place the Dominique Wilkens pick even in the top twenty? He never played for, correct that, never wanted to play for the Jazz and never put on a uniform. An informed staff would have known that fact before they wasted the pick.

And Brillopad is exactly right. How can you leave Thurl Bailey off the list all together, let alone off the top ten. Stockton, Malone, Griffith, others, were great but who was it that sparked the turnaround from being a perennial cellar dweller to a regular playoff team? It was 1984, Thurl's first season. He alone is responsible for everything after that. Who write's this stuff, anyway?

Magna Ute Fan
Magna, UT

General- I heard a Jazz insider on the radio awhile back who said that picking and then trading Dominique was a pivotal move for the Jazz. One, because he didn't want to come here. But even more important, the team was barely staying alive financially. The most importnat thing the Jazz got out of the trade was a pile a CASH to help keep the team afloat.

Incidentally, the insider (sorry I can't remember who it was,) also said the Hawks paid the Jazz about a million more than the Jazz asked them for. I guess Ted Turner had an honest heart.

Mountain Bird
West Jordan, UT

After drafting Thurl Baily the Jazz finally made the playoffs. Terrible oversight to not include Big T. Should be top 5 at least.

On an unrelated note, I've yet to see a prettier jump shot than the Golden Griff.

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