SALT LAKE CITY — Marilyn Monroe knew too well the resentment that comes with accomplishment.
“Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn’t that way,” she is credited with saying. “It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.”
She must have been general manager of an NBA team.
With the draft happening Thursday in Brooklyn, the challenge for the Jazz is to make people envious of their choices (Nos. 23 and 53). It has happened a few times. Their success in the early years came from drafting underrated players such as Mark Eaton, Karl Malone and John Stockton. In later years it came via draft-day trades for Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.
Here, though, is a brief history of the times when few if any teams ended up giving the Jazz the stink eye of envy:
1986: Dell Curry eventually won a Sixth Man of the Year Award, but never made an All-Star team after being selected 15th by Utah. That year the Jazz could have had Dennis Rodman (No. 27) or Jeff Hornacek (46). Hmmm. Rodman to Utah?
What could go wrong?
1987: That year was less about who they could have picked than who they did: José Ortiz. His career highlight was being named MVP ... in Puerto Rico.
The Jazz could have had Mark Jackson at No. 15, fourth in all-time assists, but they already had a guy who could kinda pass.
Instead they claimed a guy who couldn’t play.
1989: Blue Edwards appeared twice in Utah and was a good player. But he wasn’t Vlade Divac, who was picked No. 26, five spots after Edwards. Considering the Jazz’s finances at the time, scouting Europe wasn’t a high priority.
1993: The most disastrous draft pick in Jazz history, Luther Wright, had mental health, drug and other issues that derailed his career. He played a total of 92 minutes in the NBA and scored 19 points. But he got paid $5 million for his trouble.
Who would have been a better choice at No. 18? Anybody.
1999: The selection that year wasn’t a 28-time Grammy winner named Quincy (Jones) — but it may as well have been. Quincy Lewis was an ineffectual swingman whom the Jazz thought was a bargain at the 19th slot.
Thirty-eight picks later, the Spurs took Manu Ginobili.
Don’t cry for me, Argentina. But it’s OK to cry for the Jazz.
2001: Few draft misses have been more acute than Raul López, mainly because it meant ignoring Tony Parker at No. 24. Four picks later, San Antonio took Parker. Who knew France had basketball chops?
Incidentally, Turkey did too, but Mehmet Okur didn’t go to Detroit until No. 38.
2002: This one completely went off the rails. The Jazz claimed Ryan Humphrey at No. 19 and traded him for Curtis Borchardt, who traded in his knees and feet after two seasons.
Meanwhile, Carlos Boozer was available at No. 35.
2003: Sasha Pavlovich or Josh Howard with the 19th pick?
That’s as easy as Chips Ahoy vs. Smart Cookie.
2004: Who knew Kris Humphries would be a star?
A reality star.
Kim Kardashian’s short-term hubby went at No. 14 and actually fashioned a fair career after he left Utah, married and divorced.
Al Jefferson was selected one pick behind him.
Still, Big Al never made the cover of People magazine.
2005: Tabbing Deron Williams at No. 3, ahead of Chris Paul, didn’t seem as weird as it does now. Williams was hard-nosed, strong, chippy and accustomed to winning — just the type of attitude Jerry Sloan wanted. But it was that attitude that ended up convincing Sloan to retire in the middle of a season.
2007: Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. The Jazz felt like one, selecting Almond — first name Morris. At No. 25, they could have had Marc Gasol, who right now is getting sized for a ring.
2008: This wasn’t a great era for the Jazz. A year after taking Almond, they went with Kosta Koufos at No. 23. He has been a solid player, but it could have been George Hill or DeAndre Jordan.
2009: Eric Maynor was the choice at No. 20. He lasted a few years in the league.
Danny Green, who went No. 46, can wilt you with a single shot.
2010: Gordon Hayward turned into an All-Star, then left for Boston. But the No. 9 pick that year should have been Paul George, who is at six All-Star appointments and counting.
2011: Talk about a double-whammy. Enes Kanter was the Jazz choice at No. 3, with Alec Burks at No. 12, when it could have been Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard.
Are you blushing or fuming?
2013: Utah selected Shabazz Muhammad at No. 14, then traded to get Trey Burke — completely skipping over Giannis Antetokounmpo.13 comments on this story
Maybe there was a spelling mixup.
2014: Dante Exum at No. 5? Australia wasn’t an efficient use of flyer miles.
Better spent on Nikola Jokić.
2015: Trey Lyles hates Salt Lake; Jazz fans hate Trey Lyles — mainly because they could have taken Devin Booker.
There are a lot of moves the Jazz could have made throughout the years. Two others that might have happened are Jeff Turner instead of Stockton and Alfredrick Hughes instead of Malone.
There’s more guesswork going into the draft than you think.