Jazz willing to deal on draft day, but seldom have under O'Connor
With less than 72 hours remaining before the 2012 NBA Draft, the Jazz whose lone selection is No. 47 overall remain open to moving into the first round and have been active participants in recent trade talks. Utah's stance hasn't changed since last week: If a first-round pick the Jazz are targeting is available and the organization can make a favorable deal, general manager Kevin O'Connor will strongly consider a trade. With four of five Utah starters Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Devin Harris, Raja Bell from a promising 2011-12 team entering next season with expiring contracts and the Jazz holding a $10 million trade exception that expires in December, Utah has the potential to pull off a blockbuster trade.
But for all of the Jazz's second-round success in the draft since O'Connor took over during August 1999, Utah's only pulled off one major draft-week move in the past 11 seasons. On June 28, 2005, the Jazz acquired the No. 3 overall pick (Deron Williams) from Portland in exchange for the No. 6 selection (Martell Webster), the No. 27 pick (Linas Kleiza) and a conditional 2006 first-round pick (from Detroit, Joel Freeland at No. 30). Other than the move to snag Williams, though, the Jazz have only made four draft-week moves under O'Connor (2000, 2002, 2004, 2007) and none ultimately had a significant impact.
In addition, Utah's drafted better overall in the second round than the first. Under O'Connor, the Jazz have pulled Paul Millsap, Mo Williams, C.J. Miles and Jarron Collins with pick No. 34 or lower. While Deron Williams clearly stands out during O'Connor's tenure, Gordon Hayward (No. 9 overall in 2010) shows long-term promise and DeShawn Stevenson (No. 23 in 2000) has spent 11 seasons in the NBA and won a championship in 2011 with Dallas, the majority of Utah's first-round picks during the past 11 years were either traded away early in their careers Kris Humphries, Kosta Koufos, Eric Maynor or never panned out. Among the first-round casualties: Raul Lopez (No. 24 in 2001); Curtis Borchardt (No. 18 in 2002, acquired via trade); Kirk Snyder (No. 16 in 2004); and Morris Almond (No. 25 in 2007).
Brian T. Smith