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Kragthorpe: Jazz have more highly drafted talent than ever
Utah Jazz » Jazz hope one-time top prospects can regain form.
First Published Jul 30 2012 06:28 am • Last Updated Aug 14 2012 07:07 am

As a team known for overachieving with largely undiscovered players over the years, the Jazz suddenly have a roster filled with highly drafted players.

Mostly via trades, the Jazz have acquired six players taken in the top 12 of the NBA draft over the past eight years. That includes list top-three picks Marvin Williams (2005), Derrick Favors (2010) and Enes Kanter (2011). Newly acquired guard Randy Foye was picked seventh in 2006, while Gordon Hayward went ninth in 2010 and Alec Burks went 12th in 2011.

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This is a rare collection of talent for the Jazz — at least, as judged when these players were coming out of college.

"At that point in time, they were highly successful," said Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor. "I think they can all be highly successful again."

Of course, Marvin Williams and Foye are here because they never lived up to expectations with their original teams. Yet O’Connor believes they want to be in Utah and can revive their careers here. So this can become a new era for them and the Jazz.

While finishing consistently high in the Western Conference standings, the Jazz for decades went without high draft picks of their own. They also made few trades or free-agent acquisitions. Between drafting Thurl Bailey at No. 7 in 1983 and Deron Williams at No. 3 in 2005, the Jazz never exercised a first-round pick higher than No. 13.

Now, they’ve traded for Marvin Williams and Favors, in addition to making deals that enabled them to draft Hayward and Kanter. They took Burks with their own pick and signed Foye.

The Jazz remain proud to have found Paul Millsap and Mo Williams (who has returned to the team via trade) in the second round, but they now have players who once were judged much more favorably by NBA teams. "I hope they all perform that way," O’Connor said.

kkragthorpe@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribkurt


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