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Utah Jazz: Building the perfect Jazz draft pick
First Published Jun 25 2014 01:39 pm • Last Updated Jun 26 2014 01:09 pm

The Jazz will hope he’ll be "the" guy, a player that can change the franchise’s fortune and put a young, talented core over the top.

The team will have its pick of everyone but the top four players, barring a trade up or down, but what if they could build a player instead of drafting one? What if they could combine all of the best attributes of former Jazz players into one, superstar basketball Frankenstein?

Here are the pieces of former Jazz players that would make the perfect draft prospect:

Post Moves: Al Jefferson

"Big Al" had his faults defensively, but in his three seasons with the Jazz, there’s no denying his arsenal of post moves. Jefferson was the catalyst of the Jazz offense from the time he joined the team in 2010, executing the pick-and-roll and averaging no less than 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game by consistently owning the paint.

Rim Protection/Shot-Blocking: Mark Eaton

Eaton, who played for Utah from 1982 to 1993, was the quintessential rim protector and is arguably the best shot-blocker in the history of the league. With his 7-foot-4 frame, Eaton consistently rejected opposing shooters, leading the NBA in blocks for four seasons and winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award twice. Most importantly, Eaton averaged an astounding 3.5 blocks per game for his career, with 3,064 total.

Dunking: Darrell Griffith

Jeremy Evans was considered here, but there was no way to pass up a player whose nickname is "Dr. Dunkenstein." The second overall pick in the 1980 draft, Griffith played with the Jazz until 1991, winning the Rookie of the Year award. Griffith was known for his high-flying acrobatics from the beginning of his career, but his shooting and scoring were great too, as he sank 36 percent of his shots from behind the arc in the 1983-1984 season. His number was retired by the Jazz in 1983.

Defense: Andrei Kirilenko

The Jazz have a storied history of great defenders, but it’s hard to beat the lockdown defending provided by Kirilenko. He led the league in blocks with 220 in the 2005-2006 season and was an all-NBA defender in 2006, along with two selections for the all-defensive second team in 2004 and 2005. His length and height allowed him to patrol the lane, disrupt passes and block shots unlike many other small forwards in the league. Combined with his offensive versatility, Kirilenko was among the most important players in a Jazz uniform in the 2000s.

Durability: Thurl Bailey

Bailey was the definition of dependability in the early ’80s to early ’90s for the Jazz, playing at least 80 games in every season between 1983 and 1991. Bailey could play both forward spots, and although he spent most of his career with Utah coming off the bench, he was a valuable piece whose healthy track record would be an asset when building a perfect draft pick.

Rebounding: Carlos Boozer

Boozer was a polarizing figure during his time in Utah, but there’s no denying his rebounding proficiency. From 2006 to 2010, Boozer averaged over 10 rebounds per game, grabbing at least 840 boards in each of the 2006-2007, 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 seasons. Paired with Deron Williams, Boozer was an offensive force in the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons, averaging over 20 points and nearly 11 rebounds per game and is first overall in defensive rebound percentage and total rebound percentage and second overall in rebounds per game in Jazz history.

Scoring: Adrian Dantley

Dantley played for several teams over his Hall of Fame career, but his best years were spent in Salt Lake City, scoring in droves for the Jazz. Dantley still holds the most points per game as a Jazz player, with 29.6 and is third in points only behind Karl Malone and John Stockton with 13,635 total in a Jazz uniform. He won two scoring titles with the Jazz in 1981 and 1984, dropping over 2,400 points both seasons and was a six-time All-Star selection. Malone is the all-time points leader in Utah’s history, but Dantley was easily the best pure scorer.

Shooting: Jeff Hornacek

Hornacek was the third wheel to Stockton and Malone in the ’90s, but his shooting touch was unmatched. Hornacek still leads the Jazz with a .428 3-point field goal percentage and was nearly automatic from the free-throw line, finishing his career with a .896 free throw percentage. He’s sixth all-time in Jazz history in 3-point shots with 439 and no one was better at keeping defenses honest from behind the arc.

Ball-handling: "Pistol" Pete Maravich

John Stockton stands alone at the pinnacle of Jazz point guards, but Deron Williams and Maravich made a huge impact of their own. Maravich gets the nod here for what he did when the Jazz still resided in New Orleans, routinely dazzling defenders and setting up teammates for success. He spent the 1974 through 1980 seasons with the Jazz, racking up five All-Star selections and one scoring title in 1977 by averaging 31.1 points per game with 2,273 total points. He ranks third all-time in Jazz history with 25.2 points per game and fourth all-time in assists per game with 5.6

Physique/offensive ability: Karl Malone

Saving the best two for last, Malone and John Stockton brought more great attributes than anyone to the Jazz. Malone was a machine offensively, scoring at will from the pick-and-roll, shooting well from mid-range and finishing basket after basket easily in the post. At 6-foot-9 and 260 pounds of muscle, Malone was more of a tank than a power forward and stands alone at the top of the Jazz history books in points scored, minutes played and rebounds. He could have fit any of the above categories easily and would be the perfect blueprint of success for this year’s draft pick.

Leadership/passing/court vision: John Stockton

Stockton is the ultimate Jazz player and displayed great quality after great quality in a Utah uniform. He’s the NBA’s all-time leader in assists and steals and displayed unmatched leadership and court vision for the Jazz. He played more games, scored more from behind the arc, assisted more baskets and stole more balls than anyone else in franchise history. He consistently set others up for success and built arguably the best pick-and-roll partnership in the history of the league with Malone. He’s in the conversation for the best point guard of all-time and would be the mental to Malone’s physical foundation of building the perfect Jazz draft pick.

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bsmith@sltrib.com

Twitter: @BrennanJSmith




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