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Ortiz was doomed from the start, playing in only 51 games as a rookie and starting 15 for an average of 2.8 points per game. He was worse the following year, playing in only 13 games and scoring 42 points before the Jazz released him. He went on to play for a host of European teams, but was a wasted pick at a time when the Jazz had a talented young core of Malone and Stockton.
3. Raul Lopez (2001, 24th overall)
Lopez was a star point guard in the Spanish league and had been likened to Stockton, Steve Nash and Tony Parker when the Jazz selected him in 2001. Lopez stayed in Spain in 2001 and missed all of 2002 with a knee injury, before finally debuting in Utah in 2003. He played in all 82 games, but started only 11 as a backup to Carlos Arroyo, averaging nearly 7 points per game. However, the next season he played in only 31 games and was traded to Memphis in 2005. He still plays in Spain, but the Jazz missed out on Gerald Wallace and Tony Parker when the team took him.
2. Luther Wright (1993, 18th overall)
Wright was waived after one season when he played only 92 minutes over 15 games. He scored only 19 points in his lone season with the Jazz and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, bouncing out of the league and struggling with bouts of homelessness and drug addiction afterward in his home of New Jersey. Wright is a cautionary tale of undermining risk in favor of talent.
1. Larry Knight (1979, 20th overall)
Knight takes the top spot because unlike every other name on this list, he never played a single minute for the Jazz in the NBA. Knight was a rebounding specialist in college with virtually no offensive game. Even on a Jazz team that finished 24-58 the season he was drafted, Knight couldn’t crack the lineup. He was waived 11 days before the season ever started and became a footnote in Utah Jazz history.
Just missed the cut: Eric Maynor, Eric Leckner, Kosta Koufos
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