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The year was 1985 when David Stern announced the sweetest phrase Jazz fans have ever heard. "The Utah Jazz select Karl Malone from Louisiana Tech."
The Utah Jazz have made some of the best draft picks in NBA history, like John Stockton of Gonzaga University. But they have also made some of the worst, like Jose Ortiz, Luther Wright or Walter Palmer. It just goes to show that the NBA Draft is an inexact science.
Jerry Sloan told KSL, "You're always expected to draft the very best player, sometimes it's very, very difficult to do."
Jerry Sloan told KSL, "You're always expected to draft the very best player, sometimes it's very, very difficult to do. You can have all the ideas after the fact, people that tell you 'You should have done this, you should have done that'. You should sit around and watch them (Jazz draft team) to know what it's all about."
It will be even more challenging to find a special player this year. The 2009 draft is considered, by many experts, to be very thin on talent.
Jazz Vice President of Player Personnel Walt Perrin says, "I think if you look at the draft as a draft of guys who can be pretty good role players for your team. I don't know if there's going to be a lot of starters coming out in this years draft. Especially not right away.
When picking 20th it's tough to find a special player. But there are plenty of examples that prove it's possible. Since 2001, eight players drafted 20th or lower have gone on to be all-stars:
Tony Parker (28th in 2001) Gilbert Arenas (31st in 2001) Mehmet Okur (38th in 2001) Tayshaun Prince (23rd in 2002) Carlos Boozer (35th in 2002) Josh Howard (29th in 2003) Mo Williams (47th in 2003) Jameer Nelson (20th in 2004)
The Jazz found their own second round steal in the 2006 draft with Paul Millsap.
"You always hear people talk about a weak draft, but there is always somebody that comes out and plays and surprises a lot of people. Some that you expect to play... don't." says Jerry Sloan who is getting ready for his 25th draft with the Jazz.
The challenge for the Jazz is to find that guy.
Walt Perrin recommends using this age old draft rule, "It's always (draft) best available. You can't have enough good players at any one position. So it's always best available."