Lottery losers: Jazz owner laments his team’s unfortunate draft position

By By Matt Patton

By Matt Patton

It seems the Utah Jazz just can’t catch a break. This was a harsh reality Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller had to face as his team dropped to the No. 6 pick for the upcoming 2005 NBA draft.

“We were the first (team) that lost position, and that was kind of a disappointment.” Miller said of the Tuesday night lottery results.

Coming off their first losing season since the ’82-’83 campaign, and a year filled with injuries and inconsistencies, having a high pick in the draft should be helpful to the Jazz, even from the No. 6 position.

This year the Jazz have two first-round picks, No. 6 and No. 27 (from Dallas). It is possible that they could trade the picks to gain a higher draft position if they feel it is necessary to get the athlete they prefer.

Although the Jazz are already deep at the center and forward positions, they still may opt for a larger athlete.

“In a situation where we’re drafting this high, if there’s a big guy up there that would be justified going in the top 10, or in our case the top six, you’ve got to take him.” Miller explained. “We don’t want to just take any large person without skills, so I think it’s more likely we’d probably wind up looking at the guard position.”

The Jazz have many options to choose from at both the center and guard position. Former Ute center Andrew Bogut is expected to be taken early in the draft, making it less likely for the Jazz to acquire him.

Chris Paul (Wake Forest), Deron Williams (Illinois) and Raymond Felton (North Carolina), appear to be the most likely point guard candidates to make an immediate impact for the Jazz.

“I take a look at Andrei (Kirilenko), Carlos Boozer, Matt Harpring and Mehmet Okur, and we’ve got four really good players if we’ve got a guard that can get them the ball.” Miller declared, addressing the future of the Jazz.

Chris Paul is expected to be taken within one of the first three picks, and it may be worth trading up to get him. He is touted to have incredible speed, great court vision, an ability to knock down the three (47 percent three-point average last season), as well as defense even Jerry Sloan should appreciate.

The Jazz have a better chance to pick up Illinois’ Deron Williams, who is listed as the second-best point guard available in the draft. He was remarkable in the tournament and is often praised for his defensive talents.

Questions have been raised about the shooting ability of North Carolina’s Raymond Felton, and this may be a concern for the Jazz. He did shoot 45 percent from the field last season, as well as 44 percent from three-point range, but this was unusual compared with his previous two seasons.

It appears that the Jazz aren’t looking to change much of their current roster over the off-season, so Miller and Co. are crossing their fingers that one special player can help return them to past glory.

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