Utah Jazz Lose Draft Lottery Tiebreaker; Does It Matter?


The NBA held its tiebreakers for positioning in this summer’s draft yesterday. With both teams checking in with records of 38-44, the Utah Jazz squared off with the Indiana Pacers to see which of the two franchises would have the 11th most ping-pong balls in the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery.

The end result? Indiana wins the tiebreaker and lays claim to the “coveted” 11th position. The Jazz, meanwhile, are slated to pick twelfth pending the results of the lottery. Final draft positioning will be solidified on May 19th.

What this all means is that the Jazz will have 7 chances in 1000 of nabbing the top pick and the Pacers will have 8.

No team has ever managed the feat with such long odds. Last year, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the lottery with 17 chances, as did the Chicago Bulls of 2008. In 1993, the 41-41 Orlando Magic won the lottery with only one chance to do so, but under a system in which the lottery had only 66 total chances.

Last season, the Jazz were tied with the Boston Celtics for fourth position headed into the draft lottery and won their tiebreaker. Nonetheless, the team ultimately picked fifth when the Cavs jumped into the top three.

While it would be incredible for the Jazz to pull off a miracle and our own Clint Peterson recently wrote about an idea to bring the franchise some good luck, it would be an unprecedented occurrence. The reality of the situation is that the Jazz are probably picking near the bottom of the lottery regardless of what happened in the tiebreaker.

To me, the loss to Indy is inconsequential as relates to the future of the Utah Jazz. Given the cadre of young and developing talent already on the roster, my preference would be to trade out of the first round altogether. The Jazz could parlay the pick into an established veteran or future selections.

There are intriguing prospects that could be available when the Jazz are on the board; Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky comes to mind. Still, mid-first round picks rarely yield future stars in the league. I prefer to deal in known quantities—actual, measurable value over potential.

Of course, should the Jazz do the impossible and move into the top three, hard choices would have to be made. There are difference makers at the top of the 2015 draft class. However, until such a time comes, the team’s tiebreaking loss probably doesn’t make waves in the long-term.

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