2001: Jazz select Raul Lopez (24) and Jarron Collins (53)
Overall, 2001 didn’t produce that impressive of a draft. And while it would be easy to get down on the Utah Jazz for their selection that year, fans should at least take comfort in knowing that they weren’t in the Washington Wizards’ shoes.
With the number one selection in the draft, the Wizards selected Kwame Brown whose name has become synonymous with No. 1 picks who turn out to be busts.
But that still doesn’t change the fact that selecting Raul Lopez with the 24th pick in the 2001 NBA Draft definitely did not work out very well for the Jazz. Not only did they end up having to wait two years before he could join the roster, but once he finally did join the team, he was less than impressive.
Lopez only played two years with the Jazz and put up a less than stirring 6.5 points per game as well as two turnovers per contest. (Editor’s Note: Injuries!!)
What makes this pick hurt even more is that just four picks later, the San Antonio Spurs snatched up six-time All-Star Tony Parker. At this time, John Stockton was quickly nearing the end of his career and having such a formidable point guard prospect such as Parker could have been monumental in keeping the legendary playoff history of the Jazz alive and well for years to come.
The Jazz could have also used the Lopez pick to snatch up Gilbert Arenas, who was the 31st pick. While his career came to a quick and disappointing end, there’s no telling how things could have gone differently if Arenas hadn’t been involved in the gun incident in Washington.
The three-time All-Star put up solid seasons from 2002-2010, particularly the 2005-06 season where he averaged 29.3 points and 6.1 assists per game on 44.7 percent shooting from the field and 36.9 percent from deep.
Another notable option instead of Lopez would have been Mehmet Okur, who was originally selected by the Detroit Pistons, but later became a Jazz fan favorite and consistent starter. Nevertheless, of the three, Parker would have been the best selection for the Jazz that year.
As far as the Jarron Collins pick goes, with it coming so late in the draft, there wasn’t really much beyond him either in the draft or among undrafted players that joined the league in 2001 that would have been any better for the Jazz, so no need for regrets there.