7) It’s G-Time (2010)
Sure, Gordon Hayward was a lottery pick at No. 9, and you’re always looking to make a splash in the Top 10, but clearly the Jazz knew something that most people did not. And I’ve got no problem admitting that I was one of the un-knowing.
In the summer of 2010, the Jazz were set to shift gears. It wasn’t so much a rebuild as it was a reboot; the team still had Deron Williams, but Carlos Boozer was likely on his way out of town. With a hole at power forward, I was hoping the Jazz could trade up to select Derrick Favors and play him behind Paul Millsap.
When that didn’t happen, I looked for the team to take Ed Davis. Instead, they drafted Hayward, the skinny white kid who had just come off a crazy run in the NCAA Tournament with Butler. The crowd at the team’s draft party booed the pick; I wasn’t there, but I wasn’t feeling it either.
The Hayward pick is a prime example of why you should always take the best player available on your draft board. Between Millsap, Al Jefferson and, later, Favors, the Jazz were strong at the four spot for years to come. In the meantime, Hayward’s game blossomed.
Eventually, he became Utah’s go-to guy, an All-Star and one of the league’s premiere wing talents.
Hopefully, he remains a Jazzman for years to come.
Next: No. 6