Utah Jazz: Best trade in franchise history with the Denver Nuggets

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports) /

Recently, we reviewed the best trade the Utah Jazz ever made with the Portland Trail Blazers. In this article, we’re staying within the Northwest Division and reviewing the best trade the franchise ever made with the Denver Nuggets. One relatively recent trade jumps off the page. To be more accurate, it shifts its feet off the page towards an unsuspecting defender with a 7’9 wingspan and stifles its shot. We’re talking about the Denver Nuggets’ draft day trade of Rudy Gobert to the Utah Jazz.

Rudy Gobert has become so synonymous with the Utah Jazz that it’s easy to forget that he was drafted by the Nuggets with the 27th pick in the 2013 NBA draft, but that’s exactly what happened. They shipped him directly to Salt Lake City.  In return, the Nuggets received Erick Green: if you don’t remember him, you’re not alone.

This trade produced 74.9 Win Shares (WS) to date for the Utah Jazz. It didn’t generate quite as many for the Denver Nuggets. To be precise, it produced 0.

Green played one season for the Nugs, averaging 9.5 minutes per game over the 2014-15 season before, ironically, finding his way back to Salt Lake City. Six games into the 2015-16 season, he departed the Utah Jazz and never found his way back to the NBA.

Meanwhile, we don’t even need to remind you who Rudy Gobert is. The 3x Defensive Player of the Year has been at least one of the two most important players on the Utah Jazz ever since he took on a full-time starting role in 2015-16. His career Defensive Rating of 100 to date comfortably justifies his position as the best rim protector in basketball.

Ironically, the Nuggets also drafted Donovan Mitchell and traded him to the Jazz on draft night. Utah Jazz fans owe the Denver Nuggets a debt of gratitude for almost single-handedly building the foundation of this current iteration of their team. However, the Jazz did part with Trey Lyles and Tyler Lydon in that exchange: a small price to pay, to be sure, but Lyles has had a considerably more successful NBA career than Erick Green.

One goal for every player in the Jazz starting lineup. dark. Next

The Denver Nuggets are a franchise with precious few complaints in the NBA. They roster the league’s reigning MVP, as well as two players with high-level All-Star potential in Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Still, they probably do wish they’d gotten more value for Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.