Fresh off their first NBA finals appearance is the Utah Jazz. The Jazz GM is:
Kevin Lachance

Rob selects:
Maurice Taylor


For years it was like a broken record for fans of the Utah Jazz; spectacular regular season, disappointing post season. After years of being on the verge of going to the NBA finals they accomplished the feat this season. The Jazz came out on the losing end but at least made the finals competive and exciting. Now that they have come this close they must use this offseason to add the missing pieces and fufill the dream.

Draft History of the 90's

Drafting in the 90's has not been kind to Jazz fans. In an attempt to add supporting talent around Stockton and Malone, Utah frequently traded their first round pick. Since 1990 Utah has traded their 1st pick four out of seven times. Of the three actual first rounders only one is an NBA player, that is 1995 pick Greg Ostertag. The other two picks are barely worth mentioning. Eric Murdock is always looking for an NBA job and a waste of a pick in Luther Wright. The second round has been the Jazz's specialty. Drafting useful players such as Bryon Russell and Shandon Anderson. Isaac Austin was also a 2nd rounder but later developed with the Heat.

I. Position Analysis

Center The middle is patrolled by young Greg Ostertag, a quality defensive center who understands his role. He has worked hard on improving his body and stamina. Greg provides offensive rebounding and shot blocking. He must continue to work on his offence (he is currently limited to dunks and tips). His biggest weakness is his lack of experience. He must learn to stay on the court by not picking up cheap fouls. He also tries to block everything which often leaves him out of position. Antoine Carr, a veteran and free agent, provides an offensive and defensive spark off the bench. Greg Foster a journeyman, is a capable back up with good shooting range. However, Foster often shoots beyond that range and shows poor shot selection. Offence is the weakness of the position. Power Forward With MVP Karl Malone here the position is solidified until the day he retires. This future Hall of Famer may be the greatest player in the history of the position. Malone has expanded his game throughout his career. He is now one of the best post passers in the game. Karl has also expanded his shooting range. Though this sounds good it may be the greatest flaw in his game. Instead of shooting the jumper when necessary, Karl now settles for it. He must remember that it was his post play that made him the dominant player he is today. Adam Keefe, the back up, plays with effort but lacks athletic ability. The former lottery pick will never exceed a bench role. Carr also sees quality time here as well. The position is strong but aging. A young big forward would be useful, especially if Carr doesn't return. Small Forward Bryon Russell, a second round surprise is the starter. Previously known as a slasher/leaper, Russell made great strides with his shot, connecting on 40% of his threes. However, in order to take the next step he must learn to hit the mid range jumper off the dribble. Bryon is a free agent but likely will return. Chris Morris was supposed to help get the team to the next level by filling the sixth man role. However, a questionable attitude and large ego annoyed coach Sloan. When Morris failed to produce on the court he was sent to the end of the bench. Morris has been nothing short of a bust. An athletic back up could be useful. Shooting Guard Jeff Hornacek may be one of the best off balance shooters in the league. He is the perfect compliment for Stockton and Malone because of his three point shooting ability. He is a free agent but will return. Shandon Anderson, a second round pick last season provides athleticism off the bench. He must work on his shot and finishing plays in traffic. He is another Jazz free agent but will probably come back. The Jazz should look for a big, strong guard in the draft that could be groomed as the heir to the position. Point Guard No debating it, John Stockton is the best point guard of all time. He is the all time career leader in assists and steals. The position is his until the day he retires. Howard Eisley went from capable back up to super sub by his play in the post season. The question is which is the real Howard Eisley. He is a free agent and with his strong play when it counted, he may not be back.

II. My Selection

With the 27th pick in the 1997 NBA draft, the Utah Jazz select Maurice Taylor, forward, University of Michigan. Am I the only person in North America that likes Taylor as a pro. I do not believe he will be available here but I will select him anyway. A lot of people have said he has not improved in his three years in college. Statistically yes. However, this is not a reflection of his application of his skills, but rather a reflection of the team he played for. Michigan may have been the most selfish team in recent memory. Taylor reminds me of a young Otis Thorpe.

III. Others Considered

Johnny Taylor - drew comparisions to Scottie Pippen before the season started. Due to the lack of development of his outside shot his stock dropped to 2nd round material. His play at draft camps has regenerated his stock, which is now late 1st. He would be a good fit in Utah. Gordon Malone - a lot of potential but a poor body. If Karl Malone could influence the kid to hit the weights and teach him in practice then he could be a steal. Marko Milic - anyone who can jump over a car to win a dunk contest deserves consideration.

IV. Who the Team will Probably Take

History tells us the Jazz will trade the pick. If by chance they keep it look for them to draft based on athletic ability. Possible selections are Johnny Taylor, Reggie Freeman, and Marko Milic. Johnny Taylor is probably the safest bet to be in a Jazz uniform next season.

V. Other Moves

Own Free Agents- Carr, Hornacek, Russell, S. Anderson, Eisley Russell and Hornacek are sure bets to ink new contracts. Carr and Anderson will probably resign. The player that worries me is Howard Eisley. Often when a player plays well in front of a large audience they draw a lot of attention. I am worried that a team may overrate his abilities and sign him to a lucrative contract. If that happens then the Jazz will let him go. Other Free Agents Rick Fox - Fox was a solid starter for the Celtics that would make a great super sub on the Jazz. Fox could supply the needed offence that Morris was supposed to and play better defence. Matt Maloney - this is plan B if Eisley leaves. Maloney would give the Jazz a young, capable back up for Stockton. Matt has proven he can run a team and shoot with range. Malik Sealy - could provide athletic ability and offence off the bench


For about a year now Utah has been desperatly trying to trade Chris Morris. They have been unsuccessful to this point. Keefe and Foster are also on the block but it is unlikely that there will be any takers. Just before the trading deadline Utah was looking to acquire a veteran swingman. Name mentioned, Chris Mullin. If the Jazz can't fill the void through free agency then talks may heat up again now that the Warriors are more willing to deal him.

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