3 Best Utah Jazz Draft Picks

min read
Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz during shootaround before an NBA game in March 2019.
(Wikimedia Commons/All-Pro Reels)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Nov 09, 2023, 6:20 PM
  • Here’s a list of the best Utah Jazz picks in franchise history.
  • Karl Malone leads the list of players Utah selected through the draft.
  • Other Jazz players included in the list are John Stockton and Donovan Mitchell.

The Utah Jazz may be one of the 11 NBA teams that have never won a championship, but the franchise is still one of the perennial contenders in the league because of their multiple playoff campaigns since joining the NBA in 1974. Utah came up short of maximizing their NBA championship odds in 1997 and 1998 after the Chicago Bulls defeated them in the NBA Finals.

Those trips to the Finals were mainly because of the players they selected through the draft. But who among the hundreds of players the Jazz picked are considered the best? Here are the three best Utah Jazz draft picks in team history:

Karl Malone

Karl Malone was selected as the 13th pick in the 1985 draft and was given the starting role during his first season. In his rookie year, he was able to average 14.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists to earn his spot in the 1986 NBA All-Rookie 1st Team. After a stellar first year in the league, Malone became a dominant force inside the paint and became Utah’s main superstar for the next 18 seasons.

“The Mailman” led the franchise to 18 consecutive playoff appearances, including back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998. However, they fell short of winning a title. Despite the failed attempt to capture a championship, Malone was able to rack up the accolades with Utah. He won two league MVP awards, became a 14-time NBA All-Star, and an 11-time All-NBA 1st Team member, thus cementing his legacy as one of the best players in franchise history.

John Stockton

Before the arrival of Malone, the team already secured their playmaker in 1984 when they drafted John Stockton as the 16th overall pick. Although he was not known for his scoring ability, the 6-foot-1 point guard out of Gonzaga proved that he was the best point guard in team history as he set the NBA’s all-time assists record with 15,806.

Unlike Malone, who immediately established his presence in the league, Stockton needed three years to blossom and take over the primary point guard role. He and Malone became one of the most dominant duos in the league, especially during the 90s. Stockton also didn’t miss a single playoff appearance in his NBA career. 

Donovan Mitchell

Drafted as the 13th overall pick during the 2017 NBA Draft, Donovan Mitchell brought back the excitement of Jazz fans. At only 6-foot-1, the shooting guard from Louisville was the first bona fide superstar of the team since Karl Malone and John Stockton. He instantly assumed the role of franchise player in his rookie year by averaging 20.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists.

“Spida” guided the team to five straight postseason campaigns from 2018 to 2022. It was the first time that the team qualified for five consecutive playoff appearances since the Malone and Stockton era. Before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2022, Mitchell represented the Jazz in two NBA All-Star Games and averaged 23.9 points, 4.5 assists, and 4.2 rebounds in 345 games.

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.