SALT LAKE CITY — Outside Zions Bank Basketball Center, life went on unawares. Inside, it was business as usual on NBA draft day.
Thanks to the smooth execution of a trade, rendering the Jazz’s first-round pick meaningless, Thursday’s NBA draft proceedings were sleepy. The team on Wednesday swapped its No. 12 pick for veteran Pacers’ guard George Hill.
The only item of business remaining for the Jazz was to make the 42nd, 52nd and 60th picks. They traded the 42nd for the 55th pick and cash, leaving them with three of the night’s last nine picks.
That’s like selecting a toaster.
But at 52 they claimed Weber State’s Joel Bolomboy. It couldn’t hurt. Local guy, no guarantees, only gas money to the summer league. Then came North Carolina’s Marcus Paige at No. 55, followed by Cal’s Tyrone Wallace at No. 60.
The Jazz’s night’s work was done.
In Brooklyn, NBA assistant commissioner Mark Tatum called the last name, thanked ESPN and NBA fans everywhere and added, “Good night, everyone.”
Outside at ZBBC, trees soughed in the night air.
Earlier in the night, commissioner Adam Silver had said, “With the 12th pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz select Taurean Prince, from Baylor University.”
Back in Salt Lake, nobody clapped, though someone in the pressroom said with game show enthusiasm, “Welcome to the Utah Jazz!”
Going for laughs — but it was that kind of night.
Prince was going to Atlanta.
That doesn’t mean the Jazz had nothing to do, but nobody really notices second-round picks — odds of them contributing are slim. Those kind of guys play in summer leagues, maybe hang around for rookie free-agent camps. Usually they make their way to the D-League or do the Euro dance.
Not that there haven’t some fine ones over the years, such as Marc Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Mark Price, Dennis Rodman, Carlos Boozer and Jeff Hornacek. The Jazz have a respectable history of finding useful second-round talent: Bryon Russell, Shandon Anderson, Ike Austin, Jarron Collins, Mo Williams, C.J. Miles, Paul Millsap and Jeremy Evans.
At the same time, Utah also used second-round picks on Jamie Watson, Robert Whaley, Olivier Hanlan and Kaniel Dickens.
So most of the fireworks for the Jazz took place Wednesday when no one was around to enjoy it.
Monday was officially the longest day of the year, the annual Summer Solstice.
Thursday only seemed that way.
TV people did their live shots outside in the dark. Live radio shows launched from inside the room. As each pick went down, one of the p.r. people dutifully wrote the picks on the white board.
Draft day is usually dull, unless your team has a high pick. But it’s worse when the fireworks happened the day before. But for the Jazz, it was hard to spoil the feel-good mood. Hill has been on the team’s radar for several years.
The team passed out bingo cards in the press room that included names the Jazz had worked out. Deyonta Davis of Michigan State was announced as the first pick of the second round.
“Bingo!” shouted Deseret News beat writer Jody Genessy.
“What’s your prize?” I said.
“I get to celebrate,” he said.
No one formed a conga line.
At 10:30 a p.r. person said general manager Dennis Lindsey was to be down in a few minutes.
In Brooklyn, the commissioner had probably gone to bed.
“Dennis is walking down the stairs right now,” someone said.
Media were told Lindsey couldn’t talk about proposed trades (hint, hint) until the July 1 moratorium.
Lindsey arrived wearing a Jazz warmup and golf shirt, looking relaxed. He said he was “very excited” about Bolomboy. He didn’t talk about the trade to bring Hill to Utah.
By that time a lot of the media had already gone home.
No problem for the Jazz. It was a good night, regardless.
The best draft nights are sometimes the ones when virtually nothing happens.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @therockmonster; Blog: Rockmonster Unplugged