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Do the Utah Jazz now have the best draft assets in the NBA?

SHARE Do the Utah Jazz now have the best draft assets in the NBA?
Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and new Jazz head coach Will Hardy listen to Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge speak at a press conference.

Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith, left, and new Jazz head coach Will Hardy, center, listen to Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge speak during a press conference to introduce Hardy at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. The Jazz have traded away two All-Stars this offseason, and now have a plethora of draft picks.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Two-and-a-half months ago, the Utah Jazz were one of the most draft asset poor teams in the NBA, as they only had one second-round pick incoming from another team (the Memphis Grizzlies in 2026) and seven picks outgoing, including two first-rounders.

This situation left it very tough for the Jazz’s front office to upgrade a team that had been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, as players on the roster became the only significant assets they could trade.

With the trades of Rudy Gobert and Royce O’Neale in June and the trade of Donovan Mitchell last week, Jazz management has completely flipped that around, as the team will own 14 first-round picks (that includes six of their own) and two pick swaps between 2023 and 2029.

That was enough for ESPN’s Bobby Marks to rank the Jazz at the top of the NBA in terms of draft assets moving forward in a list published on Wednesday.

Marks wrote “The Jazz are an example of how quick things can change in the NBA,” noting that they had signed both Gobert and Mitchell to contract extensions in the winter of 2020 and then had the best record in the NBA in the 2020-21 season but are now entering a rebuild.

In addition to rookies Walker Kessler and Ochai Agbaji, whom are part of the deals for Gobert and Mitchell, Marks observed that six of the Jazz’s incoming picks are unprotected, the most out of any team in the league.

Also, Marks noted that the picks the Cleveland Cavaliers will owe the Jazz begin in 2025, the summer when Mitchell could become a free agent and leave Cleveland.

In all, Marks ranked the eight teams that own 85 of the 210 first-round picks over the next seven years. The rest of the rankings are as follows:

2. Oklahoma City Thunder.

3. San Antonio Spurs.

4. New Orleans Pelicans.

5. Houston Rockets.

6. New York Knicks.

7. Orlando Magic.

8. Indiana Pacers.