SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz already lost their own 2012 first-round draft pick by making the playoffs and now potentially have lost a second after Golden State won a tiebreaker Friday to finish as one of the league’s seven worst teams.
The Warriors will be slotted No. 7 entering the May 30 draft lottery, but another team could get lucky and leapfrog into the top three, sliding Golden State back to No. 8.
If Golden State’s pick is eighth or lower, it will be sent to Utah as part of last year’s Deron Williams trade. If not, Utah would claim it in 2013 or 2014.
The playoff-bound Jazz also would have picked 18th based on their 36-30 finish. That choice now goes to Minnesota as part of the Al Jefferson deal.
Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor was hardly fazed by the possibility.
He noted Utah had two first-round picks last year in 6-11 center Enes Kanter (No. 3 overall) and guard Alec Burks (No. 12), and has two first-round picks from the 2010 draft in Gordon Hayward (No. 9) and Derrick Favors (No. 3), the latter acquired in the Williams trade.
Add in athletic 6-9 forward Jeremy Evans, who just won the NBA’s Slam Dunk title, and that’s five young players on the roster.
“It’s not like we have to have an infusion of younger talent,” he said.
The Jazz also could have two first-round picks next year depending how low the Warriors finish, or two the following year.
O’Connor shook his head at fans who suggest the Jazz would have been better off not making the playoffs as the No. 8 seed just to keep their own pick.
“We’ve got kids that have busted their butt for (66) games to make the playoffs,” O’Connor said. “For us to say we’re disappointed we made them because we didn’t get the 13th or 14th pick in the draft is sacrilegious to me. You keep score. Why not win?
“What have we taught our young kids if we didn’t try to just drag them to the finish line and get in the playoffs?”
O’Connor said that in retrospect, Jazz ownership was “pretty astute” in giving up the team’s own first-round pick for Jefferson, who leads the team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.
Utah will face top-seeded San Antonio in a first-round matchup starting Sunday.