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Mathematically Speaking, Utah Jazz Select Kansas Jayhawk Xavier Henry

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Mathematically Speaking, Utah Jazz Select Kansas Jayhawk Xavier Henry
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Is it too early to speculate about the NBA Draft Lottery? Certainly not if you root for the Nets, Timberwolves, or Warriors.

Utah Jazz fans have reason to look forward to the Lottery, as well, even as the Jazz currently stand fourth in the West. Thanks to a series of head-scratching trades, the Jazz own the New York Knicks' unprotected first-round pick.

Just a quick recap on how the Jazz got here:

In 2004, the Knicks (then under Isiah Thomas) traded former Jazzman Howard Eisley, Antonio McDyess, Charlie Ward, a 2004 draft pick, and a future protected draft pick to the Phoenix Suns for Penny Hardaway and Stephon Marbury.

Marbury's antics with the Knicks (truck parties, bench poutings, etc.) and current voyage to China need no rehashing here.

Then, a month or so later, the Suns traded Tom Gugliotta and that Knicks first-round pick to the Jazz for Keon Clark and Ben Handlogten.

Yes, that Ben Handlogten.

Slowly but surely, the protection on the Knicks' pick faded until it went away completely this season.

Just how giddy are Jazz fans about this turn of events? The sports anchors on Salt Lake City's NBC affiliate drop a ping pong ball into a fishbowl sporting a Knicks logo after every Knick loss. Seriously.

With the Knicks currently 10th in the East, it looks like the Jazz will be licking their chops come Lottery time, assuming they don't trade the pick away at the deadline.

Where would the Jazz pick? Who would they pick? ESPN's Lottery Simulator , which uses the current standings to "break down 2,184 potential lottery scenarios," may provide the answer.

As of now, the Jazz are ninth in line with a 1.7 percent chance to snag the top pick.

After running the simulator 100 times, here are the Jazz's projected picks:


Xavier Henry, guard, Kansas (selected 93 times)

The 6' 7" freshman was projected whenever the Jazz finished ninth (their default spot) or 10th (whenever a team with a lower percentage jumped them).

With all the trade rumors surrounding Ronnie Brewer lately, this might be a solid pickup who can make an immediate impact at the two. The NBA is more of a slash-and-kick league these days, and Henry can score around the rim.

The thing Henry can't yet duplicate is Brewer's mid-range game. Once that develops, though, Henry could fit in nicely.


Derrick Favors, forward, Georgia Tech (selected five times)

When the Jazz snuck into the second or third spot, Favors was the prize.

A physical freak at 6'9" and 215 pounds, Favors is still a very raw talent at 18 years old. He's averaging nearly nine rebounds and two blocks a game thus far, but has the potential to do so much more.

Or he could join fellow raw talent Kosta Koufos in the D-League. Whichever.


John Wall, guard, Kentucky (selected twice)

On the 50th and 98th attempts, the Jazz hit the jackpot: the first overall pick.

Wall is far and away the best talent in college basketball this season, even after his ill-advised foul and missed clutch free throw in Kentucky's loss to South Carolina on Tuesday.

Despite Wall's apparent can't-miss status, it would be interesting to see if the Jazz still took him, since Deron Williams is in the fold long-term. The Jazz could go for a strong two-guard like Ohio State's Evan Turner, or dangle the pick as very enticing trade bait.

As is stands now, though, the top pick is a long shot at best. All signs point to Henry becoming the newest Jazzman come June 25.

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