Kevin O’Connor Says the Jazz Will Take the Best Player Regardless of Position

May 19, 2011 – 11:10 am by Chris Fedor

When the Utah Jazz traded Deron Williams away to the New Jersey Nets, it sent the franchise into a downward spiral and it was anyone’s guess as to how long that would last. Not only was Deron Williams the centerpiece of the franchise, but he is also one of the best point guards in the NBA. Anytime a franchise loses that kind of player it’s time for a rebuild. Even though they lost their franchise player, the Jazz were able to receive a nice package in return for the All-Star point guard who looked like he was destined to leave Utah anyway. Their rebuilding process might’ve been accelerated a little bit as they were one of the bigger beneficiaries in the NBA draft lottery. The Nets pick that they received in return for Williams moved from sixth to third and while they won’t be able to replace D-Will they should be able to get a quality player that can join the Jazz and be a part of their new, young core. Like the Cavaliers, the Jazz have two picks in the lottery with their other pick being at number twelve.

Kevin O’Connor joined KFNZ in Salt Lake City with David Locke and Scott Garrard to talk about moving up to number three in the draft, what he was thinking when the sixth pick wwas announced and it wasn’t the Jazz, how much their approach changes now that they have three instead of six, if they will take best player or draft based on need, and how much pressure is on them to have two lottery picks this year.

On moving up in the lottery:

“Thank you very much. The basketball gods paid us back for the other one last time. We’re happy to move up three spots obviously to be honest with you.”

What he was thinking when the sixth pick was revealed and it wasn’t the Jazz:

“I’m so stupid I didn’t know for sure. You kinda pause in the moment, but we were thrilled. When we got up to the three of us, I thought to myself wow there’s the first two picks in the draft and at six we’re facing some pretty long odds and fooling around. I’m certainly very, very excited where we wound up. It’s good for the franchise. As Larry (Miller) used to say that’s one for the good guys a little bit as we feel it. Now it’s our responsibility to turn it into the player that can help us towards a championship.”

How their approach changes now that they have the third pick instead of the sixth:

“I think three and six are kind of in the same ballpark as far as the guys you would bring in. Now we’ve got only two people that have to pick players before we pick instead of five. Bottom line. It’s Walt (Perrin) and Dave Friedman and my responsibility to get the right guy.”

On the question of best available versus need:

“Absolutely. Just always go back to the Michael Jordan rule. (Host: Doesn’t matter the position?) Yup.”

On the amount of pressure on the team with having two lottery picks:

“A lot of pressure, but we put pressure on ourselves. It’s self-induced. You wake up in the morning with it and you go to bed with it. That’s okay, that’s part of this job. We accept that. We made the trade and we got the third pick in the draft last year, we got the third pick in the draft this year and we got a point guard that played on the All-Star team and we still have another draft pick from Golden State. It’s our responsibility to make the right picks and turn this franchise back to winning.”

On the idea of this being a weak draft:

“There will be very good players in the top five or six in this draft and it’s our responsibility to get one of them.”

Listen to Kevin O’Connor on KFNZ in SLC here (Audio begins 5:20 into the podcast)

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