NBA draft: Tenth-rounder Dawkins outplayed Jazz's top pick

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In the 1979 NBA draft -- the first in the Utah era of the franchise -- the Jazz's 10th-round pick was a better player than their first-rounder.

The Jazz used the 20th overall pick on forward Larry Knight of Loyola-Chicago. With the 185th pick, they selected 6-foot-5 forward Paul Dawkins of Northern Illinois.

Dawkins spent one season with the Jazz and, in the third game of the year in a lineup featuring future Hall of Famers Pete Maravich and Adrian Dantley, he scored a team-high 30 points in a 107-92 loss to Portland.

"He was unbelievable that night," ex-coach Tom Nissalke said.

How did Knight play against Portland?

Actually, he didn't.

Two weeks before Dawkins' 30-point performance against the Blazers, the Jazz cut their No. 1 pick.

"Knight had no offensive ability whatsoever," said Nissalke. "He couldn't throw the ball in the ocean. ... [But] Dawkins could shoot the ball. He was an in-between size and that hurt him a little. But he had some offensive ability. As soon as he got here, you could tell he had some skills."

Dawkins eventually played 57 games for the Jazz during their 24-win season in 1979-80. He averaged 5.5 points and 2.2 rebounds.

Dawkins' days in Utah were numbered, however, after the Jazz used two first-round picks in the 1980 draft on high-profile guards Darrell Griffith and John Duren.

Dawkins was cut just before the start of the season. He did not play in the NBA again, although he remains the No. 4 scorer in Northern Illinois history after averaging 26.7 points per game as a senior.