Celebrate Andrei Kirilenko Day

Kevin C. Cox

The Minnesota Timberwolves play tonight on the road against our Utah Jazz. It's a big game because they are another rival team in the Northwest Division. It's also important because it's Al Jefferson going up against one of his old clubs. It's also important because it's Andrei Kirilenko (off of a Bronze medal in Men's bball in the Olympics) playing with his new club against the team that drafted him.

I love Andrei Kirilenko. He's one of my most favorite basketball players ever, and in my Top 2 as a Jazzman. A number of fans have poor memories so let's go down memory lane and see where AK-47 stands in Jazz history:

  • #7 All-Time in Games (681)
  • #5 All-Time in Minutes played (20,989)
  • #6 All-Time in Points (8,411)
  • #8 All-Time in FGM (2,780)
  • #8 All-Time in 3PTM (331)
  • #4 All-Time in FTM and FTA (2,520 for 3,302)
  • #5 All-Time in Offensive rebounds (1,241)
  • #8 All-Time in Defensive Rebounds (2,595)
  • #7 All-Time in Total Rebounds (3,836)
  • #5 All-Time in Assists (1,919)
  • #4 All-Time in Steals (960), #6 in SPG (1.4), #7 in Steal % (2.4%)
  • #2 All-Time in Blocks (1,380), #2 in BPG (2.0), #3 in Block % (5.4%)
  • #8 All-Time in PER (19.1)
  • #10 All-Time in TS% (57.1 TS%)
  • #5 All-Time in Offensive Win Shares (37.0)
  • #4 All-Time in Defensive Win Shares (31.2)
  • #4 All-Time in Total Win Shares (68.2)
  • #7 All-Time in Win Shares Per 48 Minutes (.156)

Statistically he's with few peers. He was a defensive force who could guard PG, SG, SF, and PFs -- and a more than willing extra passer and hustle player. He was always active around the glass and in his later years became a solid three point shooter. He was also clutch and got to the line a lot and made a lot of his free throws. He was injured, but still managed to play in about 700 regular season games for the Jazz.

Yes, he was over paid -- but that was the Jazz front office waiting to see the market price (Pau Gasol's deal went through and then that set the price), that's what you get for waiting and having other teams mess things up (Portland Trail Blazers did this with both Paul Millsap and Wesley Matthews). Andrei is a great player, and was one for us. Historically he's Top 10 in at least 22 categories for the Utah Jazz.

That is simply amazing, as his cumulative numbers elevate him over the likes if Jeff Hornacek (his numbers were okay, but played on some great teams), Deron Williams (there was good and bad here), and Mehmet Okur / Carlos Boozer guys who displayed AK from the PF spot to begin with.

Andrei is awesome, and was awesome for the Jazz. And the former All-Star / All-Defensive Team member's place in Jazz history is etched in stone. Even if idiots boo him tonight.

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