Sometimes a player leaves his mark on their team through great performances over their careers. Other times their name is written in history for one amazing play at a critical juncture in a single game. You can be a supporting player on a great team, or a great talent on a bad team. No matter what, fans will remember your name if you develop a legacy. There are quite a few notable names in Utah Jazz history -- obvious ones, and some less than obvious.
In order to find out which players were the ultimate biggest pieces of Utah Jazz history I looked at every single player to wear a New Orleans / Utah Jazz jersey in an NBA game. I figured that the players that would have the biggest legacies would be the players who played in the most games, the most minutes, scored the most points, had the most rebounds, dished out the most assists, stolen the ball the most, and of course, block the crap out of the ball more than anyone else.
I made a list of the Top 25 players in Jazz history for each category, and filled in the rest. What we have here is a list of 51 players with the best cases for saying they were a part of Jazz history. The surprising part is when you average their individual ranks, and then find the True List of on court performance in a Jazz uniform.
All-Stars, NBA Finals, Dunk contests . . . these are things that help your name grow. But on the court if you can make yourself a big part of the history books then you deserve to be on this list. Here are the Top 51 players in terms of their average numerical legacies.
|1||Karl Malone||1.86||2||1||1||1||2||2||4||26||Howard Eisley||31.14||19||23||31||51||10||22||62|
|2||John Stockton||3.00||1||2||2||3||1||1||11||27||Gordon Hayward||33.00||38||34||29||45||23||31||31|
|3||Andrei Kirilenko||5.14||7||5||6||7||5||4||2||28||Adam Keefe||33.14||22||30||40||22||63||27||28|
|4||Darrell Griffith||7.57||4||4||4||12||9||5||15||29||Jarron Collins||33.29||12||25||41||24||42||51||38|
|5||Thurl Bailey||7.71||5||6||5||6||12||15||5||30||Ronnie Brewer||33.29||33||32||30||47||33||13||45|
|6||Mark Eaton||8.14||3||3||16||2||18||14||1||31||Aaron James||33.43||25||26||20||25||49||43||46|
|7||Paul Millsap||10.29||10||12||13||8||15||8||6||32||Mike Brown||34.86||23||31||38||19||62||42||29|
|8||Rich Kelley||12.00||11||18||19||5||11||12||8||33||Blue Edwards||35.57||35||37||35||44||41||25||32|
|9||Bryon Russell||12.43||8||9||14||14||17||6||19||34||Otto Moore||35.71||52||39||51||21||34||41||12|
|10||Mehmet Okur||13.14||14||11||9||10||16||23||9||35||Tyrone Corbin||37.00||41||35||39||33||46||20||45|
|11||Adrian Dantley||14.86||17||7||3||11||8||9||49||36||James Hardy||38.57||36||41||53||32||56||35||17|
|12||Deron Williams||16.29||18||10||8||28||4||11||35||37||Jeff Malone||38.71||30||19||17||48||29||37||91|
|13||Jeff Hornacek||16.29||13||13||11||31||6||7||33||38||E.C. Coleman||39.71||50||36||45||23||60||28||36|
|14||Carlos Boozer||17.29||26||17||12||9||14||16||27||39||Nate Williams||42.86||47||43||32||39||59||24||56|
|15||Greg Ostertag||18.14||6||14||23||4||45||32||3||40||Antonie Carr||43.71||29||38||37||46||69||73||14|
|16||Rickey Green||18.57||9||8||10||30||3||3||67||41||Derrick Favors||43.71||51||45||42||26||85||44||13|
|17||Pete Maravich||18.86||27||15||7||27||7||10||39||42||Gail Goodrich||45.71||56||42||34||69||19||29||71|
|18||Matt Harpring||20.29||15||16||15||15||24||17||40||43||Truck Robinson||46.86||83||40||27||18||72||63||25|
|19||Ben Poquette||21.86||28||22||28||16||26||26||7||44||Donyell Marshall||50.00||75||49||44||36||73||50||23|
|20||Jeff Wilkins||24.29||20||21||22||13||38||40||16||45||Allan Bristow||56.71||64||48||46||38||21||48||132|
|21||Bobby Hansen||28.00||16||20||21||35||20||18||66||46||Carey Scurry||59.57||60||78||80||60||81||34||24|
|22||Al Jefferson||28.29||49||28||18||17||37||39||10||47||Earl Watson||59.71||58||59||99||74||22||45||61|
|23||C.J. Miles||29.14||24||29||24||41||31||21||34||48||Felton Spencer||60.00||55||47||55||34||124||83||22|
|24||Jim McElroy||29.29||31||27||25||53||13||19||37||49||Olden Polynice||69.86||65||57||79||43||129||96||20|
|25||David Benoit||30.29||21||24||26||20||70||33||18||50||Carlos Arroyo||72.71||69||67||60||87||25||68||133|
Unless you are a stat geek (like me, or former Jazz owner Larry H. Miller) then you may be surprised to see Andrei Kirilenko as the third best player on average. I'm not. You may also be surprised to see a number of unknown names depending on how crazy of a Jazz fan you are. I was most surprised by Donyell being in this list.
A throw-away point is that Matt Harpring is like #15 in everything. And that was his number.
Last, but not least we have Gordon at #27 already in his young career, and Derrick at #41. The flaws in my method are obvious, I just looked at any single category (mins, games, points, etc) and found the Top 25 guys there. There could be someone who has a much higher average across the board who did not get in the Top 25 for anything. But that is why who we remember in the history books will never be truly fair.
There's no way that people will recognize Andrei Kirilenko as one of the best Jazz players UNLESS they are into stats. Dantley was a titan for our team, Deron willed us to wins, Memo had so many big shots, Pistol was the Pistol, and so forth. But this is interesting when you look at which players the Jazz have decided to honor.
Retired Jerseys (Players):
- #4 - Dantley
- #7 - Maravich
- #12 - Stockton
- #14 - Hornacek
- #32 - Malone
- #35 - Griffith
- #53 - Eaton
By looking at their numerical accomplishments it's hard not to also make a case for some of these other guys. Among them I think it would be fair to at least consider (when they are all retired), Kirilenko, Bailey, Millsap, Kelley (?), Russell, Okur, and D-Will. You can't retire everyone's number. I get that. But these players were big pieces of the Jazz' history.
Their legacies are not completely written yet. But they stand shoulder to shoulder with those who have been immortalized.