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With the 23rd pick of the 2008 NBA Draft the Utah Jazz selected Kosta Koufos, a 7'1" center from Canton, OH. Many Jazz fans immediately tagged him as yet another stiff white guy, and with good cause. Let's take a look back at some of the outstanding stiff white guys to whom the Jazz have provided refuge.
It's not his fault the braintrust (Hi, Rob Babcock!) in Toronto way over reached and drafted him 8th in the 2004 NBA Draft. But, the Jazz agreeing to swap Kris Humphries and Robert Whaley for Arújo in 2006 is mind boggling. As a member of the Jazz, Hoffa was a walking, talking foul, and only managed to average 2.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in 28 games.
A member of the Jazz from 1998-1999, and managed to swat an amazing 14 blocks for the entire season, garnered six assists, and 27 turnovers while playing 42 games.
Possibly the stiffest white guy to ever play for the Jazz. The Stanford Cardinal was drafted 18th overall by the Orlando Magic, and immediately traded to the Utah for Ryan Humphry and a second rounder. Serious question marks surrounded Borchardt after he suffered a broken foot in college, and to the surprise of absolutely no one, he broke the same foot again and sat out his entire rookie season. Making his NBA debut in his second season he managed to break his left index finger, followed by his right wrist. The pinnacle of his career must have been when he was included in a 2005 13-player, 5 team trade - the largest NBA trade ever - and ended up on the Celtics, where he was cut before the season even started.
Admit it, you were searching every Fanzz store in Salt Lake looking for a Foster jersey after that clutch three pointer in the 1996-97 NBA Finals. But, his numbers tell the real story: 3.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 0.3 blocks per game, while averaging 13 minutes a game over four season. You have to love the dude's intensity though, he managed to infuriate Shaq after making a throat slashing motion towards the Lakers' bench after a big dunk. Unfortunately for Foster, his total lack of basketball IQ was responsible for the Jazz letting him walk after the 1999 season.
A quintessential "Jerry Player". He earned his minutes by practicing hard, but didn't do much with them, averaging only 4.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in over 12 minutes per game. The Jazz did manage to package Ben with Keon Clark to get the next guy on our list...
I have absolutely no memories of Googs ever playing a game for the Jazz, but I remember watching him keep the bench warm while sporting a badass...errr...lame barbed wire tattoo around his bicep. His massive contract did come off the books after 2003-04, allowing the Jazz to use their flexibility to sign Memo.
Big Red! Another stiff guy out of Stanford, he played for the Jazz from 1994-2000 where he helped to backup The Mailman. Known for his flaming red hair, and inability to guard anyone he averaged 5.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. In August 2000 he was traded to the Warriors for Donyell Marshall.
Yeah, I don't know who he is, either. Apparently we signed him as a free agent in October 1999, and cut him in January 2000, after wards he went on to play 10-day contracts with the Clippers and the Cavaliers. In his 26 games on the Jazz roster he averaged 1.8 points and 1.7 rebounds in 8 minutes off the bench. According to his bio on NBA.com he collects coins in the off-season. I don't know if anything says "stiff white guy" more than numismatics.
When you think about Tom Chambers you probably remember the 1987 All-Star Game MVP award, or his huge dunk over Marc Jackson, or maybe even his college years with the University of Utah. But, by the time the Jazz acquired him before the 1993-1994 season he was pretty much done. By the 1994-1995 season his per-game scoring had dropped to a mere 6.2 points per game, and spent the majority of his time on the bench icing his knees.
For a moment we're dropping into the backcourt. Rusty came to the Jazz during on a 10-day contract in January 2002, he played well enough to earn a contract for the remainder of the season. He averaged 5.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game, in 16 minutes off the bench. In retrospect, Rusty wasn't all that stiff, and he did a pretty admirable job backing up Stock. (Who else were we going to use? A washed up John Starks?) Ol' Rusty even managed to get in some PT during the playoffs.
Our previous backcourt entry didn't deserve to be on the list, but Raúl sure does. The 24th overall pick of the 2001 draft was hyped as the best point guard in Europe, and the logical successor to John Stockton. He finally got out of his Real Madrid contract in September 2002, and almost immediately tore his right ACL while playing for the Spanish National Team. The Jazz decided to offer him a rookie contract anyway, and he missed the entire 2002-03 recovering from the surgery. By the time he took the court in 2003-04 Stock was retired, and Raúl was backing up Carlos Arroyo in 20 turnover prone minutes off the bench. His knee never fully recovered, and by the end of the 2004-05 season he was openly hoping to be released from his contract.
Did you know he was once a quarterback? It's true. When the Jazz signed in 2002 he was the perfect player for the Jerry Sloan's system: a hardnosed player, who wasn't afraid to dole out tough fouls. Playing along side Malone and Stockton he had the best season of his career, and earned a nice contract extension in 2006. Since the extension he's had microfracture surgery on both knees, leaving him mostly immobile, and unable to defend quicker players. (Quite frankly, all of the players out there are quicker than Harp).
Quite honestly, I had no idea who Pace Mannion was until he inexplicably showed up on the Utah Jazz halftime show. (Seriously. Who is this guy? Was he the last name on the list of people the producers called to offer the halftime gig? Was Ostertag's phone busy?) You just need to take one look at the dude to know he belongs among the stiff white guy ranks. In his two seasons with the Jazz he average 3.3 points and 1 rebound (ONE!) and 1.5 assists per game.
If you grew up in the Utah during the mid-80s you almost certainly had a poster of the Mountain Man on your wall. I know I did. Eaton was a force, earning one All-Star selection, two Defensive Player of the Year awards, and making the All-NBA Defensive First Team three times. (He made the second time twice). The Jazz even retired his number. It kills me to include him on this list, but he was totally immobile - he camped in the paint on every possession, and would have earned the opposing team countless technical foul shots if the three second rule had been around (and enforced) during his peak years. Towards the end of his career in 1992-93 his rebounds average had dropped to just 4.1 per game, along with 1.2 blocks, and only appeared in 63 games.
The final entry on our list, and the man every Jazz fan loves to hate. Drafted 28th overall in the 1995 NBA Draft, 'Tag managed to put together one solid game before Scott Layden signed him to a then massive $39 million contract. Over the years he's managed to piss off everyone in the Jazz organization with his lazy work ethic, lack of conditioning, and general ineptitude. The highlight of his career, at least for Jazz fans, was when in 1997 Shaq O'Neal slapped him silly before a game. Apparently 'Tag has spouted off that he had "owned" Shaq in the 1996-97 playoffs, and that he could stop Shaq anytime. Bad idea big guy, bad idea. In his 11 years in the NBA (ten of which were with the Jazz) Big O managed to average 4.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. I'm fairly certain that if I were 15 inches taller I could have done better.