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There can only be one

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The voting is finally over and the most valuable player on the Jazz is of course, Deron Williams.  I told you there wasn't likely to be an surprises at the top or the bottom.  But there were a few along the way (at least to me).

15.  Jarron Collins
14.  Morris Almond
13.  Matt Harpring - aka Tonya Harding
12.  Brevin Knight
11.  Kyrylo Fesenko
10.  Ronnie Price
09.  Kyle Korver
08.  C.J. Miles
07.  Kosta Koufos
06.  Ronnie Brewer
05. Carlos Boozer
04.  Andrei Kirilenko
03.  Mehmet Okur
02.  Paul Millsap
01. Deron Williams

Kosta at #7 might not be too much of an upset when you think about it, but the fact that he leapfrogged everyone else below him is.  Rule number one if you're drafted by Utah, just work.  Sloan will play you regardless of your ability if you're a hard worker.  Players like Millsap and Kosta have the talent of course, but we all know that Sloan goes with his trusted veterans over the youngsters the majority of the time.  So the fact that these two have cracked Sloan's circle of trust speaks volumes.  Fess might finally be learning that.

Like I stated in my first post about this, the positions in the middle could have gone pretty much any way.  I would have liked to have read some more comments as to why someone went with one player over the other.  So feel free to post your order of the 15 players.  If you missed my first two posts, here's 15-11 & 10-6.  And on to the top 5:

5 - Mehmet Okur

Unless he gets blown away with an offer from another team, I don't think Memo leaves.  The biggest reason of course is that he fits perfectly into the Jazz offense and is probably the third scoring option on the team.  Regardless of what happens with the team this offseason, Utah is probably his best shot at winning and getting paid.  His recent inconsistency aside, he leads the team in 3P% with 41%.  We need that to open the floor and to keep teams honest.  I can't say that his D has been terrible this year.  He still fouls a lot, but he handles most centers pretty well.  We need Memo's scoring to be successful as the Jazz are 17-6 when he has at least 15 this year.  The Jazz are 5-10 when he scores less.

4 - Paul Millsap

I know this might be blasphemy to some of you this year.  Mansap has been nothing short of phenomenal this year.  We all know that he's been the league's best kept secret the past couple of years.  In fact, his play this year could very well price him out of Utah.  The biggest reason people didn't think he could play starter's minutes was because he would foul out of every game.  And in his first two seasons he averaged almost 6 fouls a game per 36 minutes.  This year he has cut more than 1 foul a game off of his per 36.  His numbers are up in nearly every category.  With all of that, I don't think that even most Jazz fans expected him to do what he's done.  So why is he at #4?  It's no knock on him at all.  We just need the next three players a little more.

3 - Andrei Kirilenko

First of all, it's a great tribute the Jazz front office for not panicking a couple of years ago and trading Kirilenko.  They certainly  shopped around to see what they'd be able to get for him.  But they weren't looking to dump him for pennies or other bad contracts.  Really, who thought that AK would still be with the team right now?  I didn't.  I had just purchased an AK jersey for my boy and thought I had just wasted $30.  Thankfully, my boy has outgrown that now.  Since that time, AK's scoring has gone up and he's back contributing his early-season numbers.  There's a certain je ne sais quoi that you get from Kirilenko that puts him slightly above Millsap.  They're pretty even across the board stat-wise.  They score pretty much the same per 36 with Millsap rebounding more while AK has more steals, assists, and blocks.  I would even venture to say that AK knows just as much about the intricacies of the offense as Deron does.  He's certainly been in the system longer.  And his help defense is probably the best in the league.  And who else in the league can guard any other type of player in the league from PG to C?  His contract gets more and more palpable every game.  We'll see how the Jazz do with him out for a month.

2 - Carlos Boozer

Let's cut to the chase, we need his offense.  Flat out, he's one of the best offensive players in the game.  We know he "coasts" on defense.  But for all of the flak he gets for not playing D, where are the Jazz defensively as a team?  They're giving up 99.6 points a game this year compared to 99.3 last year.  We're 14th in the league in defensive rating compared to 12th last year.  So if anything, we've been a little worse with Boozer out a majority of the games.  There are other factors of course that play into that.  But the glaring issue this year has been the offense.  Deron has been back a while and we're still only 9th in the league in offensive rating.  Last year we were 1st.  We're only scoring 101.7 points a game compared to 106.2 in 2007-08.  You can do the math on the point differential.  As great as Millsap has been this year, we need Carlos Boozer's offense.  I pray every night that we'll be able to keep both of them though.

1 - Deron Williams

Pick your jaw up off the floor.  I know you're a bit taken back by Deron being #1.  The unequivocal leader and best player on the team.  There's not much more that needs to be said that you don't know.  The biggest reason for me why he will trump the rest of the team is his tenacious drive and determination.  You know that with his type of personality, it must have physically pained him to not be starting as a rookie and playing behind the likes of Milt Palacio and Keith McLeod.  But he finally learned rule number one for rookies in the Sloan system and went to work.  By season's end he became the leader of the team not by declaring himself as such, but through his game play and desire to win at all costs.  He has that rare killer instinct that the great players have to go along with the talent.  He's an All-Star bridesmaid, but he's one of the best point guards in the game.  And he's only going to get better.