Happy Birthday to retired former Utah Jazz forward Stephen Howard! Howard turns 46 today, and we all want to wish him the best. Howard was a big deal at DePaul University, being waaay ahead of his time being a 4/3 who averaged 171. ppg, 8.7 rpg, while shooting 38.5 3PT% in his Senior season. He didn't get drafted, but the Utah Jazz snatched him up. He played his first two years with the Jazz, 1992-93 and 1993-94, before playing in Italy and France. In his first stint with the Utah Jazz he got in over 50 games during a very "win now" period for head coach Jerry Sloan and company. He didn't get a chance to play as much as he would have, if the team had an NBA DL affiliate. He was stuck behind Karl Malone, Tyrone Corbin, Tom Chambers, David Benoit, Bryon Russell, Mike Brown, Larry Krystkowiak, and Isaac Austin. It's hard to crack that rotation. He did okay in Europe, and came back to the NBA to play with the San Antonio Spurs and Seattle Supersonics -- and our very own Utah Jazz in 1996-97.
Howard saw what it takes to make it deep in the playoffs. Even if he didn't get a chance to play a lot (100 regular season games in a Utah Jazz jersey, 662 minutes; 15 games in the playoffs, 40 minutes), he did make an impression of Jazz fans. He's routinely listed as one of the best looking EVER Jazz players. Also, for the stats guys he could be the "original" anomaly -- his PER 36 numbers with the Jazz were 15.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.5 spg, 1.4 bpg while shooting 48.5 FG%. In the playoffs those balloon up to 20 and 10, with a PER of 23.8 back in 1997.
I couldn't find any game footage, there's a lot of announcing NCAA and NBA footage though
Howard is also one of the best Twitter follows out there, and while he is a TV guy, he's not afraid to break down important non-basketball events that are happening around our world and in our shared era of history. Follow him at @Stephen_Speaks. And seriously, I can only imagine how different his NBA career would have been if he went to a team that understood the value of stretch bigs (6'9 and up).