The Utah Jazz have been around for over four decades. Over that time they’ve had a few signature players in franchise history. In the 70s there was Hall of Fame guard Pistol Pete Maravich. Hall of Fame forward Adrian Dantley set the world on fire with his scoring after the team moved to Utah. The 80s were anchored in the middle by two-time Defensive Player of the Year, center and alleged Sasquatch, Mark Eaton. And the 90s saw absolute domination from John Stockton and Karl Malone — two more Hall of Famers. Along the years the Jazz have featured a number of really good players, but none of them really made the position theirs like the above quintet.
Today the Jazz are looking to make the NBA Playoffs on the efforts of Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert. Sure, the team is really deep, but those three players will matter the most. When looking at the entire regular season and playoff history of the team something popped out. Those three, plus the now broken-up Burkescourt (Trey Burke and Alec Burks) all find themselves in the Top 10 All-Time for total minutes in a Jazz uniform for each of the five normative positions.
Both Hayward and Favors are actually in the Top 5 for small forwards and power forwards. And both are climbing the Jazz history books season by season.
So, yeah, John Stockton is kind of a boss here. If you add up all of his regular season and playoff minutes he rings up the odometer at 54,162 minutes. And that’s over 30% of all of the possible point guard minutes in franchise history. Former All-Star Rickey Green comes in at #2, and former All-NBA Player and former Olympian is getting the bronze medal here. Back-up point guards Howard Eisley and Trey Burke sandwich starting PG in the New Orleans days - Jim McElroy.
No current Jazzman is close to making it up there anytime soon; Dante Exum at 1,817 total minutes is 24th in Jazz history right now.
The Top 3 guys here, Griffith, Hornacek, and Maravich, all have their number’s retired next to Garth Brooks. (I’m not going to get over that anytime soon.) The next three are less impressive, though I will say that Jeff Malone’s contributions need to be recognized on some level.
If Alec Burks can actually stay healthy he could move up to 6th in the Jazz list, but I don’t know what his role is going to be this year with the log-jam at guard. Rodney Hood, the guy who has the inside track to start, is 16th. If he continues to get big minutes he could creep into the Top 10.
Do you know who has the most small forward minutes in entire New Orleans / Utah Jazz franchise history? It’s the guy who had a mid-2nd quarter time-out walk on the court and wave to the crowd: the AK-47. He’s got over 20k minutes in a Jazz uniform. Next? B-Russ who was selected to ‘D up’ one of the best offensive basketball players of all time in the NBA Finals. Two solid guys. Nah. Better than solid. They probably deserve some sort of permanent recognition from the team. But that’s just me.
Next is Hall of Famer, and inside scorer, Adrian Dantley. AD has his jersey retired. But the guy right behind him is Gordon Hayward. Of course, Gordon is about 5k minutes behind -- so that’s about three seasons (if he stays). Hayward has a chance to move into the #4 spot, and cement his legacy with the Jazz. The team moved mountains to try and be competitive so he wants to stay. We’ll see what happens.
Nearly 30% of all of the power forward minutes in franchise history have gone to The Mailman. Big T Bailey is second, and somehow needs some level of recognition if you ask me -- beyond a token position on TV. Following them are two bigmen who left the Jazz and were All-Stars outside of the #801. I don’t know if those guys will finish their careers with the Jazz, but without them the team would have had many more losses.
Derrick Favors is already sitting at #5 in the franchise power forward minutes list. He is about 4k minutes behind Booz, and 6k minutes behind Thrillsap. Is he going to play 2-3 more seasons in Utah? I hope so.
I guess this is what equality looks like? No one player played over 20% of the minutes in the middle, and five players are between 12% and 6% (rounding). Mark Eaton bridged many eras, and was fantastic on defense when healthy. Memo is probably the best -ever- two-way center in franchise history (not including the shell of HOFer Walt Bellamy who played one game with the team). O-Tag got to play on a lot of teams that went deep in the playoffs, and to his credit, he found a way to get on the floor for Jerry Sloan. There’s a drop off from there to Rich Kelley — one of the only Jazzmen to have played in New Orleans and Utah.
All the way down at 10th place is Rudy Gobert. Gobzilla could jump Felton Specer and Otto Moore after this season. And he could leap-frog Big Al Jefferson and Jarron Collins the next season. With good health he could find himself solidly in the Top 5 before his next contract expires.
|Point Guard||MIN||POS %||Shooting Guard||MIN||POS %||Small Forward||MIN||POS %||Power Forward||MIN||POS %||Center||MIN||POS %|
|1||John Stockton||54,162||30.12%||1||Darrell Griffith||22,441||13.76%||1||Andrei Kirilenko||22,336||12.52%||1||Karl Malone||60,588||28.12%||1||Mark Eaton||27,464||19.42%|
|2||Rickey Green||18,264||10.16%||2||Jeff Hornacek||18,051||11.07%||2||Bryon Russell||19,499||10.93%||2||Thurl Bailey||22,640||10.51%||2||Mehmet Okur||16,130||11.40%|
|3||Deron Williams||17,411||9.68%||3||Pete Maravich||12,654||7.76%||3||Adrian Dantley||18,751||10.51%||3||Paul Millsap||15,911||7.39%||3||Greg Ostertag||15,939||11.27%|
|4||Howard Eisley||9,558||5.32%||4||Jeff Malone||10,714||6.57%||4||Gordon Hayward||13,771||7.72%||4||Carlos Boozer||13,734||6.38%||4||Rich Kelley||11,780||8.33%|
|5||Jim McElroy||7,621||4.24%||5||Bob Hansen||10,494||6.43%||5||Matt Harpring||13,098||7.34%||5||Derrick Favors||10,187||4.73%||5||Jeff Wilkins||9,944||7.03%|
|6||Trey Burke||5,916||3.29%||6||Ronnie Brewer||7,534||4.62%||6||David Benoit||9,428||5.28%||6||Ben Poquette||9,186||4.26%||6||Jarron Collins||8,312||5.88%|
|7||Jay Humphries||4,273||2.38%||7||Raja Bell||6,703||4.11%||7||C.J. Miles||7,923||4.44%||7||Mike Brown||7,841||3.64%||7||Al Jefferson||7,734||5.47%|
|8||Earl Watson||3,429||1.91%||8||Alec Burks||6,028||3.70%||8||Aaron James||7,671||4.30%||8||Adam Keefe||7,747||3.60%||8||Otto Moore||5,546||3.92%|
|9||Jacque Vaughn||3,164||1.76%||9||Gail Goodrich||5,292||3.24%||9||Tyrone Corbin||7,588||4.25%||9||Antoine Carr||6,780||3.15%||9||Felton Spencer||5,150||3.64%|
|10||Carlos Arroyo||3,064||1.70%||10||Gordan Giricek||4,996||3.06%||10||Blue Edwards||7,110||3.99%||10||E.C. Coleman||6,395||2.97%||10||Rudy Gobert||4,524||3.20%|
|11||All the rest||52,932||29.44%||11||All the rest||58,221||35.69%||11||All the rest||51,229||28.72%||11||All the rest||54,417||25.26%||11||All the rest||28,915||20.44%|
I hope this HTML works out . . .
I think it’s fair to say that RIGHT NOW you could make arguments that Hayward, Favors, and Gobert are all TOP 5 players for their position in franchise history. (And if not Top 5, then Top 10 for certain.) I do understand that total minutes don’t always mean much, some players do well in few minutes or move on quickly. I think it’s fair to say that Mo Williams is superior as a basketball player to Jacque Vaughn; in my mind that’s undeniable. But #MoLo is 19th in PG minutes.
You don’t become an icon or put your name on a position in short time, though. Guys like Stockton and Malone have no equals. Someone like Pistol Pete is miles ahead of the other shooting guards who have their jerseys retired. Is Hayward going to have his #20 retired? Or Rudy’s #27? I don’t know. At certain points in time we felt like Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko, and Paul Millsap would be on that path. But all of them ended up playing for other teams after the Jazz, and in some cases did not leave under the best of circumstances.
So it would be niave of me to think that ALL of the guys on our team right now will finish their careers with Utah. I do hope that Hayward, Favors, and Gobert do, though. As these numbers show, they are on their way to eating up big pieces of the total position minutes — and this is without even winning a playoff game.
Even if they do not become glorious icons of legend we do hope that they do at least win some playoff games in the near future. That alone will put them ahead of lots of guys with more experience under their belts in a Jazz uniform.
All of my data here comes from Basketball-Reference.com ; without them I really wouldn’t have much going on in my life. It seems.