Tonight the Utah Jazz (22-14) fresh off of one whole day’s rest, continue their East road trip (Five games in seven nights) and will face the Toronto Raptors (23-11). The Dinos are the second best team in their conference, but just got spanked by the second best team in the West in their last game — a 110-82 extinction level event. The Clever Girls will be home tonight and looking for some level of redemption.
When it comes to redemption I couldn’t help but think about Andrei Kirilenko -- someone Jerry Sloan used as the starting PF, starting SF, starting SG, back up PF, back up SF, and in the playoffs, back up PG. His versatility allowed him to do so much on the court, even if half the time he was doing it out of his natural position. (Which would be a four in today’s NBA.)
Andrei was one of the few non- John Stockton / Karl Malone Jazzmen to make an All-Star team. And as “The Man” of a Jazz team he was a focal point for the defense and led the team to 42 wins. (Point of direct comparison, Gordon Hayward’s personal best as “The Man” is 40 wins with a much more talented roster.)
Back in 2006, when Deron Williams was still coming off the bench for Jerry, Andrei got a chance to spread his wings. And he did it and took off against the Toronto Raptors. His January 17th, 2006 performance was one of the best individual all-around performances in franchise history. He’d finish with 18 points (61.5 FG%), 16 rebounds, 11 assists, 4 blocks, and 3 steals. And the win.
This game is from over 4000 days ago, and a few days shy of having happened 11 years ago. So it’s a good time to relive his January explosion. (Also, yeah, Jerry Sloan gets a tech with about 80 seconds left to play and runs after the refs AFTER the game is over. He was filled with so much fire and passion. He never stopped fighting for his players.)
It’s no secret that I love Andrei Kirilenko. He’s one of the few Jazzmen to ever record a triple double:
- Rickey Green (1984 - in the NBA Playoffs)
- Mark Eaton (1984, 1985, 1985, 1985, 1986)
- Karl Malone (1996, 1997, 1999)
- John Stockton (2001 - age 39 in the NBA Playoffs)
- Andrei Kirilenko (2006, 2006, 2007)
- Carlos Boozer (2008)
Of course, this data is incomplete because blocks and steals were not recorded in the olden times, and the way assists are awarded has also changed over the years. Furthermore, the data set available to Basketball-Reference.com (which I get almost 100% of my data from) is limited to as far back as the 1983-1984 season. So it’s possible we’re missing some Triple Doubles from Pistol Pete Maravich from the New Orleans days. But we just don’t know for sure.
Anyway, it was fun to see Andrei go off like that and show his All-Around game. Who on this Jazz roster is capable of a) taking over a game, and b) having the type of impact like AK-47 did? Is there a player on this team who is going to get a triple double in a Jazz uniform? Hayward? Rudy Gobert? Joel Bolomboy?
Sound off in the comments section!