Even though the Jazz have come to the end of a less than impressive season there have been plenty of bright spots along the way. Derrick Favors proved that he deserves major minutes for Utah in the future while setting career-highs in scoring, rebounding and assists in 30 minutes a game. Alec Burks showed that he has the ability to score no matter who the Jazz are facing and nearly doubled his career-high in scoring average by putting up 14 points a night. Gordon Hayward showed that he is a solid all-around player who can score, find the open man, and hit the glass. Enes Kanter has displayed plenty of skill on the offensive end of the floor and has shown that he was a learned much from his time behind Al Jefferson. The big bright spot on the season has been the play of point guard Trey Burke. After a brutal summer and an early season injury Burke showed why the Jazz brass traded up to get his services. In fact, his year was so impressive that his first season with the Jazz ranks among the best rookie campaigns in Utah Jazz history.
Here is a look at the best rookie seasons for Jazz players since they moved to Utah.
Note: Derrick Favors was named NBA All-Rookie second team after a solid rookie campaign, but since he only played 22 games with the Jazz after being traded from the New Jersey Nets he does not make the list.
All stats are from Basketball-reference.com
15t. Raul Lopez: Lopez only spent two seasons with the Jazz before being traded and heading back to Europe to finish out his career, but his rookie season was by far his best. Lopez played all 82 games in 2003-04 including 11 as a starter and averaged seven points,1.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists a game while shooting 86.3 percent from the free-throw line. The best game of his first year came in the last game of the year when Lopez registered 25 points, five assists and two steals.
15t. Bryon Russell: Russell was selected with the 18th pick in the second round (45th overall) in the 1993 draft. He appeared in 67 games (48 starts) in the 1993-94 campaign and averaged five points, 2.7 rebounds and one steal a contest. His most impressive game of the year came in a November loss to the Philadelphia 76ers when Russell scored a season-high 15 points to go along with four rebounds, four assists and two steals.
14. Paul Millsap: Millsap was selected with the 17th pick in the second round (47th overall) in the 2006 draft. He played all 82 games as a rookie in the 2006-07 season and averaged 6.8 points and 5.2 rebounds a night while recording seven double-doubles. He best game of the season came in a November win over Toronto when Millsap missed only two stops from the floor on his way to 20 points. That night, Millsap also added seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Millsap earned NBA All-Rookie second team for his impressive year.
13. Wesley Matthews: Matthews made the Jazz after going undrafted in the 2009 draft. Matthews played in all 82 regular season games (48 starts) and averaged 9.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists a contest. His best game of the season came in a March loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder when Matthews scored 29 points while shooting 6 for 7 from the 3-point line.
Matthews also started all ten Jazz playoff games and upped his averages to 13.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.8 steals a contest.
12. Jerry Eaves: Eaves was selected with the ninth pick of the third round (55th overall) in the 1982 draft. Eaves appeared in all 82 games (seven starts) and averaged 9.3 points, 1.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists a night. His best game of the season came in a March win over the Detroit Pistons when Eaves went 11 for 19 from the floor on his way to 35 points. That night Eaves made 13 of his 14 free-throw attempts and also handed out eight assists.
11. Blue Edwards: Edwards was selected with the 21st pick of the first round in the 1989 draft. Edwards played in 82 games (49 starts) in the 1989-90 season and averaged 8.9 points on 50.7 percent shooting from the floor to go along with 3.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists and nearly a steal a night. His best game as a rookie came in a January win over the New York Knicks when Edwards scored a season-high 22 points while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out two assists. For his efforts, Edwards was named NBA All-Rookie second team.
10. Danny Schayes: Schayes was selected with the 13th pick of the first round in the 1981 draft. Schayes played 82 games (20 starts) in 1981-82 and averaged 7.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and nearly a block a contest. One of his best games as a rookie came in an April win over the San Diego Clippers when Schayes totaled 17 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.
9. John Stockton: Stockton was selected with the 16th pick of the first round in the 1984 draft. He played in all 82 games (five starts) in 1984-85 and played a little more than 18 minutes a contest as a backup to Rickey Green. Even though his minutes were limited, Stockton showed that he could really distribute the ball. He finished second on the team with 5.1 assists a game while also averaging 5.6 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals. One of his best games of that season came in a March win over the Chicago Bulls when Stockton registered 14 points and 12 assists.
8. Mark Eaton: Eaton was selected with the third pick in the fourth round (72nd overall) in the 1982 draft. Eaton played in 81 games (32 starts) in the 1982-83 season and was a presence on the defensive end of the floor from day one. Even though he only played about 19 minutes a night, Eaton finished third in the league with 3.4 blocks a game. Eaton also averaged 4.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists as a rookie. One of his most impressive games that season came in a February loss to the Phoenix Suns when he recorded 12 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
7. Mitchell “J.J.” Anderson: Anderson was selected with the 13th pick of the second round (36th overall) by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1982 draft. He appeared in 13 games for Philadelphia before being waived. The Jazz picked up Anderson three days later and he would go on to have a fantastic rookie campaign in Utah. Anderson played in 52 games with the Jazz in the 1982-83 season and averaged 8.9 points on 51 percent shooting from the field as well as 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 steals a game. One of his most dominant performances came in a January loss against the 76ers when Anderson tallied 21 points on only two missed field goal attempts to go with 11 rebounds and six assists.
6. Thurl Bailey: Bailey was selected with the seventh pick in the first round of the 1983 draft. Bailey played 81 games (54 starts) in the 1983-84 season and averaged 8.5 points on 51.2 percent shooting from the floor to go along with 5.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.5 blocks a game. He most impressive game of the season came in a second round playoff game against the Phoenix Suns when Bailey finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds in a 10-point Jazz win. For his efforts during his rookie campaign, Bailey earned NBA All-Rookie first team honors.
5. Deron Williams: Williams was selected with the third pick in the first round of the 2005 draft. Williams played 80 games (47 starts) in the 2005-06 season and averaged 10.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists a game while recording five double-doubles. His most dominant game of his rookie season came in a March win on the road against the Atlanta Hawks when Williams finished with a season-high 28 points on the strength of a 4 for 4 shooting night from behind the arc while also adding five assists and three rebounds. Like Bailey, Williams earned NBA All-Rookie first team for an impressive first season in the league.
4. Andrei Kirilenko: Kirilenko was selected with the 24th pick in the first round of the 1999 draft, but didn’t make his way to Utah until the 2001-02 season. That year, Kirilenko appeared in all 82 games (40 starts) and averaged 10.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.9 blocks while recording three double-doubles. One of his most dominant games of his rookie season came in a January loss against the San Antonio Spurs when Kirilenko ended the night with 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists and six steals. For his efforts, Kirilenko earned NBA All-Rookie first team honors.
3. Trey Burke: Burke was selected with the ninth pick in the first round of the 2013 draft. Burke has started every game but two since stepping on the court for the Jazz and has averaged 12.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 5.6 assists while putting up eight double-doubles. One of his most dynamic performances on the season came in a December victory at the Orlando Magic when Burke totaled a career-high 30 points to go along with seven rebounds and eight assists. His other truly great offensive performance on the season came in a huge loss to the Golden State Warriors when Burke registered a career-high 15 assists as well as 24 points and four rebounds. With the kind of year that Burke has had, he will no doubt earn NBA All-Rookie first team honors.
2. Karl Malone: Malone was selected with the 13th pick in the first round of the 1985 draft. Malone played in 81 games (76 starts) in the 1985-86 season and averaged 14.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals a contest while putting up 32 double-doubles. One of his most impressive games from that season came in a March win over the Phoenix Suns when Malone finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and six steals. He stepped up even more in the first round of the playoffs when Malone set a season high with 31 points along with eight rebounds before fouling out in a road loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Malone was named to the NBA All-Rookie first team for his outstanding season.
1. Darrell Griffith: Griffith was selected with the second pick of the first round in the 1980 draft. Griffith played in 81 games as a rookie and averaged 20.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.3 steals a night including nine games where he scored at least 30 points. The most impressive scoring night of that season was a payback of sorts against the Boston Celtics. After scoring a season-low two points in the 30-point beat down at the hands of the Celtics in Boston, Griffith got his revenge by scoring a season-high 38 points as the Jazz defeated the Celtics by 15 only three weeks later. For his remarkable first season with the Jazz, Griffith was named NBA Rookie of the Year as well as to the NBA All-Rookie first team.