Utah Jazz basketball: Ranking the best players of all-time

While the Utah Jazz missed out on the playoffs for the third straight year, there is a great deal of hope for the future. One of the main reasons for that is the makeup of the Jazz roster. There are plenty of young and talent pieces to build around in the upcoming years. Even though some are still very young, they have already made huge contributions to the organization.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to see where the young stars stack up against the legends of Jazz basketball.

Here is the list of the 25 best Jazz basketball players of all-time.

Note: Only what each player did while playing for the Jazz was taken into consideration when deciding the rankings.

All acquisition and statistical information from Basketball-reference.com.

25. Rich Kelley (1975-79, ’83-85)

Kelley came to the Jazz with the seventh overall pick in the 1975 draft. He played seven seasons for the organization during its time in both New Orleans and Utah where he was a very solid post presence. His best season came in New Orleans in ’78-79 when he averaged 15.7 points on 50.6 percent shooting from the floor to go along with 12.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.6 steals in 80 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 8.1 points, eight rebounds, 2.5 assists and a block in 497 games.

24. Jim McElroy (1975-79)

McElroy was taken by the Jazz with the 38th overall pick in the 1975 draft. He spent four seasons in a Jazz uniform while the team was in New Orleans. His best season came in 1978-79 when he averaged a career-best 16.9 points on 49.1 percent shooting from the floor. He added 5.7 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 79 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 11.5 points, four assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 277 games.

23. Donyell Marshall (2000-02)

Marshall landed in Utah as part of four-team trade that saw Howard Eisley and Adam Keefe leave town. He spent two seasons with the Jazz as a part-time starter and was very productive. His best season came in ’01-02 when he averaged 14.8 points on 51.9 percent shooting from the floor. He added 7.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 blocks in 58 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 14.1 points on 51 percent shooting with 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, a steal and a block in 139 games.

22.  Matt Harpring (2002-09)

Harpring came to the Jazz as a free agent in 2002 and never played a game for another team from that point forward. He was a hard-nosed small forward who was a great fit for Utah because of his toughness and impressive midrange game. His best season came in ’02-03 when he averaged a career-high 17.6 points on 51.1 percent shooting from the floor. He added 6.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 78 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 11.9 points on 49 percent shooting to go along with 4.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 474 games.

21.  Gail Goodrich (1976-79)

After an impressive run with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns, Goodrich landed in New Orleans as a free agent. While he was no longer the scorer he was during his early days, he was still productive for the Jazz. His best season came in ’77-78 when he averaged 16.1 points on 49.5 percent shooting to go along with 4.8 assists, 2.2 rebounds and a steal in 81 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 14.2 points on 47.1 percent shooting from the field with 4.5 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 182 games.

20. John Drew (1982-84)

Drew came to Utah with Freeman Williams as part of the trade that sent Dominique Wilkins to the Atlanta Hawks. While his best years where behind him, Drew could still score the ball. His most productive season came in ’82-83 when he averaged 21.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 44 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 18.5 points on 46.8 percent shooting from the floor to go along with 4.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and a steal in 144 games.

19. Derrick Favors (2011-current)

Favors came to the Jazz as part of a blockbuster deal that saw Deron Williams land with the New Jersey Nets. After taking huge strides on the offensive end over the past few seasons, Favors is a key piece to the future success of the franchise. His best season came in ’14-15 when he averaged 16 points on 52.5 percent shooting from the floor. He added 8.2 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.5 assists in 74 games.

For his Jaz career, he is averaging 11.7 points on 51.2 percent shooting with 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 assists in 311 games.

18. Al Jefferson (2010-13)

Jefferson came to Utah in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kosta Koufos and a pair of first round picks in the summer of 2010. While he wasn’t much of a defender, Jefferson could really get it done on the offensive end. His best season came in ’11-12 when he averaged 19.2 points on 49.2 percent shooting from the floor. He added 9.6 rebounds, a career-high 2.2 assists and 1.7 blocks in 61 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 18.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, two assists and 1.6 blocks in 221 games.

17. Gordon Hayward (2010-current)

Hayward came to the Jazz as the ninth overall pick in the 2010 draft out of Butler. He has shown steady improvement over his five seasons and is one of the building blocks for the future. His best season came in ’14-15 when he averaged a career-high 19.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.4 steals in 76 games.

For his career, he is averaging 13.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and a steal in 363 games.

16. Thurl Bailey (1983-91, ’98-99)

Bailey came to the Jazz with the seventh overall pick in the 1983 draft out of North Carolina State. After starting for most of his first two seasons, he was used primarily off the bench with much success. His best season came in ’87-88 when he averaged a career-high 19.6 points on 49.2 percent shooting from the floor, He added 6.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.5 blocks in 82 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 14 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 blocks in 708 games.

15. Jeff Malone (1990-1994)

Malone landed with the Jazz as part of a three-team trade that saw Bobby Hansen, Eric Leckner and draft picks go to the Sacramento Kings in the summer on 1990. He spent parts of four seasons in Utah and was a terrific scorer. His best season came in ’91-92 when he averaged 20.2 points on 51.1 percent shooting from the floor to go along with 2.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 81 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 18.5 points on 50.2 percent shooting with 2.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 279 games.

14. Truck Robinson (1977-1979)

Robinson arrived with the Jazz as a free agent in the summer of 1977. Although his time with the Jazz was short, he was a rebounding force who lived at the free-throw line. His best season came in ’77-78 when he made the all-star game with averages of 22.7 points, a league-leading 15.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and a block in 82 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 23.2 points, 14.9 rebounds, two assists and 1.1 blocks in 125 games.

13. Paul Millsap (2006-13)

Millsap came to the Jazz as the 47th overall pick in the 2006 draft out of Louisiana Tech. After coming off the bench for most of his first four years, he found a spot in the starting lineup and thrived. One of his best seasons came in ’10-11 when he averaged 17.3 points on 53.1 percent shooting from the floor to go along with 7.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals in 76 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 12.4 points on 51.6 percent shooting with seven rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals and a block in 540 games.

12. Rickey Green (1980-88)

Green came to the Jazz after spending a season in the CBA and quickly became a very productive lead guard. He spent  eight years in Utah before the Jazz lost him in the expansion draft in 1988. One of his best seasons came in ’83-84 when he made the all-star game after he averaged 13.2 points, a career-high 9.2 assists, 2.8 rebounds and a league-leading 2.7 steals in 81 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 11.4 points, 6.9 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 606 games.

11. Mehmet Okur (2004-11)

Okur landed with the Jazz as a free agent in the summer of ’04 after winning a championship ring with the Detroit Pistons. He was a perfect fit for Utah thanks to his ability to stretch the floor with his outside shooting. One of his best seasons came in ’06-07 when he made an all-star appearance while averaging 17.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and two assists in 80 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 15.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 474 games.

10. Darrell Griffith (1980-91)

Griffith arrived in Utah as the second overall pick in the 1980 draft out of Louisville. He spent his entire career in a Jazz uniform and was one of the best shooting guards they have ever had. One of his best seasons came in ’84-85 when he averaged a career-best 22.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.7 steals in 78 games.

For his career, he averaged 16.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals in 765 games.

9. Andrei Kirilenko (2001-11)

Kirilenko was acquired by the Jazz with the 24th overall pick in the 1999 draft. It took two seasons before he made his first appearance in a Jazz uniform, but made an instant impact when he did. While he never was very aggressive on the offensive end, he was one of the best all-around players in the history of the franchise. His best season came in ’03-04 when he made his lone all-star game after he averaged 16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.8 blocks and 1.9 steals in 78 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 12.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, two blocks and 1.4 steals in 681 games.

8. Mark Eaton (1982-93)

Eaton came to the Jazz as the 72nd overall pick in the 1982 draft. He spent his entire career with Utah and is the standard to which all other Jazz centers are compared. While he was never asked to be much of a scorer, he was the backbone of the defense for many years. His most productive season came in ’84-85 when he averaged career highs in points (9.7), rebounds (11.3), assists (1.5), blocks (a league-leading 5.6) and free-throw percentage (71.2).

For his career, the one-time all-star averaged six points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.5 blocks and assist in 875 games.

7. Jeff Hornacek (1994-2000)

Hornacek came to the Jazz as part of the deal that sent Jeff Malone to the Philadelphia 76ers during the ’94 campaign. Hornacek was the third piece of the puzzle that helped lead the Jazz to back-to-back NBA finals against the Chicago Bulls. His best season came in ’94-95 when he averaged 16.5 points on 51.4 percent shooting from the floor with 4.3 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 81 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 14.4 points, four assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 477 games.

6. Carlos Boozer (2004-10)

Boozer landed with the Jazz as a free agent in the summer of ’04 after spending his first two seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was a great fit on the offensive end and on the glass during his six years in Utah when he was healthy enough to play. His best season came in ’06-07 when he made the all-star after he averaged 20.9 points on 56.1 percent shooting from the floor to go along with a career-high 11.7 rebounds and three assists in 74 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 19.3 points on 54.4 percent shooting with 10.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and a steal in 354 games.

5.  Deron Williams (2005-11)

Williams landed with the Jazz as the third overall pick in the 2005 draft out of Illinois. He was one of the best lead guards in franchise history before he was traded to the New Jersey Nets during the ’11 season. One of his best seasons came in ’08-09 when he averaged 19.4 points, a career-high 10.7 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 68 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 17.3 points, 9.1 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 439 games.

4. Pete Maravich (1974-1980)

Maravich came to New Orleans from the Atlanta Hawks as part of a trade in 1974. He put up huge numbers with the Jazz and was one of the best scorers in franchise history. His best season came in ’76-77 when he averaged a league-leading 31.1 points to go along with 5.4 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 73 games.

For his Jazz career, he averaged 25.2 points, 5.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 330 games. He was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987.

3. Adrian Dantley (1979-1986)

Dantley arrived with the Jazz as part of a trade that sent Spencer Haywood to the Los Angeles Lakers. While Karl Malone is the second leading scorer in NBA history, it’s Dantley who was the best scorer the Utah Jazz have ever had. One of his best seasons came in ’80-81 when he averaged a league-leading 30.7 points on 55.9 percent shooting from the floor to go along with 6.4 rebounds, four assists and 1.4 steals in 80 games to earn All-NBA second-team.

For his Jazz career, the six-time all-star averaged 29.6 points on 56.2 percent shooting with 6.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.1 steals in 461 games. He was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

2. John Stockton (1984-2003)

Stockton came to the Jazz as the 16th overall pick in the 1984 draft out of Gonzaga. He spent his entire 20-year career in a Jazz uniform and retired as one of the best point guards to ever play the game. One of his best seasons came in ’89-90 when he averaged 17.2 points on 51.4 percent shooting to go along with a career-high 14.5 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.6 rebounds in 78 games.

For his career, the 10-time all-star averaged 13.1 points on 51.5 percent shooting with 10.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 steals in 1,504 games. He is still the all-time NBA leader in assists and steals. He was inducted in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

1. Karl Malone (1985-2003)

Malone came to the Jazz as the 13th overall pick in the 1985 draft out of Louisiana Tech. He spent 18 years in a Jazz uniform and was one of the best power forwards in league history. He was a two-time NBA MVP and an 11-time All-NBA first-team selection. One of his best seasons came in  ’89-90 when he averaged 31 points on 56.2 percent shooting from the floor to go along with 11.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals in 82 games.

For his Jazz career, the 14-time all-star averaged 25.4 points on 51.7 percent shooting with 10.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 steals in 1,434 games. He was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

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