If not for Jerry Sloan on the sidelines, it would be hard to recognize the Jazz of the 2000’s. It’s not like they missed a beat in the 2000’s, but it is just so odd to look at them on the floor and not see Stockton and Malone. Both superstars only played for the Jazz for three seasons in the 2000’s, but the Jazz have transitioned nicely with Deron Williams and company. Give credit to the Jazz brass for sticking with Jerry Sloan and having faith that he could engineer a playoff team while turning to a youth movement. Here are the best five Utah Jazz from 2001-2010. (Only accomplishments and stats while playing for the Utah Jazz from 2000-2010 were considered.)
1. Deron Williams
Williams isn’t quite the point guard that Stockton ever was in his best years, but he is darn good, and for all intensive purposes was the better point guard between the two in the 2000’s. That, of course, is for the obvious reasons that in the 2000’s, Stockton only played three seasons to Williams’ five and that Stockton was at the very tail end of his tremendous career. It is time we stop comparing Deron to the ghost of Stockton, and realize how good he has been throughout his first five seasons in the NBA. He has career averages of 16.2 points and 9.0 assists per game and has led the Jazz to the playoffs for the last four seasons. Oddly, he has been twice named to the All-NBA second team, but has only made one All-Star team.
2. Carlos Boozer
After turning in a double double in his second season for the Cleveland Cavs, Boozer bolted for the Jazz for the 2004-05 season in a controversial free agent move. Under the intention that they were inking Boozer to a new long-term deal, the Cavs let Boozer become a restricted free agent after his second season. Boozer struggled with injuries during his six seasons with the Jazz, but when healthy, tore up opposing power forwards to the tune of over 17 points and over 10 rebounds a game. He was a Western Conference All-Star in 2007 and 2008.
3. Andrei Kirilenko
The Jazz drafted Kirilenko 24th overall in the 1999 NBA draft, but Kirilenko did not join the team until the 2001-02 season. At one time during his nine seasons with the Jazz, Kirilenko was considered to be one of the best all around stat sheet stuffing fantasy basketball studs in the whole NBA. While he didn’t keep up that level of play long enough to be considered an NBA star, he did manage to average 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.1 blocked shots per game in the 2000’s. He was selected for one All-Defensive NBA first team and two All-Defensive NBA second teams. He made his only Western Conference All-Star team in 2004.
4. Karl Malone
The Mailman dominated opposing power forwards as a member of the Utah Jazz in the 80’s, 90’s and then for three seasons of the 2000’s. In his last three seasons with the Jazz, the NBA’s career points scored leader put in over 20 points a game. The Jazz retired his #32 jersey in 2006.
5. John Stockton
The other half of the Batman and Robin type duo for the Jazz, Stockton is considered to be among the most elite point guards to ever play in the NBA. His last three seasons with the Jazz, Stockton still had enough juice left to conjure up over 10 points and 7.5 assists per game.