Utah Jazz: 10 Jazzmen whose numbers should at least be considered for retirement

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 14: Larry H. Miller #9 Jersey is displayed during a retirement half time event to honor Larry H. Miller former Owner of the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena on April 14, 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Copyright 2010 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)*** Local Caption ***
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 14: Larry H. Miller #9 Jersey is displayed during a retirement half time event to honor Larry H. Miller former Owner of the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena on April 14, 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Copyright 2010 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)*** Local Caption *** /
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Andrei Kirilenko Utah Jazz LeBron James
SALT LAKE CITY – JANUARY 14: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers posts up against Andrei Kirilenko #47 of the Utah Jazz during the game at the EnergySolutions Arena on January 14, 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Jazz won 97-96. Copyright 2010 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Andrei Kirilenko (No. 47)

In the previous two slides, I talked about the player I most want to be honored with a number retirement and a player who shockingly never got one. Now, let’s talk about the former Jazzman who is actually most deserving of a retirement ceremony.

Without question, that player is Andrei Kirilenko.

When the Jazz selected him with the 24th pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, it didn’t set the world on fire. Skinny teenagers from Russia weren’t exactly en vogue at the time. But when he finally hit the hardwood for Utah in ’01, it was obvious pretty quickly that Kirilenko was as deadly as his “AK-47” moniker implied on the court.

Kirilenko owns the dubious distinction of entering the league 10 or 12 years too early. In today’s game, Draymond Green would be Kirilenko lite. He was undoubtedly one of basketball’s elite defenders and a versatile frontcourt playmaker early in his career.

His confidence took a hit when Williams and Boozer became the tip of the Jazz’s spear offensively and fans bemoaned his massive contract as his tenure in SLC went on. At this point, though, it’s hard to deny that he wasn’t still a defensive game-changer like few others and one of the most underrated all-around talents in the NBA.

Frankly, the current Jazz could use another Andrei Kirilenko now.

AK played 10 seasons and 681 games for the Jazz, averaging 12 points, six boards, three assists, two blocks and 1.4 steals per game. Along the way, he made an All-Star squad and was a three-time NBA All Defensive Team selection.

Next. Emmanuel Mudiay gets stamped with mysterious 'trade pending' status. dark

His name makes too many appearances on the Jazz career leaderboards to even mention here.