Utah Jazz history: Top 5 players whose numbers aren’t retired

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Utah Jazz

Deron Williams, Utah Jazz. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

4. Deron Williams

Fresh off a stellar junior year at Illinois that ended with a National Championship appearance, Deron Williams found himself picked third in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz were in limbo, after cornerstones John Stockton and Karl Malone left the team just a few seasons earlier. The current Utah team had All-Star forward Andrei Kirilenko, but fans knew that for the Jerry Sloan system to really work, the Jazz needed a star point guard. Luckily for them, Williams became that star.

Williams would quickly become a starter as a rookie and made the year-end NBA All-Rookie First Team. In his second year, Williams helped the Jazz beat the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors in the playoffs to reach the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 1998.

In his third year, he averaged 18.8 points and 10.5 assists a game, beginning a three-season long streak averaging a double-double. These would be Williams’ most effective years of his career, proven by his two All-NBA Second Team selections (2008, 2010) and two All-Star appearances (2010-2011) as a member of the Jazz.

Over his five and a half seasons with the team, Williams left his mark on Utah history. He sits at fourth all-time in assists, and ninth in field goal attempts, points, and win shares (46.7).

Unfortunately, a rift between Williams and head coach Jerry Sloan led to him being traded to the New Jersey Nets, ending his Jazz run early. Many fans were soured by the way Williams left, but, in recent years, Jazz fans and Deron Williams have mended their relationship.

Williams is one of the best ever to play in Utah.

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