Utah Jazz: The 50 greatest players in franchise history

Utah Jazz (Photo by Daniel Lippitt/Getty Images)
Utah Jazz (Photo by Daniel Lippitt/Getty Images) /
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All-time greatest Utah Jazz players: No. 18 Bryon Russell

  • Seasons with the franchise: Nine (1993-94 to 2001-02)
  • Regular-season games played: 628
  • Averages as a Jazzman: 9.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.3 blocks
  • Shooting percentages: 44.1 from the field, 37.1 from three, 74.7 from the foul line
  • Playoff games with Utah: 96
  • Postseason averages: 10.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.3 blocks

OK, so Bryon Russell was on the receiving end of the push-off from Michael Jordan that instantly resulted in the Chicago Bulls winning the 1998 NBA Finals. Let’s get that tidbit out of the way since it is unfortunately the lasting image that many fans have of the strong defender.

Of course, without Russell’s perimeter defense, versatile scoring, and aggressive rebounding across 27.1 minutes per game for that Jazz team or across his 31.2 minutes per game for the one before it, chances are Utah wouldn’t have enjoyed quite that level of playoff success in those days.

A part-time starter throughout his nine years in Salt Lake City, the former second-rounder out of Cal State Long Beach averaged double-digit points four times. And most importantly, every Jazz squad the key athletic role player laced ’em up for wound up reaching the playoffs.