Naming the Utah Jazz All-Time First Team and more

Utah Jazz (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Utah Jazz (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /
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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz /

Utah Jazz Third Team C: Mehmet Okur

First, a quick shout out to Honorable Mention Al Jefferson. Choosing between the ultimate throwback, low-post bruiser and the innovative Turkish stretch 5 was a chore. Ultimately, we went with Okur for non-stylistic reasons: he was just a little bit better for the Utah Jazz.

In 2006-07, Okur shot 38.4% from three-point range on 4.2 attempts per game. That’s a combination of volume and accuracy that any team would be pleased to receive from the 5 position in 2021. Scoring was undeniably Okur’s bag: he never averaged double digit rebounds, and he exceeded a block per game precisely once, swatting 1.1 per night over the 2009-10 season.

Still, the 18.0 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game he averaged in 2005-06 far exceeded the production expected of him as a second round draft pick. Okur was ahead of his time, and he deserves to be remembered in ours.

Utah Jazz Third Team PF: Paul Millsap

Another second round steal for the Utah Jazz, few players in NBA history have steadily improved their game on a season-to-season basis the way Paul Millsap has. That improvement reached its zenith for the Jazz over the 2010-11 season, where he posted averages of 17.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

That type of well-rounded production has been Millsap’s calling card over the course of his career. Perceived as a rebounding specialist leading up to the draft, Millsap would spend his time in Utah proving he was a jack-of-all-trades, and even a master of some. A versatile defender who can check the perimeter and interior, solid three-point shooting threat and deft passer, Millsap would go on to have his best seasons as a member of the Atlanta Hawks.

Still, Utah Jazz fans certainly remember him fondly as well.

Utah Jazz Third Team SF: Gordon Hayward

Five short years ago, Utah Jazz fans could be forgiven for thinking they had a franchise player of the future in Hayward. Coming off averages of 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, the well-rounded wing seemed like a lock to return to Salt Lake City.

Then, his beloved college coach Brad Stevens convinced him to move onto greener pastures and join the Boston Celtics as a free agent. A single game into his Celtics tenure, Hayward suffered a horrific injury that still impacts his production.

Unfortunately, Hayward’s years as a Jazzman ended up being his best so far, and in all likelihood, the best of his career. With the Utah Jazz having found a new franchise face immediately following his departure in Donovan Mitchell, their fans should all be rooting for Hayward’s success.

Utah Jazz Third Team SG: Darrell Griffith

If there’s one fact you need to know about Griffith, it’s the following: this man was nicknamed Dr. Dunkenstein.

With that said, you should also know that he essentially averaged 20 points per game for the Utah Jazz from 1980-81 to 1983-84 (with 19.8 points per game in 1981-82 being the narrow exception).

Griffith scored in droves over one of the franchise’s least successful eras. Having recently moved addresses from New Orleans to Utah, the Jazz needed a franchise face with Pistol Pete Maravich aging out of his prime.

They didn’t exactly find one in Griffith. Unfortunately, a foot injury in 1985-86 sapped him of his trademark explosiveness, forcing a somewhat premature retirement from the NBA five years later, after spending all 10 of his career seasons on the Utah Jazz.

Utah Jazz Third Team PG: Pete Maravich

If we were going on pure name recognition, the legendary Pistol may have a case for Second or First Team honors. Furthermore, if we were counting his time on the New Orleans Jazz, he’d have an even stronger case, with MVP caliber averages of 31.1 points, 5.4 assists and 5.1 rebounds for the Jazz in 1976 during the era when the team was actually aptly named.

However, the two floor generals listed ahead of Maravich both submitted multiple similarly historic seasons for the Utah Jazz, and so they’re getting the nod over Maravich. Nonetheless, neither can surpass the Pistol’s all-time elite highlight reel.