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 (JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)
Utah Jazz (JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images) /

Utah Jazz First Team C: Rudy Gobert

As previously mentioned, the positional battle for the Utah Jazz’s all-time big man was a little closer than some younger readers may have expected. As valuable as Gobert has been for the Jazz on the point preventing side of the ball, another towering rim protector gave him a run for his money in the late, 7’4 Mark Eaton. In fact, Eaton bested Gobert in the area they’re both most-known for: rim protection. Gobert’s career high in Defensive Box Plus/Minus (DBPM) clocks in at 6.0. Eaton has two seasons with a higher grade, posting 6.7 in 1984-85 and 6.5 in 1988-89. His career block % also trumps Gobert’s, at 6.9 to 6.2 (and it’s worth noting that Eaton’s figure includes the outliers attached to him having finished a career and aging out of his prime).

Still, Gobert gets the nod for his superior utility as a two-way player. He’s posted positive Offensive Box Plus/Minus (OBPM) scores in every season besides his rookie campaign; a feat Eaton never accomplished.

Utah Jazz First Team PF: Karl Malone

If you were expecting anyone else, you must have missed a memo. Just don’t blame The Mailman.

Karl Malone is the NBA’s second all-time leading scorer, finishing up his career with 36, 928 points. Renowned for innovating the pick-and-roll as a finisher (alongside another Jazz legend who, spoiler alert, you’ll be reading about shortly), Malone was a bruising inside scorer with an array of face-up and back-down low posts move. He was also the owner of a deft mid range touch. His 27% career shooting from three-point range, while not inspirational, is also a solid figure for a power forward playing in Malone’s era.

Malone is the best power forward in Utah Jazz history, and it isn’t even remotely close.

Utah Jazz First Team SF: Adrian Dantley

The distinction of second-best scorer in Utah Jazz history may be somewhat dubious, but it’s one Adrian Dantley earned unambiguously. When your competition is the second-leading scorer in NBA history, you’ll have to live with that result.

We’re hoping Dantley is comfortable with his place in Utah Jazz lore, because the man was a certified, capital-B bucket. From 1980 to 1984, only four things were certain: death, taxes, oddly large perms, and Adrian Dantley scoring 30 points per game in a Utah Jazz uniform.

That’s exactly what Dantley did in four consecutive seasons between 1980-81 and 1983-84, with averages of 30.7, 30.3, 30.7 and 30.6 points per game respectively. Arguably the all time master of the mid range, Dantley was no low-efficiency gunner either, as his career field goal percentage of 54% can attest to.

Utah Jazz First Team SG: Donovan Mitchell

If it feels odd to see two active Utah Jazz players on their All-Franchise First Team, remind yourself that the Jazzmen just claimed the NBA’s best regular season record for the first time in franchise history. They tied the Chicago Bulls for that distinction in 1997-98, and two members from that roster feature on the first team as well. All of which is to say: winning matters.

Luckily, the Utah Jazz have been doing their fair share of it since drafting Mitchell in 2017. He started his career scoring 20.5 points per game and he hasn’t looked back, bumping that average up to 26.4 over the 2020-21 season.

A preternatural three-level scorer, Mitchell has the look of a franchise player for the foreseeable future. He’s already the best player on the current Utah Jazz. The only question left is how far he can climb up the franchise’s all-time leaderboards.

Utah Jazz First Team PG: John Stockton

The NBA’s all-time leader in both assists and steals, with considerable room to breathe in each category. It almost feels like a waste of energy to justify John Stockton’s position as the best point guard in Utah Jazz history. This page has already referred to him as the best Jazzman in history, and it’s hard to find a counterargument.

Everyone knows the NBA’s all-time leader in assists could get dimes, and Stockton’s career high 14.5 per game over the 1989-90 season look like a typo. However, a glance at the league’s all-time assist percentage (AST%) leaderboard drives home Stockton’s propensity for passing even more.

AST% is a statistic designed to measure how many of a player’s teammates field goals that player assisted on while he was on the floor. Stockton is the all-time leader at 50.4%, with Chris Paul checking in at second with a 45.31% mark. That separation is roughly the same as that between Paul and Magic Johnson, who sits seventh on the same leaderboard at 40.86%.

More than just a passer, Stockton was a reliable three-point shooter (with a career 38.4% 3P%) and a stalwart defender, which contributed to his #1 position on the NBA’s all-time steals leaderboard.

Next. Draft steal becomes a 2-year guarantee. dark

There was never any doubt about his position here.