Utah Jazz: 5 most underrated players in franchise history

Bryon Russell of the Utah Jazz (Photo by GEORGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images)
Bryon Russell of the Utah Jazz (Photo by GEORGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images) /
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Utah Jazz
Darrell Griffith of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

One may think that any man referred to as “Dr. Dunkenstein” would be widely remembered no matter what their career accomplishments. Particularly if that player claims four seasons averaging at least 20 points per game. In the case of Darrell Griffith, one would be wrong.

Griffith played for a Utah Jazz team that was fresh off a move from New Orleans and struggling to find their footing in the NBA. Put differently: they did not win very many games throughout Griffith’s 10-year career spent entirely with the Jazz. Just don’t blame the doctor.

From 1980-81 to 1984-85, Griffith averaged under 20 points per game once, scoring 19.8 per contest in his sophomore 1981-82 season. His mark of 22.6 in 1984-85 would be a career high. Griffith poured in such a high volume of points with an elite blend of ball handling and athleticism, allowing him to get to the basket with ease and deliver (you guessed it) electrifying dunks on a nightly basis.

Griffith paired up with several more famous Jazzmen throughout his career, including Pete Maravich, Adrian Dantley and Bernard King. For whatever reason, such an accumulation of talent never resulted in the win totals that the Utah Jazz front office would have hoped. Nonetheless, Griffith deserves to be remembered as a staple of a bygone era of Jazz basketball.

As previously mentioned, he played his entire 10-year career in Salt Lake City. That kind of franchise-loyalty is increasingly rare in today’s NBA, and deserving of fond recollection in its own right.