Best Players in Utah Jazz History

The Utah Jazz have a rich history of basketball talent. Several of their top all-time players have been inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame. Several other players, while not all-time greats, left a big mark on the franchise. I’ll start with easily the two best players in Jazz franchise history, Karl Malone and Jeff Stockton, who are interchangeably first and second in most Utah career statistical categories.

Karl Malone

Karl Malone is largely regarded as the best power forward in NBA history. His prototypical power forward body type allowed him to dominate underneath the basket. But his agility out on the floor propelled him to superstar status. His ability to run the pick and roll with Stockton made the Jazz offense unstoppable. I liked Malone’s ability to pound the ball to the rim on one play and hit his graceful jumper on the next. Malone scored nearly 37,000 points, second in NBA history. He is fifth on the NBA career rebound list.

John Stockton

John Stockton is always in the discussion for top five point guards in NBA history. His abrupt style was awkward at times but always effective. I like how Stockton developed his jump shot over the course of his career. He started out being a typical set up guy but evolved himself into being a dangerous scorer. Stockton made clutch plays at the end of games to provide the Jazz many victories. Stockton holds the distinction of being first in the NBA in both career steals and assists. Outstanding.

Pete Maravich

Jazz fans would rate Pete Maravich as one of their favorite franchise players. A lot of NBA fans older than the age of 50 would regard Maravich as one of the most entertaining basketball players ever. Maravich played for the Jazz when their home was in New Orleans. Nicknamed Pistol Pete, Maravich played streetball under control. His flashy style loosened up the NBA before athleticism was a thing. Maravich was one of my favorite players to watch because his outstanding court vision always led to a surprising play to score a basket.

Adrian Dantley

Adrian Dantley remains one of the more productive Jazz players. Although not in the top ten for Jazz games played, Dantley, the Notre Dame product, lands in the top ten for minutes played, assists and steals. Only Stockton and Malone scored more points than Dantley, who did most of his damage in the paint.

Mark Eaton

Eaton was a seven footer who clogged the lane and blocked shots. I never cared much for his game and I was surprised to see how well he stacks up on the Jazz career lists: 3rd in games and minutes played, second in rebounds and first in blocked shots. Eaton was a prototypical big man in the middle who wasn’t flashy but helped his team to win a lot of games, particularly on the defensive end.

Deron Williams

Deron Williams began his jazz career putting up some nice numbers and becoming a fan favorite. Unfortunately, Williams moved on to other teams and his career began to bottom out. Williams was a top five point guard during his Jazz years. I liked his smooth passing, decision making and ability to make big shots.

Gordon Hayward

Of current Jazz players, Gordon Hayward is the most likely to distinguish himself in Jazz history. Hayward, who is in his 7th season with the Jazz, has already reached the top ten for assists and is second all time in three-point shots made. I like Hayward’s overall skill set and Indiana bloodline.

Stats taken from basketball-reference.com

This entry was posted on November 28, 2016, in Team History.

Best Head Coaches in Utah Jazz Team History

Introduction – The Utah Jazz
Anyone familiar with American Basketball may know of the Utah Jazz – the official basketball team of Salt Lake City, Utah, and the rest of the state along with it, of course. Founded in 1979, the Utah Jazz compete along with the other national basketball association (NBA) teams as a member club of the NBA league’s Western Conference Northwest Division (WCND).

History of the Utah Jazz
Since 1991, the Utah Jazz have began playing their home games at the Vivint Smart Home Arena – an indoor Salt Lake City arena and, of course, home of the Utah Jazz. The Vivint Smart Home Arena is also the home venue for Utah’s other professional athletic teams such as the Utah Blaze, part of the Arena Football League (AFL), and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

Originally, when the team was first founded was known as the New Orleans Jazz – an obvious nod to their source of inspiration. They were originally an expansion team based in New Orleans until they were moved to Salt Lake City in 1979.

Unfortunately, the Utah Jazz had a rough first start – they were one of the least successful teams in the NBA during their formative years. The Jazz had to wait 10 seasons until they made their first playoffs in 1984, but the Jazz quickly came to understand how important the playoffs are to any successful NBA team. From their first playoff game onward, the Jazz made good to not miss them for 20 consecutive years – until 2004. That’s a pretty good track record for a relatively new team to me.

The Utah Jazz thus far have enjoyed a rich and rewarding career, due no less than being blessed with extremely talented and experienced coaches. Here is a sample of some of the best coaches to ever grace the Utah Jazz.

Frank Layden
Frank Layden first began his time as the coach of the Utah Jazz in 1979. He began not as a coach, but of a general manager when they were still the expansion team the New Orleans Jazz. When they relocated to Salt Lake City in 1981, he then became the coach, replacing then-current coach Tom Nissalke and coaching for the next seven and a half years after that.

Frank Layden was instrumental in both drafting and signing big franchise mainstays John Stockton and Karl Malone in the Jazz. In1984, Frank Layden was awarded the NBA’s Coach of the Year, and in the same season, he also won the NBA’s Executive of the Year award, and the NBA’s Walter Kennedy Citizenship Awards for his esteemed and prestigious coaching talent. He is only one of two non-players in the history of the NBA to win the latter award.

Jerry Sloan – Jazz Coach Legend
Jerry Sloan is the legendary coach who led the Utah Jazz team to become one of the biggest powerhouses of the 1990s, taking over from Frank Layden in 1988. They made the NBA finals in both ‘97 and ‘98, only walled from the title of champions by the Chicago Bulls, led both times by the legend Michael Jordan, a man who needs no introduction.

Jerry Sloan has built a reputation of being one of the greatest and most respected coaches in the history of the NBA. The man had a regular season win-loss record of 1,221 wins, 803 losses – making the all-time third biggest NBA winner ever by the time he retired. Now that’s how you forge a legacy for yourself in the name of basketball.

Summary
The Utah Jazz has had its history graced with talented and renowned coaches over its history, but among these coaches, Frank Layden and Jerry Sloan stand out as the most esteemed, awarded, well-known, and talented Utah Jazz coaches in the history of the team.

This entry was posted on November 27, 2016, in Team History.

History of the Utah Jazz Nickname

The Utah Jazz has a long storied history that goes back to the late 1970’s The nickname though has a unique history as rich as that of the team itself. The main reason that this is so popular is the fact that most people do not associate the words Utah and jazz with one another. There is a reason for that and as a result lets take a look at the history of how the nickname came to be associated with the team. The teams history has been one of the most colorful and rich that the NBA has seen in some time.

Expansion Into the NBA
Here is where it all started. In 1974, New Orleans was granted an expansion team. The team came into existence and soon became the 18th member of the NBA. There was one issue though, no one really knew what to call the new team. Some people had never put any real thought into is as they did not honestly expect that New Orleans would even have a shot at getting the team. Nonetheless, New Orleans did and they needed a name.

The Jazz are Born
After some time, there was a contest that was held to determine the new name of the team that had been adopted by New Orleans. There were a number of names that the people had to choose from. The Jazz, Dukes, Crescents, Pilots, Cajuns, Blues, Deltas and Knights. These were the last names that were to be chosen from. The team went and thought hard about the decision as to what to call the new team. It was June, 7 1974 that the team finally decided on the Jazz. Pete Maravich was the first player that was drafted to the team on May 3, 1974. Steve Brown was announced as the man that had chosen the name Jazz as did two other people out of a random drawing, Brown was announced as the winner and as a result received two sets of season tickets to the first season of the New Orleans Jazz.

The people of New Orleans embraced the name of the team and soon showed their support in a very large way. The Team had one of the most successful inaugural seasons of any team in the NBA. The colors for the team were chosen long before the name of the team was chosen. These colors were Purple, Green and Gold. This just happened to work out perfectly for the Jazz.

Move to Utah
From 1974-1979 the Jazz remained in New Orleans. It was the owners of the team that made the decision to move the team to Utah. While there was no history in Utah of Jazz, the team decided to keep the name and soon the team was embraced by the people of Salt Lake City as being their team. Over the course of the following years, the Jazz became one of the most popular teams in the NBA. All these years later, it is still one of the teams that has some of the most loyal fans.

This is the basic history of the Utah Jazz and the nickname. While it has been a long road for the team, they have shown that they have had some of the most engaging fans in the NBA. As the years continue to pass, the popularity of the Jazz will continue to grow. This is the kind of excitement that the owners of the Jazz hoped for when they formed the team way back in 1974.

This entry was posted on November 25, 2016, in Team History.

2016 Utah Jazz Season Predictions

20003866515_423167153f_bHead Coach Quin Snyder leads the Utah Jazz into his third season with the hope of securing the team’s first playoff berth under his tutelage. It will be a challenge to get off to a successful start with the first three of four games coming on the road versus Portland, Los Angeles Clippers, and San Antonio Spurs. Since Snyder took on the Jazz, the club has increased its win total in 2014 to 38 and 2015 to 40. Just one game separated the Jazz and Houston Rockets for the eighth and final seed. In an attempt to get over the hump, the Jazz brought in three veterans via free agency and trades including forward Joe Johnson, center Boris Diaw, and guard George Hill. All were brought in to complement the team’s young core players.

First, George Hill formerly of the Indiana Pacers provides veteran leadership and production that lacked in the previous year. Hill contributes statistically in points, rebounds, assists, and shoots at a high percentage from the floor, three point, and the free throw line. Importantly, he is effective away from the ball unlike his predecessors. He will be a strong mentor to Dante Exum who should take over as the starter in 2017. Exum is coming off of an ACL injury, so Hill allots Exum time to get his game back in line versus rushing him back into the lineup. This is the final year of Hill’s current contract, so he has plenty of reason to play his best to cash in on a multi-year deal in 2017.

By adding Joe Johnson, the Jazz have the ability to utilize four solid forwards in multiple ways. Rodney Hood and Gordon Hayward are the main backcourt pieces for the next five years. Alec Burks and Joe Ingles will continue to get time off the bench to spell Hood. Yet Joe Johnson will provide the Jazz with a proven shooting guard and small forward that lacked with previous Snyder teams. The Jazz will be able to hedge Johnson as protection for Burks who has struggled to stay healthy. During crunch time, the Jazz can move to a combo of Hayward, Johnson, and Hood which provides even more options to take the final shot to secure a win.

Boris Diaw will give the Jazz a more versatile offense, namely when teams decide to go to smaller lineups. Now the Jazz have four options that can play the five spot with Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, and Trey Lyles. It will be up to Snyder to tinker differing lineups which will come with time. Gone are the days that the Jazz ran out an eight or nine player rotation. Managing time for all of the options will be a tough job for Snyder. All around depth is a good problem to have, yet the Jazz must manage playing time properly to clinch a playoff berth in 2016.

The Jazz have built through the draft for the past five years and now have used their cap space to bring in veterans so that the team can end their four year post season drought. This team is built to win this year yet have the challenge of trying to do so in the Western Conference. Expect the left over cap space should be paid out to Derrick Favors, plus the Jazz have left it clean enough to avoid any issues with resigning core players Gobert, Hayward, and Hill in 2017. The key will be Exum’s health. If he comes back as expected, the Jazz will be able to rid of Raul Neto or Shelvin Mack to fill another need at the time of the trade deadline.