Each Team’s All-NBA First Team- A 30 Part Series: Part 19- The Utah/New Orleans Jazz
With the hype of the offseason coming to an end, I have decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to examine…medium.com
With the hype of the offseason coming to an end, I have decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to examine each team’s specific All-NBA First Team. What I mean by this is- following the criteria set by the NBA for the All-NBA Team rules, I will examine and elaborate on my picks for each team’s specific All-NBA First Team.
G- John Stockton: 1984–2003
John Stockton spent his entire 19-year NBA career with the Utah Jazz, finishing his career as the team’s all-time leader in games played, minutes played, assists, steals, and made three-point field goals. Stockton was the team’s second best player, but even so, Stockton was still a consensus top 15 player of his generation.
Stockton led the NBA in assists for an NBA record nine consecutive seasons, never averaging fewer than 11.2 assists per game during that span. Stockton is arguably the greatest passer in NBA history, his 15,806 assists is the most in NBA history. In addition to being one of the most efficient offensive point guards of all-time, Stockton is also considered one of the best defensive point guards of all-time. His 3,265 steals is the most in NBA history.
He was a 10x time All-Star, a member of 11 All-NBA Teams (1x First Team, 6x Second Team, 4x Third Team), and along-side Karl Malone, helped the Jazz to 19 consecutive playoff appearances- reaching the NBA finals twice.
G- Pete Maravich: 1974–1980
“Pistol” Pete Maravich was one of the greatest scorers and pure shooters to ever play the game of basketball. His jump shot has been described as “the purest I’ve ever seen” by former teammate Lou Hudson.
After coming into existence in 1974, the Jazz needed a go-to scorer- a guy capable of being the face of the New Orleans Jazz, and they found that guy in Pete Maravich.
During his time with the Jazz, Maravich was the team’s best player leading them in points, rebounds and assists during that span. Maravich’s 31.1 points per game during the 1975–1976 season is still the highest single-game average for one season in the history of the Jazz franchise.
Three of his five All-Star and three of his four All-NBA Team (2x First Team, 1x Second Team) appearances came with the Jazz.
The team never made the playoffs during the Maravich era, but nonetheless, Maravich was the face of the franchise and provided fans of the Jazz with some exciting basketball.
F- Adrian Dantley: 1979–1986
After Maravich, but before Stockton and Malone; there was Adrian Dantley. During his seven seasons in Utah, Dantley displayed a prolific and efficient scoring ability, leading the NBA in total points scored twice.
Dantley was a part of the team’s first and second playoff birth, and was among the most exciting players to watch during his tenure.
From 1980 to 1984 Dantley averaged at least 30 points per game, shooting over 50 percent from the field.
All six of his All-Star and both of his All-NBA Team (2x Second Team) appearances came while playing in Utah.
At the time of his retirement, Dantley was the Jazz’s all-time leading scorer, which he held for a number of years before being surpassed by his two former teammates, Karl Malone and John Stockton.
F- Karl Malone: 1985–2003
Karl Malone, second on the NBA’s all-time leading scorers list, is the greatest player in Utah/New Orleans Jazz History. Not only was Malone the best player on the Jazz in every season he was a part of the team, but he was also one of the definitive top 15 players in the NBA from the day he was drafted until the day he left in 2003.
Malone spent all but one of his 19 seasons as a pro in Utah, leading the Jazz to the playoffs in every one of those seasons with the help of his running mate John Stockton. The Jazz appeared in two NBA finals during that span, losing both to Jordan’s Bulls.
Malone was a 12x All-Star, a member of 14 All NBA Teams (11x First Team, 2x Second Team, 1x Third Team) and a two time NBA MVP. He finished in the top five of scorers a franchise record 13 times. On top of his prolific scoring ability, “The Mailman” was also a tenacious rebounder, leading the NBA in defensive rebounds twice. He was also proficient at getting to the free throw line, leading the NBA in free throw attempts seven times.
He’s the Jazz’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder. He’s second to only his long-time teammate John Stockton in assists, steals, and games played.
Malone along with Stockton were the faces of the franchise and without them, the team’s amazing 18 consecutive playoff appearances could not have been possible. To this day, Malone is still considered one of the most iconic faces of the Jazz.
C- Mark Eaton: 1982–1993
Mark Eaton spent his entire career with the Jazz, ending his career as the team’s all-time leader in blocked shots.
At 7’4, Eaton was an outstanding defensive big leading the NBA in blocked shots four times and defensive rebounds once. His best season came in 1985, in which he averaged 5.6 blocks, 9.7 points, and 11.3 rebounds per game, all career highs.
The Jazz made the playoffs in all but one of Eaton’s seasons, with Eaton as the team’s defensive anchor.
With Eaton on the court opponents were often afraid to attack the pain. His ability to block shots and defend shorter, more athletic players was crucial to the Jazz’s early success during the Malone/Stockton era.