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Commentary: The 25 best players in Utah Jazz franchise history (25 items)

By Jay Yeomans

July 26, 2013

The Jazz franchise has been around for 40 years, and plenty of great players during that time have come and gone. Utah has had numerous All-Stars, All-NBA players and even an MVP.

Career honors are plentiful in Jazz history as well. Utah boasts seven Hall of Famers and three players named to the NBA's official 50 greatest players of all-time list released on the NBA's 50th anniversary in 1996.

While that list concerned the entire NBA, this list is composed of the best 25 players that the Jazz have ever had.

Note: Even though the current version of the Jazz has a ton of young potential, none of Utah's current players has done enough to deserve inclusion. Since this is a list of the best players in Jazz history, no other part of their career was considered while deciding where each player ranks.

Jay Yeomans is a courier by day and a freelance writer by night. He is the creator and lone contributor to the blog jmoney34sports.wordpress.com. Contact him at jmoney34@hotmail.com

1 of 25. Aaron James

James spent his entire NBA career as a member of the Jazz.

James averaged double figures in scoring in four of his five seasons to go along with more than four rebounds a night.

Those are pretty impressive numbers when you consider that James only played 21 minutes a game.

2 of 25. Bryon Russell



Russell spent his first nine NBA seasons with the Jazz, after being drafted in the second round of the 1993 draft.

During his 628 games, Russell averaged 9.2 points to go along with 3.8 rebounds and more than a steal a game.

Even though Russell was solid offensively, he makes the list because of his defensive ability. Russell took the challenge to guard the other team’s best offensive player and was frequently very effective.

3 of 25. Rich Kelley

Kelley had two different stints with the Jazz. The first four years came while the Jazz were in New Orléans, with the last three after they had moved to Utah.

In his seven years as a Jazz man, Kelley averaged 8.1 points and eight rebounds a game. His best season came in 1978-79, when Kelley averaged 15.7 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.1 steals a game.

4 of 25. Jim McElroy

McElroy was a member of the Jazz from 1976 to 1979 and was a big part of the team for all four of his seasons.

Like Kelley, McElroy’s best season came in 1978-79, when he averaged 16.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.9 steals a game.

5 of 25. Donyell Marshall

Marshall only spent two seasons in Utah but had enough of an impact to make the top 25.

Marshall shot more than 50 percent from the field in both of his seasons, as well as averaging 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Marshall’s best season was his second in Utah, when he averaged 14.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 blocks a game.
1. bigirish
OREM, UT,
July 26, 2013

Too bad two of those players are gone this year who could have helped us and trained the younger ones as well = Jefferson and Milsap. We should have spend the money on them instead of getting those guys from GS. Just hope the Jazz know what they're doing this year. Favors is already hurt and who backs him up?

2. Subscriber
Magna, UT,
July 26, 2013

Jordan pushed Russell!

3. eagle
Provo, UT,
July 26, 2013

I would have to rate Eaton and Hornacek above Boozer because simply they were more durable. Eaton was a great defensive player and for the first 10 years of his career never missed more than three games a season. Boozer was often injured and to me a valuable player is one that actually plays.

4. Long Lost America
Salt Lake City, UT,
July 26, 2013

"Goodrich was still solid for Utah?"

Do you really think you can get by without fact checks and there aren't fans who don't actually remember who actually played in Utah?

5. Long Lost America
Salt Lake City, UT,
July 26, 2013

No Adrian Dantley? Seriously?