10 – Tom Chambers (1993-1995)
Chambers was a hollow vessel of himself by the time he signed with the Jazz in 93. The Jazz had thought they had a chance at Chambers in 88 when he moved as a free agent from Seattle to the Suns – Ah, what might have been. Five years later was too late. And yet Tom did muster one good season with the Jazz before deflating entirely. Flashes of the Chambers of old teased Jazz fans throughout that season as Tom had some big nights. His placing here, in the end, may have more to do with nostalgia than performance I suppose. Then again, like the center position, there is not much to choose from as we get started here.
#9 Marvin Williams (2012-2014)
We’d say, as with Tom Chambers, that Marvin Williams was a hollow vessel of himself when he arrived with the Jazz, but he never was all that much of a vessel to begin with. The number 2 pick overall to the Hawks in 2005 never played like the know-it-alls in the NBA war rooms thought he would. He was decent enough for the Hawks, and found a sub-niche with the team becoming a reliable 3-point shooter the year before the Jazz picked him up as a free agent in 2012 – but all of his numbers dropped off with the Jazz. Still, William became a near 10-5 type guy for the Jazz in 2013-14 (playing the 4 and the 5) and was a starter, and that’s enough to get you on the tail end of this list it seems. And his full name is Marvin Gaye Williams… what’s goin’ on? we had to put Marvin Gaye on our list.
#8 – Adam Keefe (1994-2000)
position that is filled throughout with great players – exhibit A: Adam Keefe, not a great player. He presents, however,
our only chance to get a ginger into one of these lists – his hair color pushes him past Mark Iavaroni, Marvin Williams, and all the rest of the slugs that filled the Jazz’ PF position, when Malone wasn’t on the court, and into the #8 slot. Besides his ruddiness, Keefe rates top ten because of the 1998-97 season. Keefe played 6 seasons for the Jazz, but in 97-98 he started 72 games for the 62-win Jazz. I suppose that Keefe was starting, technically, as the team’s center. Malone was actually bigger than Keefe so he was center in title only – it was the Mailman posting down low. Keefe’s points and rebounds were never eye popping, but in that 62-win season, he shot 54% from the field and 80-plus from the line. Keefe was tough and unselfish – a very Sloan-type player.
#7 Antoine Carr (1994-1998)
The Big Dog played during a big time for the Jazz that included the glorious NBA finals seasons in 96-7 and 97-8. Carr came to the Jazz from the Spurs in 94 and back then the rolls were reversed – the Jazz were on top in the west and the Spurs wanted to be just like the Jazz. So the Big Dog Carr came to the Big Dog Jazz and provided some veteran magic off the bench behind and along side Malone. His numbers with the Jazz were not eye-popping, but his toughness and savvy – and the cool glasses – were the secret ingredient the Jazz needed to reach the top layer of the NBA. Still a huge fan favorite – it was tempting to put him above the next guy. Woof-woof.
#5 and #6 tomorrow – Thanks everybody.
#6 – Derrick Favors (2010-2015)
Now we get into the real deals at this position and the ranking gets tough. Derrick Favors is young and upwardly mobile on this list – time will tell how far up he moves. But for now he comes in at a solid #6. Solid is a good adjective to use with Favors. He’s has been good inside defender who can slide over and guard centers if needed. And he has slowly become just as good on the offensive end. But Favors has yet to move from solid to outstanding in any aspect – and he has yet to win. He continues, however, to improve. He was at 16 points and 8-plus rebounds in 2014-15 and his PER peeked over the 20-mark last season (that’s really good player territory – and by far the highest score of anybody on the list so far) for the first time.You can’t really go to Favors yet and have him carry you for any length of time. And that’s why he’s #6 instead of #3… but give him a few years.
#5 – Thurl Bailey (1983-1992)
Bailey would swoop in “like a big bird” off the break, as Hot Rod used to say, and finger-role the ball in off the glass on the finish – he really did look like he was gliding some times. Long and lanky, he played as much 3 as he did 4 with the Jazz but we’re calling the 6’11” NC-Stater a power forward today. Slight, with an odd array of shots, Bailey did most of his work coming off the bench and was one of the leagues premier 6th men. T’s offensive game was better than Favors’ (#7 on our list) and his length allowed him as many blocks as D-Fav . Although he played his best years with Malone and Stockton, he could carry the Jazz offensively if called on. I remember a game at Denver in 88 – Big T was going basket for basket with the prolific scorer Alex English. Back and forth they went –neither could be stopped it seemed. Bailey prevailed, scoring 41, as did the Jazz. Bailey won that night and he won a lot with the Jazz. He was a major part of the Jazz as they rose to and through the playoffs in the late 80’s and early 90’s. And he gets extra points for the singing voice – the man has pipes.
#4 Paul Millsap (2006-2013)
Millsap led the NCAA in rebounding before being drafted in 2006, second round, by the Jazz. The rebound-champ tag was repeated ad nauseam during Millsap’s first several years with Utah – it was almost as bad as learning, over and over and over again, that Matt Harping played football in high school. But it was clear from the beginning that Millsap was more than a rebounder. The departure of Carlos Boozer in 2010 gave Millsap the starter’s spot and he flourished. In his final three years with the Jazz he averaged nearly 17 points and 8 rebounds per game. Such numbers these days make you an All Star if you play in the Eastern Conference – Millsap has made the last two All Star teams as an Atlanta Hawk but he never sniffed it with the Jazz despite similar stats. We here at LTR always found Millsap to be a bit of a grumpy elf. And, as far as we know, the man can’t sing a lick. Notwithstanding, the undersized but talented forward fits nicely here at #4.
# 3 Carlos Boozer (2004-2010)
We know… we know. Jazz Fan can’t stand this guy. And we agree with part of the argument – Boozer’s game always seemed somewhat disingenuous. And yet, the and-one-screaming power forward could play – at least on one side of the court. Boozer had his best years while playing for the Jazz, and from 2005-11 was considered one of the top power forwards in the league. Averaging nearly 22 points and 11 rebounds per game during that that time, Boozer made two All-Star teams and the 2008 USA Olympic Team. Boozer’s PER of 24 – in 2006-2007comes in as the highest of any of the players on the list so far. The Jazz won 51 games that season and it looked, with a young Deron Williams feeding Booze, that the Jazz might make a run once again. Things seemed to slowly go south, however, after that acme. The concept of “there is no I in team” was a foreign idea to Booze it seemed. He was not motivated much to defend and was labeled soft for his frequent debilitating mystery injuries – remember the hammy? Still, he was a great offensive forward, with stats, on that end of the court, eclipsed in Jazz history by only one man.