NBA: The all-time starting 5 of the Utah Jazz
Founded in 1974, the Utah Jazz started in New Orleans with “Pistol” Pete Maravich as its first superstar. However, there was little success in the Big Easy with the team relocating to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1979. It took four more years before the Jazz became perennial contenders in the Western Conference.
The arrival of John Stockton in 1984 and Karl Malone in 1985 changed the fortunes of the Jazz. The greatest duo in NBA history guided the Jazz to 18 straight postseason appearances that included two trips to the NBA Finals, which resulted in two defeats at the hands of the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls.
Besides Stockton and Malone, the Jazz has produced some good players in its history. Here are the five players who made the all-time starting five of the Utah Jazz.
Center – Mark Eaton
One of the best defensive big men in NBA history, Mark Eaton spent his entire 11-year career with the Utah Jazz. Even though he had limited offence, Eaton used his towering 7’4” frame to block shots left and right. He ranks second in rebounds and first in blocks in Utah’s all-time leaderboards.
Eaton was also a one-time All-Star and a two-time Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and 1989. His 456 total blocks in the 1984-85 season are still the NBA record for most blocks in a season. Knee and back injuries due to his height and weight limited him in the final few years of his career. In 1996, the Jazz retired his No. 53 jersey.
Honourable Mention: Mehmet Okur
In seven seasons with the Jazz, Mehmet Okur was one of the best shooters in the NBA despite playing the center position. Okur was also a clutch player, earning the love of Jazz fans.
He was an All-Star in 2007 when he averaged 17.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists while shooting 38.4 per cent from threes.