by Daniel Olsen
With the season less than a month away, it will be interesting to see how the Utah Jazz leadership responds after another heartbreak loss. They will have the chance to prove themselves in the playoffs. While winning in the regular season is nice, it’s more important to be a 16-game team than an 82-game team. With that being said, it’s time to look at the top five point guards that paved the way for the Jazz organization.
5. Rickey Green
This name might not be as familiar to the younger Jazz generation, but Rickey Green was absolutely a pioneer for the Jazz at the point guard position that paved the way for others after him. While he had shorter stints with other teams, he had an eight-year career with the Jazz in between. His time in Utah was longer than his career with all other teams combined.
In that time from 1980-1988 the Jazz slowly evolved from a perennial doormat to a playoff team. The franchise was salvaged as owner Larry H. Miller was almost forced to sell the team to Minnesota. Green helped keep the Jazz afloat by helping the team advance to the playoffs during the latter half of his Jazz career.
In this span, Green was a solid double-digit scorer and had a solid amount of assists as well. He was named an NBA All-Star in 1984 and also was the league leader in steals. He paved the way for his successor who will be talked about later in this list.
4. Jeff Hornacek
While Hornacek was a shooting guard, he also spent valuable time at point guard. He has one of the smoothest three-point strokes in Jazz history and also was money from the charity stripe as he finished his career with an 87 percent clip at the free throw line. He even averaged 95 percent from the line in his last season.
He was the closest Jazz player ever to achieving the pinnacle of efficient shooting: the 50-40-90 club. Only 10 NBA players and one WNBA player have ever achieved this in a season. Hornacek was close, but didn’t quite establish himself as one of the best shooters ever. He is definitely one of the best marksmen in Jazz history though.
3. Mike Conley
While Mike Conley is a legend in Memphis, his story is yet to be written with the Jazz. The team seemed to blossom in the regular season last year under his leadership. Due to some injuries, he finally received the respect he deserved and was named an NBA All-Star. He also took second place in the three-point contest. In order to pass these next guys, Conley will have to at least get to the Western Conference Finals on the Jazz, and maybe even win a title or two if he wants to be number one.
2. Deron Williams
Deron Williams didn’t have the best exit. However, he sure made a splash of an entrance when he started with the Jazz. In just his second year, he and fellow teammate Carlos Boozer formed a dynamic duo that pushed the Jazz to the Western Conference Finals.
Williams also played on the Team USA squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He was also a three-time NBA All-Star with two of them coming in his last two seasons in Utah. He made amends with Coach Jerry Sloan prior to his passing. While he was talented, the number one Jazz player at the point guard position is unmatched by every other point guard in Jazz history. He might be unmatched by most in NBA history too.
1. John Stockton
Here is a list of accolades that prove why Stockton is not only the greatest point guard in Jazz history, but one of the greatest in NBA history as well:
• NBA leader in career assists and steals
• Only point guard to ever start for Jazz in the finals and in back-to-back years
• Ten-time All-Star
• 1993 All-Star co-MVP with teammate Karl Malone
• Number retired by the Utah Jazz
• Spent entire career with the Jazz
• Named to an All-NBA team in 11 seasons of his career
The choice might be tough for some when ranking the best point guards throughout the entire NBA history, but when looking for a traditional two-way point guard, there is no better choice than the king of assists and steals is the best guy to lead a team. He happened to play for some of the best Utah Jazz teams ever. That is no coincidence.
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images
One thought on “Utah Jazz: Ranking the Top Five Point Guards”
Pete “The Pistol” Maravich was perhaps the greatest PG of all time in the NBA when you consider his entire skillset. John Stockton has to be the best all-time Jazz PG, due to the number of games he played for the Jazz in Utah. Stockton certainly is the top PG when it comes to assists and steals. Pete was the most incredible shooter and scorer the NBA has ever scene in his prime IMO. Pete “The Pistol” Maravich certainly has to no less than second to John Stockton in Jazz history.