With the All-Star break wrapping up , the Jazz are ready to resume the season and, hopefully, make a run at the playoffs.
The Jazz have 25 games remaining in the regular season, and are hoping for a high seed this season.
Last year as a rookie Donovan Mitchell took the NBA by storm. He has continued his excellent play in his sophomore season, averaging 22.4 points per game.
The Jazz play at Oklahoma City Friday, against a Thunder team that Utah defeated in the playoffs last season.
Here are some of the most notable rookies in the Jazz’s franchise history.
Let’s talk about the 6-foot-4 elephant in the room. Donovan Mitchell started out his career by getting drafted by the Denver Nuggets. He was traded pretty shortly after that to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Trey Lyles and Tyler Lydon. The 21-year-old has been lighting up the headlines both locally and nationally, coming out as the front runner for the Rookie of the Year award. Mitchell averages 19.6 PPG, hits 43.9 percent of his field goals and 35 percent of his threes. Mitchell’s back on the court Friday night when the Jazz take on the Trailblazers.
The Jazz took a chance on Dante Exum in 2014 when they drafted the high schooler from Australia fifth overall. Exum made his NBA debut in the 2015 home opener against the Rockets, when he recorded five points in the loss to Houston. In 2015, Exum appeared in all 82 games, being the 10th rookie in Jazz history to play in every season game.
Exum sustained a major injury to his knee in August 2015 while playing for the Australian national team and had to sit out the 2015-2016 season while he underwent surgery and rehab. He played most of the 2016-2017 season, but then injured his shoulder during this preseason.
Exum has been participating in non-contact portions of practice, however, there is no timetable for his return to regular play.
Rodney Hood was drafted just a few picks after Exum. He debuted the same season and on March 16, 2015, he posted a season-best of 24 points. His career high came a year later on Jan. 2, 2016, hitting 32 points against the Grizzlies.
Hood was a big part of our last few seasons, but on just Feb. 8, 2018, he was traded to the Cavaliers in a three-team trade between the Jazz, Kings and the Cavaliers.
Rudy Gobert was integral to our season last year, but that epic season overshadowed his first few years in Utah. The 7-foot-1 rookie was initially drafted by the Nuggets in 2013 before the Jazz picked him up in a trade.
Gobert’s big season was last year when he was the rebound king. Gobert average 12.8 rebounds per game. He also hit 14 points per game on average, helping the Jazz secure a berth in the Playoffs.
Burks came to the Jazz in 2011 after being drafted 12th overall. Burks had a pretty successful first few years, though he didn’t make it to the starting lineup until 2013. By then, he was averaging 14 points per game and had a shooting average of .457, the best in his career.
Burks has had some pretty debilitating injuries, the most recent being in late 2016, when he was ruled out after undergoing a procedure on his ankle. He came off the bench in January 2017.
Burks has been on the starting lineup just once this year, and has posted an average of eight points per game.
Yeah, Hayward didn’t “Stayward” but the last near decade of Jazz basketball wouldn’t be the same without him.
Hayward was drafted in 2010 and played 72 games his rookie season, averaging 5.4 points per game.
Hayward played in the 2012 Rising Stars Challenge and in 2013, started every one of the 77 games of the season.
After years of being the face of the Jazz, Hayward left in 2017 to head to the Celtics. In the first five minutes of the game, Hayward sustained a major injury that, if you haven’t seen it on Twitter, looks just awful.
Paul Millsap was an offensive powerhouse for the Jazz. He was drafted 47th overall in 2006 and was considered a Rookie of the Year in the later part of the season. Millsap led all rookies with six double-doubles and averaged 7 points per game and 5 rebounds per game. Millsap played in all 882 games for his rookie year.
Millsap was the replacement for Carlos Boozer in 2008 and subsequently scored 15.9 points per game, soaring over league averages.
Once Boozer joined the Bulls, Millsap was the starting forward in 2010, and remained there until 2013 when he signed on with the Atlanta Hawks.
Kris Humphries is probably more known for his life in the tabloids with the Kardashians, but he got his start here in the Beehive State.
Humphries was drafted 14th overall in the 2004 draft. Humphries never quite made it big with the Jazz, averaging only 3.6 ppg and 11.6 minutes per game in his two seasons here.
He’s spent time on several teams since, like the Raptors, Maveriks, Nets and most recently 76ers. He was cut from the 76ers roster on Oct. 14, 2017.
What would this list be without the Mailman himself? When you think of the greats of Jazz history, Karl Malone is probably your first thought (or second).
Malone was drafted in 1985 by the Jazz. Malone was so convinced he was going to play with the Mavericks, he even rented an apartment in Dallas. But in his first season in Utah, Malone averaged 14.9 points per game and 8.9 rebounds, making his way to the 1986 All-Rookie team.
During his 18 seasons in the NBA, Malone consistently hit between 20 and 30 points per game. Between him and John Stockton, the two were a powerhouse not to be challenged.
Which brings us to John Stockton, the peanut butter to Malone’s jelly. Stockton was drafted just a year before Malone in 1984, 16th overall. He was a relative unknown in his college career, but his following career made him a household name.
Stockton was a 10-time NBA All-Star and led the NBA in assists nine times; steals twice. Stockton was an old-school player, and he and Malone played 1,412 games together. Only four other NBA players have played that many games together. Stockton is widely considered one of the best players who never won an NBA championship, along with Malone.