Former Jazzmen Who Played In NBA Finals, No Rings

May 29, 2019, 5:21 PM | Updated: 5:22 pm
Rasheed Wallace #3 of the Detroit Pistons looks for an opening around the defense of Gary Payton #2...
Rasheed Wallace #3 of the Detroit Pistons looks for an opening around the defense of Gary Payton #20 and Karl Malone #11 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first quarter in game four of the 2004 NBA Finals on June 13, 2004 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. (Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The 2019 NBA Finals begin on Thursday night in Toronto with the Raptors facing the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors. The Utah Jazz still have yet to win an NBA Championship, but they have had players play for the team and go on to win a championship.

There are also players who have joined the Jazz for a short period of time that went on to play in the Finals but came up short.

Through the years, 22 people have had some kind of tie to the Utah Jazz at some point in their career. They would go on to play in the NBA Finals with another organization, but never finished their career with a championship ring.

Billy Paultz

Paultz joined the Jazz and ended his 15-year career with Utah during the 1984-85 season. He appeared in 62 games for the Jazz and averaged just 1.3 points per game. Utah finished that season with a 41-41 record and lost to the Denver Nuggets in five games in the second round of the Playoffs.

Only one NBA Finals appearance to his name in 1981 with the Houston Rockets, Paultz averaged 11.1 points per game in the six game series against the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics won the series 4-2.

During his time in the ABA, Paultz was a three-time All-Star.


Del Harris

The longtime NBA coach didn’t play for the Jazz, but he got his first ABA job as an assistant coach for the Utah Stars from 1975-76, under head coach Tom Nissalke.

Harris went on to join the Houston Rockets coaching staff as an assistant for three years before being named the head coach in 1979. He was the head coach of the Rockets when they played the Celtics in the 1981 NBA Finals with Paultz on the roster. They lost to the Celtics in six games.

(Otto Greule Jr. /Allsport)

He last coached for the Texas Legends of the G-League in 2012 but was named Coach of the Year in 1995 and coached the United States National Team in the 1998 FIBA World Championships to a bronze medal.


Fred Roberts

The Provo, Utah native played his college basketball at BYU, playing three seasons with Danny Ainge. Roberts was drafted to the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the 1982 NBA Draft. He was traded in November to the New Jersey Nets. Seven months later, he was acquired by the San Antonio Spurs. On December 18, 1984, he was traded to the Utah Jazz, where he played in 110 games from 1984-86. Roberts averaged 6.1 points per game while in a Jazz uniform.

Utah traded him to the Boston Celtics during the following off-season. Roberts spent two seasons with the Celtics, which included a trip to the 1987 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. He had a great Game 2 performance against the Lakers with 16 points. Roberts finished with 22 total points in that series, where the Lakers won the championship in six games.

Roberts ended up with a 13-year NBA career, finishing with stops in Milwaukee, Cleveland, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks. He retired after the 1996-97 season.


Adrian Dantley

Dantley began his long NBA career with the Buffalo Braves in 1976 and had stops with Indiana and Los Angeles before he joined the Utah Jazz from 1979-86, where he averaged 29.6 points per game. The Jazz retired his No. 4 jersey.

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Before his career ended, he spent two and a half seasons with the Detroit Pistons from 1986-88. He played in his first and only appearance in the NBA Finals in 1988 against the Lakers. AD was fantastic in that series, averaging 21.2 points per game in the series. Unfortunately, Dantley was denied a championship as the Lakers won the series in seven games.

He retired after the 1990-91 season with a Rookie of the Year award, Comeback Player of the Year and six All-Star appearances to his name.


Wayne Cooper

Cooper’s 14-year career had one stop with the Jazz during the 1980-81 season, his third in the league. The 6-foot-10 center recorded 6.9 points per game in 71 games played in Utah, with a 28-54 record.

(Ken Levine /Allsport)

He went on to play for the Dallas Mavericks for one season before playing for the Portland Trail Blazers for two seasons. Cooper joined the Denver Nuggets for five years and then returned to Portland and in his second to last season of his career, played in the NBA Finals for the first time in 1990 against the Detroit Pistons. He posted 9 points in the five game series that belonged to the Pistons.

He played just one game in the 1992 Finals against the Chicago Bulls, Cooper was scoreless in 8 minutes as the Blazers lost by 33 points in Game 1. The Bulls won the series in six games.


Tom Chambers

The former Ute played 16 seasons in the NBA. He started with San Diego for two seasons before playing for the Seattle SuperSonics for five seasons. Another five seasons in Phoenix featured his first and only appearance in the NBA Finals in 1993 against the Chicago Bulls.

Chambers posted 6.8 points per game during the Finals with the Bulls winning the championship in six games.

(Getty Images)

During the following off-season, Chambers was released by the Suns and was signed by the Utah Jazz. He averaged 8.7 points per game in 161 games played in a Jazz uniform. Chambers went on to play for the Charlotte Hornets and the Philadelphia 76ers for one season each before retiring.


John Starks

Starks’ 13-years in the NBA was most known for his time with the New York Knicks. He spent eight seasons in the Big Apple and appeared in his only Finals appearance in 1994 against the Rockets. His 17.7 points per game average in the series was not enough as the Rockets won the series in seven games.

(Jed Jacobsohn /Allsport)

Spending his last two seasons of his career with the Utah Jazz from 2000-02, Starks averaged 7 points in 141 games played. The Jazz went to the Playoffs in 2001, Starks’ final season and lost in the first round to Dallas.


Raja Bell

Bell had a well-traveled career, during his 12 NBA seasons, he played for six different teams. His rookie season almost couldn’t get any better for a first year player. He played for the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2000-01 season, when they went to the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. The rookie scored 13 points in five games as the Lakers took home the championship.

(Otto Greule/ALLSPORT)

After two seasons with the Sixers, Bell joined the Dallas Mavericks for one season before signing with the Utah Jazz from 2003-05. He averaged 11.2 and 12.3 points per game respectively in those two seasons. In 2010, Bell returned to Utah to finish the final two seasons of his career. During his four seasons in Utah, Bell posted 9.9 points in 247 games played.


Aaron Williams

Williams began his 14-year NBA career with the Utah Jazz as an undrafted free agent. He played six games for Utah before being waived. The big man averaged 0.7 points per game. His longest stint with one team was the New Jersey Nets from 2000-2004, where he made his only NBA Finals appearance in 2002.

 (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Williams scored 14 points in four games in the Finals against the Lakers, who swept the Nets to complete the “three-peat.”


Karl Malone

This one stings for Jazz fans. The Utah legend played all but one season in Salt Lake City, but when John Stockton retired, Malone went to the Los Angeles Lakers to join forces with Gary Payton, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Obviously, Malone played in two NBA Finals with Utah, but this piece is about players who once played for the Jazz and went on to play for other organizations in the Finals.

In 2004, the Lakers finished with a 56-26 record, they beat the Houston Rockets in five games in the first round, the San Antonio Spurs in six games in the second round, the Minnesota Timberwolves in six games but lost to the Detroit Pistons in five games in the Finals.

Malone averaged a season-low 13.2 points per game in 42 contests during the regular season. He recorded 11.5 points per game in the postseason and scored just 20 points in the Finals. The Mailman played in the first four games of the series, but sat out Game 5 due to injury.


Bryon Russell

Like Malone, this one will sting for Jazz fans. Russell played for the Jazz from 1993-02 and averaged 9.2 points per game during his time in Salt Lake City. He signed with the Washington Wizards for the 2002-03 season and then joined Malone in Los Angeles for the 2003-04 campaign.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Russell posted 4 points per game in 72 games played during the regular season and did not score in the six playoff games. He played in Games 2 and 5 of the first round, Game 3 in the Conference Finals and Games 3, 4 and 5 in the Finals.


Carlos Arroyo

Arroyo was the next starting point guard for the Jazz in his third NBA season following the retirement of legend John Stockton. He was in his second season with Utah when he was pegged as the starter. He averaged a career-best 12.6 points per game during the 2003-04 season.

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The following season, Utah traded Arroyo to the Detroit Pistons and later that season would play in the 2005 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. The Puerto Rican played in six of the seven games against the Spurs and scored 11 points and dished out 3 assists. The former Jazzman’s last season in the NBA was during the 2010-11 season with the Boston Celtics.


Devin Harris

Harris has spent most of his career with the Dallas Mavericks. Getting drafted by the team and playing for the first three and a half seasons in Dallas, which included an appearance in the NBA Finals in 2006. Harris played in all six games against the Miami Heat, who won the title. He scored 44 points and handed out 17 assists in the Finals.

(Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Harris was sent to New Jersey, where he played three seasons with the Nets. During the 2010-11 season, Harris and Derrick Favors were traded to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Deron Williams. After the 2011-12 season, the Jazz traded Harris to the Atlanta Hawks for Marvin Williams. He averaged 12.3 points and 5.1 assists in 80 games played during the two seasons in Salt Lake City.


Josh Howard

Howard played on the same Dallas Mavericks team that went to the Finals in 2006 with Devin Harris. He was the starting small forward for the Mavericks and posted 88 points for a 14.6 points per game average in the six games for a championship.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

After a year and a half with the Washington Wizards from 2009-11, Howard signed a one-year contract with the Utah Jazz, where he scored 8.7 points per game, while playing in 43 games during the 2011-12 season. He then joined the Minnesota Timberwolves for one season and then hasn’t played in the league since.


Donyell Marshall

Marshall had a very long NBA career with 15 seasons under his belt. He started with the Minnesota Timberwolves before being traded to Golden State and played for the Warriors for 5 and a half seasons. The Jazz acquired Marshall and spend two seasons in Utah from 2000-02, averaging 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

He signed with the Chicago Bulls before playing for Toronto and Cleveland. Marshall appeared in the 2007 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. He scored 15 points in the four game series that belonged to the Spurs. After the 2008-09 season, Marshall retired from the NBA.


Sasha Pavlovic

A first round selection (19th overall) by the Utah Jazz in the 2003 NBA Draft, Pavlovic played one season with Jazz, posting 4.8 points per game. He joined the Charlotte Bobcats through the expansion draft but was traded to Cleveland and spent the next five seasons with the Cavaliers.

(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

He played in the 2007 NBA Finals, where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. Pavlovic had a good series despite the result, scoring in double figures in three of the four games, averaging 9.7 points per game. His career in the NBA ended after the 2012-13 season.


Thabo Sefolosha

Sefolosha just finished his second season with the Jazz and posted an average of 5.7 points per game in those two years. He has been in the NBA for 13 years with stops in Chicago, Oklahoma City and Atlanta.

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

During his time with the Thunder, he was an integral part of the 2012 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. They lost the series in five games, but was the primary defender on either Dwyane Wade or LeBron James. He scored 23 points during the series.


Kyle Korver

Korver returned to the Jazz for his second stint this past season after being traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He also played for the Jazz from 2007-10. The sharpshooter joined the Chicago Bulls and the Atlanta Hawks before playing for the Cavaliers.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

He appeared in the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals series against the Golden State Warriors. Korver struggled in the Finals, recording 3.1 points per game in the nine games during those two years.


Deron Williams

Williams was drafted by the Jazz with the third overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. He had an All-Star career with the Jazz for five and a half years. D-Will averaged 17.3 points and 9.1 assists in 439 games played. The rising star requested a trade and Utah granted by sending him to New Jersey for Devin Harris and Derrick Favors. Williams played for the Nets for four and a half years before signing with the Dallas Mavericks.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

During the 2016-17 season – Williams’ last – the Cavaliers signed him for the rest of the season, including a trip to the 2017 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors won the series in five games with Williams scoring just five points, all in Game 4 of the series.


George Hill

Hill played three seasons in San Antonio before being traded to Indiana and spending five seasons with the Pacers. On July 7, 2016, Hill was traded to the Jazz. He played 49 games and posted 16.9 points per game. After his one year stint with Utah, he signed with the Sacramento Kings, who traded him to Cleveland.

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

He made his first Finals appearance last season with the Cavaliers when they were swept by the Warriors. Hill scored 7.5 points per game through the Finals. Earlier this season, he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, who were just eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals in six games by the Toronto Raptors.


Rodney Hood

Hood was drafted by the Jazz in the first round (23rd overall) in the 2014 NBA Draft. After two and a half season, Hood was traded to Cleveland, where he appeared in the NBA Finals last season.

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

He had 15 points in Game 3 and 10 points in Game 4 of the Finals, where the Warriors swept the Cavaliers. Before those two games, Hood had just two points total in Games 1 and 2. He was traded to Portland earlier this year and played the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

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