The Utah Jazz held a fire sale during the time Tyrone Corbin was head coach, unloading nearly a dozen players through various means--be it trades, releases or even free agency--in the past three years. When Corbin was handed his walking papers on Monday, April 21 as Jazz head coach there were still many players who have continued playing into the postseason for other NBA teams.
Many have moved on to have All-Star seasons, while others are enjoying the playoffs for the first time with their new teams--like Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, for example. Even Andrei Kirilenko, old AK-47, has had a rebirth with the Brooklyn Nets--alongside former Jazzman Deron Williams.
Jefferson has enjoyed an All-Star type season in Charlotte, giving the Miami Heat all it can handle in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Likewise for Millsap, who earned his first All-Star appearance this year with the Atlanta Hawks. Even Williams, who was thought to have passed his prime with the Nets, is having a resurgence alongside players like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett--who were added this past off-season.
Millsap is having an unprecedented year in Atlanta, leading the Hawks to uncharted ground and earning his first All-Star appearance as a pro. His Hawks also stunned No. 1 seed Indiana in the opening game of the playoffs. He is averaging 18 points and nine rebounds this year--well over his Jazz career average of 13 points and seven boards.
DeMarre Carroll, Atlanta Hawks
Carroll has exploded in Atlanta, going from being a role player in Utah to a solid starter with the Hawks. He averages 32 minutes per game---well above his Jazz career totals-- to go with 11 points and six rebounds per game. Like Millsap, Carroll has watched his game blossom in Atlanta.
Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks
Korver is Atlanta’s Iron Man, the player who can kill you from outside--just as he could with the Jazz. He is averaging 12 points per game for the Hawks in 34 minutes of play per contest. Even his averages this year are higher than they ever were in Utah--and that includes a sizzling 48 percent from behind the three point line.
Andrei Kirilenko, Brooklyn Nets
AK-47--as he was affectionately known by in these parts--is back from Russia where he played for club team CSKA Moscow after his time with the Jazz was done. Since he’s been back in the NBA he’s holding in okay--though his career numbers are half of what they were in Utah. He’s averaging five points per game in 19 minutes as the Nets look to sweep Toronto in the NBA playoffs first round.
Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets
Similar to Kirilenko, D-Will’s time in Brooklyn--and with the Nets--hasn’t gone according to plan. His numbers are down considerably since leaving Utah (14 points, six assists in his eighth season) but he played big time in the Nets’ first playoff game, a win over Toronto, scoring 24 points in 39 minutes.
Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats
Another nice surprise has been the resurgence of Jefferson in Charlotte, a woeful franchise that the former Jazz star has resurrected, averaging 22 points and 10 rebounds for a Bobcats team that was one of the worst teams in the NBA last year. Though he’s dealt with plantar fascia issues in his foot--something that plagued him in Utah as well--he still played in 73 games this season, averaging 35 minutes per contest.
Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls
Like D-Will, Boozer’s best years are probably behind him. But, he’s still scoring about 14 points and hauling down eight rebounds in his 11th year in the league. He had 11 points and nine rebounds in Chicago’s first playoff game, a loss to Washington.
Ronnie Brewer, Chicago Bulls
Brewer is back in Chicago, added late in the season as insurance for its playoff run after he was waived by Houston. He’s averaging seven minutes per game for the Bulls.
Devin Harris, Dallas Mavericks
The Jazz first would-be answer to D-Will is back where he started, helping the Mavericks at the point guard position. He only played in half of Dallas’ games this season, averaging eight points and five assists in his ninth season. Like D-Will, he had a huge opening playoff game, scoring 19 points in 32 minutes in a loss to San Antonio.
Derek Fisher, Oklahoma City Thunder
You can’t deny you still keep tabs on this guy--especially after his masterful leadership job helping the Jazz go deep in the playoffs many moons ago. Sure, he may not have handled the other part as well but you can’t win em all. In his 17th year, Fisher is trying to help the Thunder win a title, averaging 15 minutes and five points per game.
Mo Williams, Portland Trail Blazers
Mo was the man after the Jazz traded Devin Harris but he has been nothing more than a role player since the Jazz let him go. He averages 10 points and four assists in 24 minutes per game for Portland. His playoff series started out rocky--as he only scored three points in 27 minutes of action.
Earl Watson, Portland Trail Blazers
Watson is in the 13th year of his career now, and only played in 24 games for the Blazers, averaging less than one point per contest. The former fan favorite is on the Blazers roster for the playoffs but hasn’t played a minute as of Tuesday, April 22.
Wesley Matthews, Portland Trail Blazers
Wes Matthews has had the kind of career resurgence in Portland that most players dream of. After averaging just nine points per game in his one season in Utah, Matthews has averaged over 16 points since--leading the Blazers back to playoff contention in his fifth year in the NBA.