Andrei Kirilenko missed half the season with injuries, but his 136 blocks tied for 13th in the league and his 4.95 defensive stops per game was tops.
Record: 26-56 (14th in West) Points scored: 93.0 (26th in NBA) Points allowed: 97.3 (16th) Coach: Jerry Sloan (18th season with the Jazz)
A flop in his debut, a leading man is better prepared for Year Two
This summer Carlos Boozer had to pass a phalanx of paparazzi nearly every day. The Jazz forward was working out at trainer Gunnar Peterson's Beverly Hills compound, and the cameramen would lie in wait for the fitness guru's high-profile clients, including Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone and Mary J. Blige. Boozer didn't get much interest from the paparazzi, which says something about his 2004-05 season.
The former second-round pick of the Cavaliers left them as a free agent before last season to sign a six-year, $68 million contract with Utah, and for the first time since high school he was the main man on a basketball team. Boozer put up respectable numbers -- his 17.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 52.1 shooting percentage all led the team -- but Utah went 26-56, the worst record in Jerry Sloan's 17 years as Jazz coach. At midseason owner Larry Miller criticized Boozer in the media, saying, "Some nights he acted like he didn't care that much." Then Boozer sprained his right foot and missed the final 31 games.
Boozer spent the off-season working to become a star-caliber player. After training with fellow Duke alum Peterson from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. (his body fat dropped from 10% to 6%), he would hone his basketball skills until noon. Boozer also studied film to learn how to better handle double teams, which he hadn't seen in college or while playing alongside LeBron James in Cleveland.
Boozer says he's ready to carry the Jazz, though Sloan says he never told Boozer that he had to be the guy. "I never said that to even John Stockton or Karl Malone," Sloan says. But it's hard to get to the playoffs if the guys who get paid like stars don't play like them. -- Bill Syken