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All-Time NBA Jayhawks: No. 6-10

We’ve examined the NBA careers of former Jayhawks and compiled the definitive rankings. Today, we take a look at the first half of the top 10.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

This is the fourth of five weekly posts that rank the NBA careers of former Jayhawks. Last week we featured five very different players and now we’ll break into the top 10. The top 10 is full of a “who’s who” of Kansas basketball players, so let’s get started. First a recap of numbers 11-25:

25. Jacque Vaughn

24. Bud Stallworth

23. Scot Pollard

22. Greg Ostertag

21T. Brandon Rush

21T. Darrell Arthur

20. Marcus Morris

19. Ronald Franz

18. Ben McLemore

17. Markieff Morris

16. Walt Wesley

15. Andrew Wiggins

14. Nick Collison

13. Dave Robisch

12. Darnell Valentine

11. Wayne Hightower

10. Mario Chalmers

It’s hard to remember, but when Mario Chalmers declared for the NBA draft after his spectacular junior year at Kansas, he wasn’t a lock to make an NBA team. In fact, Mario’s draft location illustrated that point, as he was a second round choice of the Minnesota Timberwolves and traded to the Miami Heat. Mario immediately fit into the Heat team and although not one of the “Big Three”, he was an essential cog in the machine that won back-to-back NBA titles in 2012 and 2013. In seven seasons in Miami, Chalmers has averaged 8.9 points and 3.8 assists over the course of 519 games. In the playoffs, his numbers look nearly the same at 8.8/3.2. That’s pretty good for a guy who was seen as the fourth option (at best) for the majority of his minutes on the court.

9. Raef LaFrentz

Raef LaFrentz spent 10 seasons in the NBA with the Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, and Portland Trailblazers. The quality of Raef’s NBA career was brought up on this site earlier when we was busy steamrolling everyone in his path in the best of the Roy era bracket, but he had a really solid NBA career. Did he have the career that is expected out of the third pick in the NBA draft? Probably not, but he had a good run while he played in the NBA. The 2001-02 season was especially memorable for LaFrentz. Not only was it his best offensive season (14.9 PPG), but Raef was the NBA’s second leading shot blocker, both from a per game average (2.7) and for total blocks (213). He finished his NBA career with a 10.1 point per game and 6.1 rebound per game average.

8. Kirk Hinrich

Kirk Hinrich was the 7th overall pick of the Chicago Bulls in the 2003 NBA draft, and despite playing two seasons total with the Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks, he will always be associated with the Bulls.  In the beginning of his career, he had successful seasons as the starting point guard for Chicago.  He averaged over 35 minutes per game in five of his first seven seasons, and consequently, his per game scoring and assist averages were the best then.  But, if you extrapolate his current minutes on the court to 36, his statistics are comparable.  Over the course of his career, Kirk has averaged 11.4 points and 5.0 assists per contest.  His career from beyond the three-point stripe is 41%.  Kirk is still going strong in the NBA.

7. Drew Gooden

Drew Gooden was the fourth overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft- chosen by the Memphis Grizzlies. Because he has bounced around the NBA quite a bit (Memphis, Orlando, Cleveland, Chicago, Sacramento, San Antonio, Dallas, LA Clippers, Milwaukee, and Washington), it’s easy to overlook his performances on the court. Over his 13 years in the NBA, Gooden has averaged 11.3 points and 7.3 boards through his 760 games. Not bad. His best season came in his first in Cleveland (2004-05) when he nearly averaged a double-double (14.4/9.2). And, although those numbers aren’t exactly superhuman, Gooden does rank in the top 50 all-time in offensive rebound percentage. He also cracked the top 10 in individual seasons in several offensive, defensive, and total rebounding categories.

6. Bill Bridges

Bill Bridges may be the surprise of the top-10, but once you delve into his statistics, it’s easy to see the reasoning behind his high ranking. The three-time NBA All-Star played 13 seasons in the NBA and is only one of two Kansas players (can you guess the other?) to average a double-double throughout his NBA career. Bridges finished his career with averages of 11.9 for both points and rebounds in 926 games. This is probably even more amazing considering he only stood six and a half feet tall. He played for four teams over his career (St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Golden State Warriors), but his career best season came in 1966-67 in St. Louis where he averaged 17.4 points and 15.1 rebounds per game.

Next week, we finish with the Top 5.