I have great memories of Utah, the consistency of the organization and the quality of the people. —John Crotty
MIAMI — John Crotty spent five seasons with the Utah Jazz, missing the two NBA Finals seasons in 1997 and 1998, but playing with John Stockton and Karl Malone early in their careers and again at the end.
The former point guard spent five of his 11 NBA seasons with the Jazz. Now he works as the radio analyst and studio analyst for the Miami Heat, which he has done for the past 12 seasons in addition to selling commercial real estate.
“I have great memories of Utah,” Crotty said before Sunday afternoon’s game. “The consistency of the organization and the quality of the people. I played on seven teams over 11 years, so you get a flavor for different organizations.”
Crotty said he keeps in touch with a lot of former teammates, including Mark Eaton, John Stockton, Walter Bond, Jeff Hornacek and Larry Krystkowiak. He caught up with Hornacek last week when the Heat played the Knicks and said Eaton will be staying at his home later this month when he’s in town for a speaking engagement. He said his wife, Kara, recently spent several days in Utah with friends.
A former McDonald’s High School All-American, Crotty went to the University of Virgina, where he is still the all-time leader in assists. After going undrafted, he joined the Jazz in 1992 and played for three years as Stockton’s backup. Then he went to Cleveland, Miami, Portland, Seattle and Detroit and rejoined the Jazz for two seasons in 2000-01 and 2001-02 before finishing up with the Denver Nuggets.
GOOD IMPRESSION: Joe Johnson only played for the Miami Heat for 24 games of his 240-game career, but he made a great impression in his brief stint in 2015-16 when he helped lead the Heat into the playoffs.
“He’s a total pro, all across the board,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. “We loved him while he was here We would have loved to have kept him for longer, but he got a great deal (in Utah). So we still root for him, He’s one of the guys you root for.”
Johnson averaged 13.4 points while shooting 51.8 percent from the field. He had been signed with Miami after getting a buyout from Brooklyn, but after the season, he opted to sign a two-year $22 million contract with the Jazz.
MORE THREES: Miami’s Wayne Ellington likes to shoot 3-pointers. In fact, he leads the league with 82 percent of his shots coming from long range.
A Miami media representative asked Spoelstra about Ellington shooting 16 3-pointers against New York last week and if the message about not shooting so many was getting through.
But Spoelstra joked that he wants Ellington to shoot more 3-pointers.
“I want him to get 20 — that’s the goal,” he said. “It used to be 10, well it never stops. It was 15, we’re not stopping until he gets 20. We’ll see from there. I’m sure we’ll get him to 23, 24, 25 — wouldn’t that be cool?”
In Sunday’s game, Ellington shot just six 3-pointers out of his seven field-goal attempts, making three.
JAZZ NOTES: Backup guard Raul Neto, who has been out for 12 games because of injuries, had his contract guaranteed for the rest of the season before the league deadline of Jan. 10, according to ESPN. Neto is making approximately $1.5 million this season. The Jazz changed plans recently and will stay in Miami until Tuesday before heading up to Washington for a game Wednesday night. They conclude their nine-day road trip with a game at Charlotte Friday night.