Typically, when you see a "Top ___" article, they usually list five or ten different players. Even in our other articles, most of our "Top ___" articles include either five or ten different NBA teams/players.
However, it's hard to make a Top 5 article when the state has only had THREE NBA Players throughout NBA history... The three NBA players from Alaska are:
Also, to be honest, out of the three, only ONE player was born IN Alaska, Mario Chalmers. The other two, Carlos Boozer and Trajan Langdon, were born in different states/countries. Boozer and Langdon would move to Alaska shortly after being born.
Fun Fact: In 2019, the population of Alaska was 731,545. That means, only 0.0000041% of the Alaskan population has been in the NBA. That's lower, MUCH lower than the odds of being a millionaire (3%). Even the odds of being struck by lightning (0.000007%) are higher than being an NBA Player from Alaska.
Table of Contents:
Carlos Boozer (Juneau, Alaska)
The best NBA player from Alaska is Carlos Boozer, and it's by a long shot. While researching this article, I wasn't expecting to know a single NBA player from Alaska, but I surprisingly know 2/3rds of the NBA players from Alaska; Carlos Boozer and Mario Chalmers.
I also wasn't expecting the NBA players from Alaska to be good. How do you train in a state where the average temperature during the Summer is only 40-60 Fahrenheit. Also, this might be cheating, but Boozer wasn't born in Alaska. He was born in a military base in Germany but grew up in Juneau, Alaska.
Carlos Boozer was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2002 NBA Draft in the Second Round as the 35th pick. Boozer was, without a doubt, the steal of the draft. In defense of every other team that didn't draft Boozer, this draft class was pretty bad. The only other All-Stars (besides Boozer) were:
Yao Ming (1st Pick)
Amar'e Stoudemire (9th Pick)
Caron Butler (10th Pick)
In his rookie season with the Cavaliers, Boozer and the Cavs went 17-65. They were tied with the Denver Nuggets for the worst team in the NBA. Not a good start to Boozer's career! I don't blame him, though. The only good player on this team was Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
The only other decent players were Dajuan Wagner, the 6th pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, and Ricky Davis. Wagner played pretty well in his rookie season. He averaged 13/2/3 in 47 games. Unfortunately, due to injuries, we never got to see Wagner's peak.
If you look at Ricky Davis' Basketball Reference, you would think that he was more than decent, but honestly, the only reason he played so well with the Cavs was due to inflated minutes. In the previous season, he only played 24 minutes and averaged 12 points. This season, he played, on average, 40 MINUTES and averaged 21 points!
Davis was playing sixteen more minutes a game! Of course, he was going to have a better stat-line.
As for Boozer, for a second-round pick, he had a fantastic rookie season. He averaged:
10.0 Points, 7.5 Rebounds, 1.3 Assists, 0.7 Steals, and 0.6 Blocks
53.6 FG%, 77.1 FT%
As a result, Boozer was selected to be a part of the All-Rookie Second Team. In my opinion, Boozer should have been on the First-Team. Boozer could have replaced Nene as I think that Boozer played slightly better than Nene.
In the 2003-04 season, the Cavaliers would draft arguably, one of the best players in NBA history, LeBron James. Unfortunately, this was the only season we got to see LeBron and Boozer play with each other.
During this season, Boozer would improve A LOT. He averaged:
15.5 Points, 11.4 Rebounds, 2.0 Assists, 1.0 Steals, and 0.7 Blocks
52.3 FG%, 16.7 3P%, 76.8 FT%
This was the only season in which Boozer hit a three-pointer.
Besides that, due to Boozer's improved play, he was second in Most Improved Player voting. He won 166 points, but he was nowhere near the winner of the MIP award, Zach Randolph (379), who rightfully deserved the award.
By the end of the season, the Cavaliers offered Boozer a six year, $39 million contract. However, Boozer would decline the offer after the Utah Jazz would offer a $70 million contract over the same amount of time.
If I was in Boozer's shoes, I would have also gone to the Jazz, but could the Cavaliers potentially won a Championship with a frontcourt of LeBron James, Carlos Boozer, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas? It honestly would have been the best frontcourt in the NBA.
We're going to ignore Carlos Boozer's first two seasons with the Utah Jazz because he never played near the whole season in 2004-05 and 2005-06 due to injuries.
However, I will point out that in the 2004-05 NBA season, the owner of the Utah Jazz, Larry Miiller, called out Boozer for being lazy. This was probably because the 2004-05 season was the second time in 22 years that the Utah Jazz had not been in the playoffs.
The 2006-07 and 2007-08 NBA season was the prime of Carlos Boozer's career. In both seasons, he was named an All-Star, and in the 2007-08 NBA season, he was a part of the All-NBA Third Team. The Third Team is the 'worst' team, but Boozer was up against Forwards like:
Kevin Garnett and LeBron James (First-Team)
Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki (Second-Team)
Paul Pierce (Third-Team)
In my opinion, Boozer should have won Most Improved Player in the 2006-07 NBA season. He somehow only received one first-point vote for MIP even though he went from:
16.3 Points, 8.6 Rebounds, 2.7 Assists, 0.9 Steals, and 0.2 Blocks
54.9 FG%, 72.3 FT%
20.9 Points, 11.7 Rebounds, 3.0 Assists, 0.9 Steals, and 0.3 Blocks
56.1 FG%, 68.5 FT%
Besides the free-throw percentage, Boozer improved in every stat.
Going back to Boozer's All-Star selections, he couldn't play in his first All-Star selection due to another injury. In his second All-Star Game, Boozer put up:
14 Points, 10 Rebounds
From the 2006-07 NBA season up until he left the Utah Jazz, Carlos Boozer would make the playoffs each time. Boozer's most impressive playoff performance was probably during his first playoff appearance in 2006-07. The Jazz would make it to the Western Conference Finals but would lose to the San Antonio Spurs, 1-4. During the 2006-07 Playoffs, Boozer averaged:
23.5 Points, 12.2 Rebounds, 2.9 Assists, 1.0 Steals, and 0.3 Blocks
53.6 FG%, 73.8 FT%
Boozer's best performance was in Game 2 against the Houston Rockets. He put up:
41 Points, 12 Rebounds, 6 Assists
17/30 FG, 7/9 FT
Boozer, out of the seventeen games he played throughout this playoff run, scored more than twenty points in seven of them! This was the farthest Boozer would go in the playoffs with the Jazz.
Boozer's best season with the Jazz was in the 2007-08 NBA season when they went 54-28. Although their defensive rating was average (106.5), the Jazz led the league in offensive rating (113.8).
It's surprising how the Jazz was able to make the playoffs for four seasons with the duo of Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer. Although both were terrific players, they weren't the most outstanding duo. For example, just in the Western Conference, you had:
Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol
Chris Paul and David West
Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker
Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash
Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard
Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson
In addition, outside of Williams and Boozer, the only other good/decent players were Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko.
Besides that, on February 23th, 2008, against the Seattle Supersonics, Boozer recorded his first triple-double:
22 Points, 11 Rebounds, 10 Assists, 5 Steals
9/17 FG, 4/6 FT
After six seasons with the Utah Jazz, the best NBA player from Alaska went to the Chicago Bulls through a sign-and-trade. Boozer would play for the Bulls from 2010-14, and like during his time with the Jazz, went to the playoffs four times. However, Boozer wouldn't play as well as he did with the Jazz while on the Bulls. This was due to just an accumulation of injuries.
For Boozer's first season with the Bulls, he primarily played Center. This was the only season Boozer played more games as a Center (55%) than Power Forward (45%). I don't know why Boozer played more as a Center when the Bulls had Joakim Noah, but whatever.
Boozer's best playoff performance was during his third playoff appearance with the Bulls (2012-13). In the 2012-13 Playoffs, Boozer averaged:
16.4 Points, 9.6 Rebounds, 1.5 Assists, 0.8 Steals, and 0.1 Blocks
49.4 FG%, 68.9 FT%
Nowhere near as good as his best playoff performance with the Utah Jazz, but still outstanding stats for a starting Power Forward/Center.
His best performance in the playoffs with the Chicago Bulls was in the 2011 Playoffs against the Miami Heat in Game 3. He put up:
26 Points, 17 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 2 Blocks
8/19 FG, 10/12 FT
After four years with the Chicago Bulls, Boozer would sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2014-2015 NBA season. Not much happened that season, and it was also happened to be his last season. Honestly, if Boozer didn't get injured so frequently, he would have retired so early.