Blog Entry

Jazz on the verge of the wrong side of history

Posted on: March 31, 2011 6:24 pm
Posted by Royce Young

I'm not sure anyone, Nostradamus included, could've predicted how this Utah Jazz season would turn out. Jerry Sloan resigns/retires mid-season, Deron Williams is traded and the team completely falls on its face and is set to miss the playoffs for one of the few times since the team moved to Salt Lake City.

And all this after they were a chic preseason pick to win the West and verified that with a strong 15-5 start. But it all started to fall apart in January. The Salt Lake Tribune lays it all out very well.
The Jazz’s dramatic mid-season collapse has left casualties. Gone are two once untouchable coaches, and an Olympic talent was traded away. The fall started suddenly, then picked up speed and has changed the face of the organization while significantly altering its future during an already uncertain time.

It is also on the verge of becoming historic.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no team in NBA history has ever started a season 15-5 and not made the playoffs. In addition, no squad during the 64-year timeline of the league has reached 27-13 and not qualified for the postseason.

The Jazz stand on the precipice of both.

Utah’s elimination number has dwindled down to one with seven regular-season contests to go. Either a Jazz loss or Memphis win during the 14 games that remain for both teams will automatically end Utah’s playoff bid, disbanding the 2010-11 Jazz ahead of schedule and preventing the small-market franchise from receiving a postseason payday for the first time in five years and just the fourth in 28.

That's pretty unbelievable. Think about it all for one second. Jerry Sloan leaving? That's crazy. Trading Deron Williams? Just as wild. And then going from 27-13 and a certain Western Conference playoff team to now basically eliminated? Put all of that together and you have one of the most up and down seasons for anyone , ever.

I honestly think this Jazz season is worthy of a two-hour DVD or something. Remember that crazy stretch back in December where they spotted teams double-digit halftime leads and came back in like five straight to win? Remember their wild win in Miami with Paul Millsap losing his mind in the fourth quarter and overtime? Remember how they were really good?

And now this. Now they're 36-39 and have most recently dropped six straight. Since sitting at 27-13 halfway through the year, they've gone 9-26. That's bad. That's like Washington Wizard, Minnesota Timberwolf, Sacramento King bad. The way they've lost at home, the way they've been unable to stop anyone, they way they've seemed to lose focus in close games -- it's been almost staggering.

It's easy to point at the Williams trade, but it was really unraveling well before then. The tension between Sloan and Williams combined with the entire team struggling to buy in to the system. Al Jefferson just wasn't fitting into the flex offense and the Jazz missed Kyle Korver, Wesley Matthews and Carlos Boozer a lot more than they expected. They probably would still be a playoff team -- barely -- with Williams, but general manager Kevin O'Connor saw the writing on the wall. Best to blow up and start anew.

I think the natural move is to point at new coach Ty Corbin but obviously I don't think anyone is to blame. That roster has undergone quite the transition leaving All-Stars like Boozer and Williams for new guys like Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and Gordon Hayward. The team is trying to transition and so far, it's been pretty painful. I mean, Earl Watson has started the last 10 games at point guard. That kind of says it all doesn't it?

The Jazz have been trying break through for a long time and make history. They're about to make some now, but definitely not the kind you want your name next to.
Category: NBA

Since: Mar 10, 2009
Posted on: April 3, 2011 10:54 pm

Jazz on the verge of the wrong side of history

I have been a Jazz fan for more than twenty years, and this is the first time I can remember looking at the roster and realizing the NOT ONE of the names is a guy I trust to even sort-of lead the team. The roster looks like the bargain store version of an NBA team. Not to say that they don't have some quality pieces or some players with potential (the dreaded P word!), but Devin Harris and Paul Millsap aren't going to get you past Kobe and Pau, Duncan and Manu, Durant and Westbrook, or even Kevin Martin and Luis Scola.
If the rebuilding has begun, I suggest it continue with a little more demolition.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: April 1, 2011 8:56 pm

Nostra Dumbass here

I predict The Jazz will change their name to The Jazzercisers, in recognition of their fan base.

Since: Apr 1, 2011
Posted on: April 1, 2011 3:16 pm

Jazz on the verge of the wrong side of history

It only seemed like 20 years for Bulls to get back to elite status. Alas, 1998 is more recent. 13 years is almost as long as some franchises who were relevant then to get back to top, as well, such as my Knicks (still waiting... this Melo and the Pips thing is not likely to work out this year). Wolves and Clippers tasted modest success in that span, but now look hunkered down for more mediocrity.  Seems to be a trend in 21st century, even with more parity, that teams that mismanage and fall down may not get back with a few deals. Boston was fortunate with its core 3 coming together. They and Lakers were able to make smart deals and still had good/great coaches, didn't panick, had a plan.  But elite not guaranteed to stay that way. It'll remain a major accomplishment what Utah did with 22 out of 26 years in playoffs.

Since: Jun 6, 2008
Posted on: April 1, 2011 2:11 pm

Jazz on the verge of the wrong side of history

I'm voting for Greg Miller and Kevin O'Conner as worst executives of the year!!!  They have taken what was a great team and turned it into a horrible team.  Greg Miller "tweeting" about his fans being negative and would we say it to his face?  Hell yes I would!! I pretty much did when I asked for a refund on my season tickets for next year.  I'm not alone, the Jazz won't publicly admit it, but according to my ticket agent, they've had almost 5000 request for refunds for next year.  In a 20000 seat arena, thats a huge number.  Jazz fans are as good as they come but when we see the owner and the GM making moves in the interest of saving some money or because D Will wouldn't publicly say he was staying, we don't accept it.  That never happened when the late great Larry H Miller was running the show.  He sat people down, talked it out and solved it without killing the franchise.  If Greg has a problem he sends it away. Sorry Greg, you aren't your dad unless you count Donald Sterling as your father figure because you are more like him than you are Larry.

Since: Apr 1, 2011
Posted on: April 1, 2011 1:40 pm

Jazz on the verge of the wrong side of history

Just goes to show you what a GREAT coach can still do in the NBA.
It's true that Sloan and company had to go at some point, but now you see the
results of losing probably the most under-rated  guy in the NBA. Never a coach
of the year honor or any such, yet Jerry had the Jazz in it almost every season.

Do you really think Stockton and Malone came into the NBA flying high? No, they
were molded and formed by good coaches that were no no-nonsense people.
John Stockton has been quoted as saying his main goal in the NBA was just to
earn enough to buy a house-hah, he ended up with so much more!

I'm certain an era has passed with Larry Miller's passing and Jerry's retirement.

Since: Jan 5, 2011
Posted on: April 1, 2011 10:08 am

Jazz on the verge of the wrong side of history

5 years? I would take it. Up here in Minnesota we have sucked since we had a team. We started to turn it around and then fire the best coach to ever coach here and then Mcfail had to trade Garnet away and the rest is history. The teribble trades and drafts didn't help either did the Joe Smith fiasco. As you can see the Timberwolves are in worse shape than the Clippers and I didn't ever think that would happen.

Since: Feb 25, 2009
Posted on: April 1, 2011 6:40 am

Jazz on the verge of the wrong side of history

I think the same. They have a bunch of young guys who are extremly skilled and the managing team won't let this team down. In my opinion they have the money to develop a playoff team. Everyone could count on that the Sloan-era wouldn't last forever.

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: April 1, 2011 12:54 am

Jazz on the verge of the wrong side of history

This isn't all that new, When the Bulls let Phil Jackson leave for LA, it created a domino effect that virtually collapse the organization, it took twenty years to get back there. I don't believe the Jazz will suffer the same kind of fate for as long as Chicago did. I think the Jazz organization will pick up the pieces and return to competitiveness within 5 years. That may seem long, but it's nothing compared to twenty years of mediocrity

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