The top three teams in the NBA this past season were Boston, the LA Lakers, and Detroit. Whether we look at won-loss record or efficiency differential, these three teams were clearly the best.
Utah’s mark of 7.15 was just behind the Lakers differential of 7.35. And the difference between Jazz and the Pistons (Detroit’s differential was 8.17) was actually smaller than the gap between the differential of Utah and New Orleans (the team with the 5th best differential last year).
In spite of this mark, though, Utah tends to be ignored when people get around to listing the NBA’s elite teams. For example, Houston - the team Utah eliminated in the first round of the 2007 and 2008 playoffs - seems to be more frequently listed as a potential NBA contender (this is just my impression).
The blog entry goes on to say that, even though similar success can reasonably be expected this year, a championship is not in the cards:
Even if the Jazz are still stuck with Jarron Collins in the front-court, though, Utah looks like a formidable team. Unfortunately, it also looks like Utah is once again destined to fall just a bit short. ... We should expect the Jazz to be one of the top teams in the league. But I can’t see this team passing the Lakers or Celtics in 2009. So although Utah has assembled an impressive roster - perhaps the most impressive edition of this franchise since 1996-97 - the fate of this team will probably be similar to what we saw in 1997. Utah will win a mess of games, only to lose the last game it plays in the 2009 playoffs.
Nice to see that the numbers bear us out somewhat, even if the final analysis is a bit less pleasant than we would like. Oh, and it's worth noting -- the author of this post at Wages of Wins now resides in Utah. So, there's that.
Note to the Media -- One of the Best Teams in the NBA is in Utah [Wages of Wins]