We've all seen it. I'm speaking of the moment when your favorite television show throws an absurd plot or storyline into the mix and you know things will never be the same. At that moment, the shows' quality and popularity declines. In a few seasons it is no longer on the air. You know, like when the X-Files had Fox Mulder abducted by aliens and John Doggett was introduced; when The Dukes of Hazard sent Bo and Luke Duke to the NASCAR circuit and Coy and Vance Duke were introducted; and when Dick York, the original Darrin, in Bewitched was replaced by Dick Sargent. The list is constantly growing.
Sports teams and players have been known to jump the shark too. For instance, Brett Farve jumped the shark when he started playing for the Jets; the Red Sox jumped the shark when they sold Babe Ruth; and Dennis Rodman jumped the shark when he started wearing dresses.
Now back to the Jazz. Stockton and Malone retire and are replaced by DWill and Booz. Larry Miller dies and is replaced by Greg and Gail Miller. Booz jumps ship to Chicago. Jerry Sloan and Phil Johnson retire and are replaced by Ty Corbin, Scott Layden, and Jeff Hornacek. DWill is shipped to the Nets for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, a couple of draft picks, and $3 million cash.
After all this change, I am left to wonder - has the Jazz jumped the shark?
Ultimately, this question will be answered over time. The early results don't look good. The Jazz are just 3-10 since Sloan and Johnson left; they are also just 3-7 since DWill left. The Jazz have allowed their opponents to go over 100 points in 10 of those games, and allowed 118 or more in 5. Their energy levels have gone to Jekyll and Hyde proportions - coming out equally flat and energized in several different games; sometimes the energy vacillates to extremes in the same game. Seemingly solid leads have been lost. Injuries are piling up; from back spasms to gastric distress; the Jazz have seen it all this year. Yes, things look bleak.
However, I am a Jazz homer. I've seen what dedication to the Jazz system can do. If any franchise can overcome this adversity, the Jazz can. The Jazz are built on hard work and fundamentals. Hard work and fundamentals will eventually win out. It may not happen tonight, it may not happen tomorrow; but know this, the Jazz will work their way back and they will subdue the sharks swirling around them.