By now you may have heard of the NBA joining hands with an art company Rareink, out of Carlsbad, CA, in order to bring "cutting-edge" NBA themed art to basketball fans. The artwork is really incredible stuff with different pieces on team logos, current players and past stars. If you get a chance you should certainly visit their website and check out the pieces. They feature two different pieces on the Jazz logo and one of Stockton and Malone that will make you feel nostalgic for better Jazz times.
What the company also does is include fan voting in the process of deciding the next groups of artwork. And this is where you, the loyal Utah Jazz fan comes in. One of the categories is Iconic Teams of the 90's That Didn't Win a Title. Of course the 1997-98 Utah Jazz team is in that group, along with the 1991-92 Portland Trailblazers, 1992-93 Phoenix Suns, and 1996-97 New York Knicks team that didn't even make it out of the second round of the playoffs. So...
Anyways, the race is close, but if you visit the voting site and cast your vote, we may see some great art based on that iconic team we all know should have beaten Jordan's Bulls team.
It also got me thinking about each of those teams. Here on the local sports radio in North Carolina, they were having a discussion about the best professional sports team to never win a championship and they decided that the 1997-98 Utah Jazz team was the best team to never win a title. I was surprised. It isn't just Jazz fans. But how does that team stack up against these other teams?
1992-93 Phoenix Suns
This team featured MVP Charles Barkley, who averaged 25, 12, and 5 on 52% shooting from the field. Barkley had a PER of 25.9 that season. Point Guard Kevin Johnson averaged 16 and 8 mixed with the occasional highlight dunk. Thunder Dan Majerle averaged 17 points a game on 38% shooting from 3.
That Suns team was the best offense in the NBA that year with 113.1 point per 100 possessions and boasted the 9th best defense in the NBA holding teams to 106.7 points per 100 possessions. They went 62-20 and as we all know, lost to the Bulls in the Finals, 4 games to 2.
1991-92 Portland Trailblazers
Led by Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter, you could argue that the Blazers are the deepest team of the iconic 90's groups. The Late Kevin Duckworth, Jerome Kersey, Clifford Robinson and Buck Williams all averaged over 10 points a game and helped the Blazers become the 3rd best defense in the NBA. Drexler averaged 25, 6, and 6, but was overshadowed, as usual, by Jordan ahd his Bulls team that beat the Blazers in 6 games. I'm sensing a theme here.
The Blazers offense scored 111 points per 100 possessions, good for 7th in the NBA, and allowed 104 points per 100 possessions. They also beat the Jazz in 6 games in the Western Conference Finals.
1997-98 Utah Jazz
Not much more to say about this team that hasn't been said. Malone followed up n MVP season by averaging 27, 10 and 4 on 53% shooting and a PER of 27.9, second highest only to his previous season of 28.9. Stockton averaged 12 and 9 on 53% shooting and Jeff Hornacek finished out the big 3 with 14 points per game on 44% shooting from distance. I would argue that this Jazz team wasn't as deep as Portland's or possibly Phoenix's, but the top 3, were probably better for the Jazz.
This Jazz team was only 17th in the NBA defensively allowing 105.4 points per 100 possessions, but they were first in offense, putting up 112.7 per 100 possessions.
They also fell to Jordan's Bulls team in 6 games. DAMN YOU, MICHAEL JORDAN!!!!
1996-97 New York Knicks
They were included on this list due to East Coast Bias. They are not really iconic and couldn't even make the finals that season. Disqualified. (They are also in last place in this poll).
Go Vote on the Election and Go vote for the Jazz at rareink.com