The Utah Jazz move into a relatively 'easier' part of their January schedule where they will tip off against the LeBron James led Cleveland Cavaliers tonight before facing the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, and then Boston Celtics. Utah just finished up going 1-3 against the Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, and Golden State Warriors. And the last two games of the month are against the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors again. To put it lightly, the Jazz were not expected to win a lot of these games this month.
Still, after 41 games this season the Jazz stand (and are still standing, we haven't been toppled over yet) at 14-27. In the Western Conference this makes them 13th out of 15 team. The Jazz are two games back of the drifting Sacramento Kings, and two and a half games ahead of the listless Los Angeles Lakers. Far, far below are the Minnesota Timberwolves with only 7 wins this season.
It is conceivable that with a nicer schedule and more health the Jazz could overtake the Kings. After all, Quin Snyder is a better coach than , and it could be soon that the standings reflect this universal truth.
But as Utah Jazz fans we are completely infatuated with our past. So how does the team look compared to the last 20 seasons after 41 games have been played?
Hooray! Win Percentage and Total Wins all in one place! Data via Basketball-Reference.com
I broke this down into four sections of five years each.
- 1995 - 2000: The run to the NBA Finals, and then the drop off shows that the Jazz were strong contenders for a long while, and started the season off dominating other teams
- 2000 - 2005: This is the fall off from the end of John Stockton and Karl Malone, that crazy year with playing out of his mind . . . and then the year everyone was injured that eventually would lead to the draft . . . this section of Jazz life showed a steep decline
- 2005 - 2010: Now we have the Deron Williams era, and the team, while not as dominant in the early part of the season as the vet led Finals squads, were still good to start most seasons. Jerry Sloan was the coach for all of the three blocks listed.
- 2010 - 2015: This is the Tyrone Corbin / Quin Snyder timeline. Another huge, steep drop off in win percentage to start the season, and the bottoming out with the wins. The last time the wins after 41 games were this bad in another time block was the season where Andrei, , and all got injured after signing big contracts in the off-season.
The good news is that we're at the bottom, and Snyder has stopped the descent from getting worse. If this team was healthier I would have expected to see Utah close to 20 wins after 41 games (but not specifically 20 wins).
But there you have it, a snapshot of how Utah has performed over the last two decades, and where the Jazz are today with regards to the Western Conference.
I do believe that the Jazz are a better team. The offense has changed for the better, moving more towards team play and fewer isolations (view the full article here), and most of our big name players are playing very well, like , , and who are all nearly excellent in PPP (view the full article here). The defense is bad, but has always been bad (view the full article here). A few lucky breaks in the next 41, and with returning to a more scoring form (view the full article here), it's obvious why some Jazz fans see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Our team is going to be fine, even if the rookie of the year for our squad may very well by a member of the dance team (view the full article here).