Another year in the books. With all the Jazztimism being shouted from the rooftops, it was nice to get a bit of a reality check from The Shums last week. Sometimes it's still difficult to tell where the Jazz actually stand. When change happens like this, it's gradual enough that you have to take a second to ponder what happened, and if it's sustainable.
With that, all eyes will be on what the Jazz FO does during this offseason; and there are more questions to be answered. Who carries over? Will anyone get traded? Will a draft pick get traded? Will there be any FA signings? Do you fear that what happened from January to April will somehow be lost, and the team will "regress to the mean" at the beginning of next season?
Please ponder these questions, as well as the very fabric of existence, while listening to this:
During locker room cleanout, Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey said this:
We really had three or four seasons within a season. And that’s typical. Many times in the NBA, it’s a, in my opinion, a series of short stories on how your team changes due to injury, and play, and trades. And this was, you know, a series of short stories, in my opinion, that were extreme. (Source: https://jazzfanatical.wordpress.com/) (of course)
On Saturday our friend Aaron Falk posted a great article outlining the key moments for the Jazz season -- the seasons within the seasons.
This one stands out:
The Jazz fall, 101-92 in Sacramento, the team's ninth straight loss; it would be their longest losing streak of the season.
Things looked abysmal at that point. The team bottomed out, but that's what develops character. Like the arc of a good story, the protagonists have to hit rock bottom before ascending to glory.
Now the horrible, terrible, lately traditional question about who you are cheering for or against in the playoffs? Who do you want to see win the Championship? What's your ideal matchup?
For me, I'm cheering for the Warriors. I'd be very happy for the fans of that team. Oaklanders support that team passionately, and they've long suffered. Plus, they are almost getting to the point where I hate them, just because they're so good.
Last week, Ben Golliver at SI.com posted his end of season grades for all 30 teams. Here's what he gave the Jazz:
Utah Jazz: B+
Midseason grade: C+
Off. Rating: 15 | Def. Rating: 12 | Net Rating: 16
Do you agree? I think it's a fitting grade. The thing that stands out is the offensive and defensive rating. To see where they came from, the defensive rating is especially astonishing.
This bit, from Ben, is fantastic:
In the East, Utah would be in the mix for one of the final playoff spots. And, if Salt Lake City happened to be located in Maine or Maryland, Snyder would be getting some portion of the love that’s been (deservedly) handed out to Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
The barrage of Stevens love pieces, of late, has been vomit inducing. Not for any "my team gets no love" reason. There's no resentment. It's just that a little perspective and context is in order. They certainly improved, but they did so against teams with a combined win% of 0.469, and the 8 teams below them had a win% of just 0.362.
Last thing: I tweeted this on Saturday (warning: expletive). NBA games in spring are the absolute BEST. Remember those late afternoon's at the arena? The walk from wherever you parked or public transportation stops, in beautiful April weather. The trees on the arena grounds in full bloom. And what about the games? Seeing the atmosphere for these playoff games creates a yearning to be there. Every play matters. Standing for much of the game.
Let's hope the Jazz are another year closer to bringing the playoffs back to SLC.