In 1997 and 1998 the Utah Jazz went to the NBA Finals, but lost both times. A few seasons later the Philadelphia 76ers went to the NBA Finals in 2001, and also lost. Powered by creative and engaged owners, and led by old school coaches like Jerry Sloan and Larry Brown these two teams were at their modern era peaks around the same time. John Stockton, Karl Malone, Allen Iverson, and Dikembe Mutombo are all Hall of Famers -- or will be when they become eligible. And while the teams played contrasting styles on offense, their back bone was defense and playing a 'control' game. It wasn't about running up and down the court shooting threes. It was a different time. A different game. But ultimately, two franchises that were the backdrop for another team's celebrations.
Philly has a glorious past, with championships and larger than life players. Utah has none, but holds themselves to a higher level of sustained good play over the years in the Western Conference. Last season both teams were in the lotto race and clearly have fell very far from grace.
Despite being in a larger market, the Sixers have put a lot of stock in their lotto / draft basket. Has have the Jazz. Utah went hard with Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks, Trey Burke, Rudy Gobert, and now Dante Exum and Rodney Hood. The retention rate has been pretty high. Philly went with Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless, Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, Dario Saric, and Joel Embiid. Time will tell which group is ultimately more successful, or even with the team in five years.
But today we can see the shared sorrow of both teams.
Win Percentage over time:
|1||1997||1998||75.6%||Jerry Sloan||37.8%||Larry Brown|
|2||1998||1999||74.0%||Jerry Sloan||56.0%||Larry Brown|
|3||1999||2000||67.1%||Jerry Sloan||59.8%||Larry Brown|
|4||2000||2001||64.6%||Jerry Sloan||68.3%||Larry Brown|
|5||2001||2002||53.7%||Jerry Sloan||52.4%||Larry Brown|
|6||2002||2003||57.3%||Jerry Sloan||58.5%||Larry Brown|
|7||2003||2004||51.2%||Jerry Sloan||40.2%||Randy Ayres, Chris Ford|
|8||2004||2005||31.7%||Jerry Sloan||52.4%||Jim O'Brien|
|9||2005||2006||50.0%||Jerry Sloan||46.3%||Maurice Cheeks|
|10||2006||2007||62.2%||Jerry Sloan||42.7%||Maurice Cheeks|
|11||2007||2008||65.9%||Jerry Sloan||48.8%||Maurice Cheeks|
|12||2008||2009||58.5%||Jerry Sloan||50.0%||Maurice Cheeks, Tony DiLeo|
|13||2009||2010||64.6%||Jerry Sloan||32.9%||Eddie Jordan|
|14||2010||2011||47.6%||Jerry Sloan, Tyrone Corbin||50.0%||Doug Collins|
|15||2011||2012||54.5%||Tyrone Corbin||53.0%||Doug Collins|
|16||2012||2013||52.4%||Tyrone Corbin||41.5%||Doug Collins|
|17||2013||2014||30.5%||Tyrone Corbin||23.2%||Brett Brown|
|18||2014||2015||40.0%||Quin Snyder||21.3%||Brett Brown|
Stability can be a benefit and a curse. But nothing is more of a curse than having a bad front office. Utah is in a steeper climb right now, but we hope that Philly returns to glory in time as well.
Let's remember the good times, though:
Just so everyone knows that Malone vid ends at the 3:00 min mark, I don't know why it keeps going for another 40 seconds after that.