2012-13 UTAH JAZZ SEASON PREVIEW
Ever since the bygone days of Karl Malone and John Stockton, the Utah Jazz have tried in earnest to recreate the unprecedented success of those years, and the 2011-12 season was a another step in that direction. Although the team finished with a 36-30 record and made the playoffs as the eighth seed in the Western Conference, the Jazz were knocked out of the first round in a sweep by the San Antonio Spurs. Over the past several years, the Jazz have made a series of smart trades and cut bait with their higher-paid players at the right times to build an extremely talented roster that could finally be built for the long haul.
With the trade of superstar point guard Deron Williams before the 2011-12 season, it was the front office's hope that their younger players like Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors would continue to develop into key contributors. Over the course of the offseason, the Jazz brought in role players like point guard Mo Williams and forward Marvin Williams, both of whom are expected to be instant starters. In the draft, the Jazz only had one pick to work with and made it count by choosing guard Kevin Murphy. Murphy should instantly improve the team's shooting woes from the wing and could become a dynamic threat over the next several years.
Aside from a series of small moves during the offseason, the Jazz's depth chart remains largely unchanged from a year ago. Mo Williams will split time with Jamaal Tinsley at the point, while the team is hoping that shooting guard Gerald Hayward will take the next step in his development. The team also boasts great depth at that position, with Randy Foye and Alec Burks being able to spell Hayward during games. At forward, the team has high hopes for former high pick Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap, both of whom need to play better defense. Finally, the Jazz's center position is solved for the near future with Al Jefferson, who is one of the more athletic big men at his position.
Like many teams in the NBA, the Jazz have decided to bank their hopes on a collection of young talent who can grow and learn to play together. While the team is certainly top-heavy at certain positions on the floor, the Jazz hope that their improved depth, shedding of large contracts and a new philosophy will allow them to flourish and make headway in the Western Conference playoff race.
UTAH JAZZ FRANCHISE FACTS:
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Stadium: EnergySolutions Arena
Conference: Western Conference
Division: Northwest Division
Dancers: Jazz Dancers
Notable Players: John Stockton, Karl Malone
Utah Jazz Championship Titles: 0
Utah Jazz Conference Titles: 2
See Also: Utah Jazz Playoff tickets Utah Jazz Season Preview History
UTAH JAZZ EXPERIENCE:
The Jazz have have made great strides in the National Basketball Association ever since their relocation in Utah in 1979. The Jazz played in New Orleans from 1974-79, where they unfortunately experienced difficulty finding a viable venue at which to play their games and a less-than receptive fan base. This eventually led the NBA to relocate the franchise to Utah, where it has since then made quite an impression on local basketball enthusiasts.
Upon moving to Utah in 1979, the Jazz immediately started to show signs of improvement. Sluggish economic conditions at the time hurt the franchise financially, but the team appeared to have high hopes despite finishing their inaugural season with a losing record. In the 1980 NBA Draft, the Jazz were given the second pick, which gave them the opportunity to begin rebuilding their roster.
Utah began to work out its monetary difficulties as the 80s drew to a close, and the team began to show depth and talent as well. The team was able to make it to the playoffs in the 1983-84 season and they nabbed the division title. In 1985, Utah made one of the best draft picks in franchise history – Karl Malone. The legend quickly became a pivotal contributor on the court and joined forces with John Stockton, who was drafted a year before. By the end of the decade, the Jazz had proven that they were a notable contender in the NBA.
Still without a championship, the Jazz continued to make trades and use their draft picks to better their team into the 90s. Utah made two trips to the NBA Finals: once in 1997, then again in 1998. Although the team showed great promise, the Jazz failed to bring home the title to Utah. They also lost both championships to the Chicago Bulls, which at the time was led by the iconic Michael Jordan.
Despite the losses in the Finals late in the decade, the Jazz continued to show signs of life heading into the new millennium. Between 2007 and 2010, Utah gained playoff berths each year, proving that the team still has a strong desire to bring a championship home to Utah.
Utah Jazz Ticket Information:
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