The last 12 months there has been a black cat running around the Utah Jazz organization as the team has had considerable bad luck. Most lesser teams would use this as an excuse to tank (for an example please look up the NBA teams in the Big Apple). However, the Jazz laugh in the face of bad luck.
Ok maybe that’s an exaggeration. Nobody likes misfortune such as injuries, having your franchise player burn your team for his old college coach and being dealt the hardest schedule of any NBA team last December. It is how the Jazz have reacted calmly to adversity in the last year that has been the most puzzling.
May 2017: The Night Life Trolls
Last May the Golden State Warriors opened up on their reluctance to play the Jazz in the second round. Matt Barnes questioned the night life in Salt Lake City. Matt Barnes said he would much rather have played the Clippers. Despite getting swept, the Utah Jazz and their fan base managed to stay positive about their first playoff berth in five years.
The Jazz made a few games competitive but ultimately led for just a couple minutes in the four game sweep. It was a historic 73 win team that added Kevin Durant and the Jazz were a group of rising young stars so it wasn’t a disappointment. They had already exceeded expectations by beating the Clippers in 7 games. To give the Warriors a little taste of their own medicine, the Jazz made Night Life T-shirt’s with their logo embroidered on the front. This very well started the fever pitch of Jazz hysteria among the fan base. Aside from the bars and entertainment the real night life in Salt Lake City is the Utah Jazz.
June 2017: A Spider is Born
The jury was out on what the Jazz would do with the 24th pick in the draft. What they ended up doing shocked the world. Ok maybe the world of the Wasatch Mountains. After seeing a private workout by Donovan Mitchell, Jazz management had agreed that if anyone leaked out that workout they would be fired. Luckily the Jazz traded Trey Lyles and the 24th pick to Denver in exchange for their draft pick which was Mitchell. The young pick had a warming smile and a lot of excitement when he finally learned he was going to play in Utah. Fans everywhere searched for his handle on Twitter and found out his nickname was Spida cause he jumps around like an arachnid.
July 2017: Spida is stellar but Hayward is Wayward
Donovan Mitchell shined in his first few games against NBA talent. In Sin City he played like Win City despite the overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies as he had 37 points as well as 8 steals. The two biggest stories of the NBA Summer were which sneakers the hyped Laker Lonzo Ball would wear next and how good Donny would play in his next game. Luckily he had some time to hurry home to watch the MLB All Star Game as well as enjoy the rest of the Summer hooping it up.
The Jazz did however receive a huge blow when their new All Star Gordon Hayward signed with the Boston Celtics in free agency to reunite with his old college coach in Brad Stevens.
August 2017: Jazz International 🇸🇪🇪🇸 🇨🇭
By this point the Jazz had already signed three important international players. Ricky Rubio became their new starting point guard and the Jazz also added Jonas Jerebko from Sweden and Thabo Sefolosha from Switzerland. These three guys definitely fit the culture of the already international Jazz and had a defensive mindset that would work well together.
September 2017: We talking about Practice?
The Post Haywood Jazz are starting to gel and goof around in their practice interviews. It looks like it could be a very positive NBA story if the Jazz can somehow make it to the playoffs with Rudy Gobert as the leader. Not much was expected but the Jazz believed in themselves.
October 2017: Jingles the Aussie King
The Jazz started the NBA preseason by hosting some international teams. They easily beat the Sydney Kings who were a good team from Australian Jazz sniper Joe Ingles’ homeland. Ingles and fellow Aussie teammate Dante Exum combined for 15 points in the 24 point win. It got a little tougher as the regular season started but the Jazz mattered to flutter just over a .500 record for the regular season October games as they were 4-3 for the month.
November 2017: Losing streaks
The Jazz had a 4 game losing streak in early November and a 3 game losing streak shortly after that. They still finished the month 7-8 so they clearly just needed to get some kinks out and learn to gel as a team. They would be tested though in….
December 2017: The Death Month
The Jazz had the toughest month out of any NBA team schedules for any other month in the season. Their struggles against elite competition were apparent as they went 5-10. They did finish the month by beating LeBron on his birthday though. It’s also worth noting that Rudy Gobert’s absence due to injury was hurting the team’s usually elite defense. Rudy when healthy is considered an MVP candidate due to his rim protecting abilities.
January 2018: “We will be fine.” :
Even as the schedule got easier it wasn’t easy for the Jazz who lost to the Atlanta Hawks by a sizable margin. They were the worst road team in the league at the time. Then all of a sudden Rudy Gobert tweeted “We will be fine.” With the return of Rudy the Jazz defense was once again stifling. At the end of the month the Jazz beat the Warriors by 30 and was starting to get a streak going.
February 2018: Donny Dunk Champ
By now the Jazz manage to get an 11 game win streak going before the All-Star break. After getting snubbed for the dunk contest, Donovan Mitchell is ecstatic when a spot opens up for him. On All-Star Saturday night he gives a tribute to former Jazz Player “Dr. Dunkenstein” Darrell Griffith. He also bounces a ball off one hoop and ferociously dunks it on the other. He dunks over his sister and Kevin Hart. He does a Vince Carter tribute and does a crazy windmill like the one Vinsanity did to win the legendary Dunk contest in 2000. Exclaiming “It’s over!” after that final dunk, Mitchell grabs his first piece of All-Star hardware as a rookie.
March 2018: More Streaks
The once worst road team in the NBA recorded a franchise record 12 straight road wins. They also recorded a 9 game win streak to catapult themselves into the playoff picture.
April 2018: NO-klahoma
The Jazz qualified for the NBA Playoffs and earned the five seed. They secured a date with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the first playoff matchup against them since they were the SuperSonics of Seattle. The team basketball of the Jazz thwarted the Big 3 of Paul George, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. There were a lot of chippy moments especially with Russ. Paul George went from self dubbing himself “Playoff P” to being dubbed “Pushoff P” by Jazz fans. After holding on to win in six, the Jazz sought out to beat the top team in the NBA.
May 2018: Launching towards the future.
The Rockets did dispatch of the Jazz in five games but the Jazz can hold their heads high and know that the future is bright with a young star, a rim protector and a stellar coach. From #TankNote to #TakeNote the Jazz have taught everyone that the sky is the limit when using positive thinking. We will all be fine.