by Daniel Olsen
When it comes to history, outsiders will only remember that the Utah Jazz once again did not win the championship. However, it’s important as fans to celebrate the wins as well as learn from the losses. It’s time to look at the numbers and see how this season stacks up to those of past seasons.
Regular Season History
• The Jazz won 52 of 72 games which means they won 72.2 percent of their games. If they kept that pace in a normal 82-game season, they would win somewhere around 59 or 60 games. They have only eclipsed this winning percentage four other times in franchise history.
• The Jazz won a division title for the tenth time in franchise history. They won six titles in the now defunct Midwest Division and now four in the Northwest Division.
• They earned the outright best overall seed for the first time in NBA history. They tied with the Bulls in 1998 for the best record but won the tiebreaker due to regular season wins over them.
• Rudy Gobert won his third Defensive Player of the Year Award. He was also named to the All-NBA Defensive First team for the fifth straight year. To put this in context, Mark Eaton won two Defensive Player of the Year awards and was named to the first team three times in his career.
• Jordan Clarkson became the only player in franchise history to win the Sixth Man of the Year.
• The Jazz had one of the best offenses in the NBA. They were fourth in points-per-game and first in three-pointers made with an average of 16.7 per game. This was not only the best season from downtown in franchise history, but one of the best in NBA history.
• Donovan Mitchell continued to improve his scoring as he has done every season so far in his young NBA career. He led the team with 26.4 per game. It’s the first time since the 1998-1999 season that the Utah Jazz have had a player average over 25 per game. Karl Malone, the player with the second most career points in NBA history, has had 12 of those seasons with the most recent being that 1999 season.
Top Three Regular Season
This article dives deeper into the stats. With the recent announcement of regular season awards, this regular season has to be the third best in franchise history when combining the accolades, stats and overall record. It is eclipsed only by the magical seasons of 1997 and 1998.
• The Jazz failed to reach the Western Conference Finals. They as a team have appeared in the Conference Finals six times in franchise history.
• The Jazz lost in the second round as the top overall seed. In their other two seasons as the best in the Western Conference, they made it to the NBA Finals (1997-1998).
• The Jazz won the opening round in five games. They have never won this round in this few games since the NBA expanded to the seven-game format for the first round in 2003.
• In addition to the six Western Conference Finals appearances, the Jazz made it to the Western Conference Semifinals 11 other times in franchise history.
• Of the second-round exits, this is the first time the Jazz have lost a series when leading 2-0. They did lose in the first round after going up 2-0 to the Dallas Mavericks in a best-of-five series in 2001.
• Donovan Mitchell so far is fourth in these playoffs in points-per-game with 32.3. He trails only Luka Doncic, Damian Lillard and Kevin Durant.
• The Jazz defense got significantly worse in these playoffs. They allowed the third fewest at 107 per-game in the regular season. That dipped to the tenth out of 16 playoff teams at 117.7 per game in the postseason.
Top Ten Postseason:
This postseason definitely ranks behind the six Western Conference Finals appearances. After that, it’s debatable. It’s safe to say this team ranks among the top 10 in postseason performances. Although it was a disappointment, it’s important to highlight the factor that injuries played to a depleted backcourt.
When combining regular season and postseason, this seems like the seventh best year in franchise history. The postseason carries more weight. That is why this is the best Utah Jazz team that never made the Western Conference Finals. They rank right behind the six teams in franchise history who advanced to that point. With their record and regular season accolades came increased expectations. While the Jazz fell short this year, they have a season they can be proud of. This year is in the past and they have nothing to do but look towards a promising future.