Utah Jazz

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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz
Founded 1974
Team History New Orleans Jazz
Utah Jazz
Arena Delta Center
Team Colors Purple and blue
NBA Championships 0
Conference Championships 2 (1997, 1998)
Division Titles 6 (1984, 1989, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2000)
Owner Larry H. Miller
Head Coach Jerry Sloan

The Utah Jazz is a National Basketball Association team based in Salt Lake City, Utah. They were originally the New Orleans Jazz, but were financially unsuccessful and moved to Utah. They were one of the most successful teams in the late 1980s and 1990s, making it to two NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 under coach Jerry Sloan and anchored by John Stockton and Karl Malone, a point guard/power forward combination noted for their remarkable on-court rapport and some of the best in their game at their respective postions.


Franchise history

New Orleans Jazz logo

Early years

In 1974 the Jazz franchise began in New Orleans. The franchise proved unsuccessful, both on the court and financially, even though they had "Pistol" Pete Maravich as the star player. Though Maravich was viewed as one of the NBA's most entertaining and talented players, the Jazz were continually a losing team. After five losing seasons in New Orleans, they moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1979. Although the team nickname was not fitting for Salt Lake City, with Utah having a nearly non-existant Jazz culture, the franchise decided to keep it. Before the 1979-1980 season, Utah obtained high scoring guard/forward Adrian Dantley from the Los Angeles Lakers. Maravich was waived during the season. With the #2 pick draft pick in 1980, they obtained Darrell Griffith from the University of Louisville. During the 1980-1981 season, Frank Layden became the head coach, and in 1982, the Jazz selected big man Mark Eaton in the fourth round of the draft. These four additions to the team would serve to set the seeds for the future success for the team. Depite these additions, however, the team continued to languish toward the bottom of the standings. During the 1983 NBA Draft, the Jazz selected Thurl Bailey out of North Carolina State University in the first round. He would eventually become a key contributor to the team. During the 1983-1984 season, they Jazz finally clicked, going 45-37 in their first winning season ever, winning the Midwest Division and advancing to the playoffs, beginning their streak of 20 consecutive appearances. In the playoffs they advanced to the second round, where they lost to the Phoenix Suns.

Utah Jazz old logo

Jazz success

In 1984, the Jazz drafted point guard John Stockton from Gonzaga University and the next year added the second half of one of the NBA's greatest pairings in power forward Karl Malone from Louisiana Tech. In both the 1984-1985 and 1985-1986 seasons, the Jazz barely scraped into the playoffs. In 1986, the Jazz traded Adrian Dantley. During the next few season, the Jazz began to establish themselves as a respectable team in their own. Mark Eaton was perhaps the best defensive player of the era while Stockton and Malone soon became superstars. Stockton and Malone developed a remarkable rapport with each other, running pick-and-roll plays with great success. "Stockton to Malone" became a common phrase, as Stockton regularly found ways to pass the ball to Malone in good scoring position. Despite the regular season successes, however, the Jazz were never able to advance past the second round of the NBA playoffs during the 1980s. During the 1988-1989 season, Frank Layden stepped down as head coach to become president of the Utah Jazz. Assistant coach Jerry Sloan took over head coaching duties. Sloan guided the Jazz to their first 50-win season ever with a 51-31 record, also winning the Midwest Division. Once again, however, the Jazz flopped in the postseason, losing to the Golden State Warriors in the first round.


Throughout the early 1990s, the Jazz's playoff woes continued, with the Jazz losing in the first round in 1990 to the Phoenix Suns and in the second round in 1991 to the Portland Trail Blazers. In 1990-1991, the Jazz acquired Jeff Malone, and after the 1991-1992 season they waived veteran Darrell Griffith. In 1991 the Jazz also moved out of the old Salt Palace and into the new Delta Center. In 1992, the Jazz finally made it to the conference finals, losing to the Portland Trail Blazers. In 1993, the Jazz had a dissapointing run in the playoffs again, losing to the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round. During the 1993-1994 season, the Jazz traded Jeff Malone to the Philadelphia 76ers for shooting guard Jeff Hornacek, who provided outstanding three-point and free throw shot percentage. The Jazz again advanced to the conference finals, where they lost to the eventual champion Houston Rockets 4-1.

In the 1994-1995 season, the Jazz had amazing depth and talent at their disposal and were expected to make a serious run for the championship. Despite this, however, the Jazz lost to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. Big man Greg Ostertag and long-range shooter Bryon Russell were added to the team for the 1995-1996 season, and the Jazz reached the conference finals for the third time in history, losing to the Seattle SuperSonics 4-2.

In the next two seasons, the Jazz were finally able to capitalize on their regular season success. In 1996-1997, the Jazz had a legendary team, with such players as Stockton, Malone, Hornacek, Russell, Ostertag, Antione Carr, Howard Eisley, and Shandon Anderson. The Jazz had their best record in franchise history at 64-18. They finally reached the NBA Finals for the first time ever after beating the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Houston Rockets to meet Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals. A three-pointer in the closing seconds by John Stockton in Game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference Championship sent the Jazz to the finals. This shot remains one of the highlight shots of the Jazz franchise. In the 1997 NBA Finals, the Jazz lost to the Chicago Bulls 4-2 after fighting the first four games to a 2-2 tie and losing the last two in the last seconds of the game. Karl Malone won the MVP for the season for the first time ever.

During the offseason, the Jazz, happy with their success, made no significant changes to their roster. During the 1997-1998 season, expectations were high for another championship run. However, John Stockton suffered an injury before the season began and missed the first 18 games. Despite the setback, the Jazz were still able to finish at 62-20. In the playoffs they beat the Houston Rockets, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Los Angeles Lakers to advance to their second NBA Finals appearance in a row. In the 1998 NBA Championship, the Bulls pulled ahead 3-2 when the series swung back to Salt Lake City, where the Jazz had always been dominant. The Jazz held a lead in most of Game 6, but the Bulls rallied, and in the last seconds of the game, Michael Jordan faked Bryon Russell and downed a jump shot to win their sixth NBA Championship in eight years 4-2. This shot is one of the most famous shots in history and highlights the Jazz's struggles in the postseason, despite their overall, consistent success.

In the 1999 season, shortened to 50 games due to a lockout, the Jazz finished the season 37-13, tied with the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the league. However, they again lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Portland Trail Blazers. Despite yet another dissapointment, Karl Malone was awarded his second MVP.


AP / Kathy Willens
AP / Kathy Willens

During the 1999-2000 season, the Jazz won the Midwest Division but once again struggled in the postseason, losing to the Portland Trail Blazers, again during the second round. During the offseason, Jeff Hornacek retired and Howard Eisley was traded in a four-team deal that brought in Donyell Marshall. They selected promising high school basketball star DeShawn Stevenson in the first round of the NBA Draft. In the 2000-2001 season, they went 53-29, but their playoff woes once again struck when they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Dallas Mavericks.

In the 2001-2002 season, Andrei Kirilenko made his rookie debut, but overall the Jazz began to show their age and dwindling talent. The Jazz finished just 44-38 and lost to the Sacramento Kings 3-1 in the first round of the playoffs. In 2002-2003, Donyell Marshall and Bryon Russell moved on to other teams. Matt Harpring, however, was brought over from the Philadelphia 76ers, contributing to the offense and experiencing his best season. The Jazz barely scraped through into the playoffs, going 47-35 and again losing to the Sacramento Kings 4-1. After the season, the end of an era came when John Stockton retired and Karl Malone moved to the Los Angeles Lakers in the hunt for a championship ring with three other future Hall-of-Famers.

In the 20032004 season, the Jazz were expected to be one of the weakest teams in the NBA, but instead they greatly exceeded most analysts' expectations. The team featured several unheralded players who emerged into key contributors, including Andrei Kirilenko, Raja Bell, Matt Harpring, and Carlos Arroyo. In particular, Andrei Kirilenko demonstrated tremendous versatility on both offense and defense and earned a spot in the All-Star Game. Kirilenko helped the team late into the season's playoff hunt, in which the Jazz missed out by just one game to the Denver Nuggets, ending their streak of 20 consecutive seasons in the playoffs. Jerry Sloan finished second in the voting for the NBA Coach of the Year Award, losing to Hubie Brown of the Memphis Grizzlies.

In the 2004 offseason, the Jazz obtained free agents Carlos Boozer (from the Cleveland Cavaliers) and Mehmet Okur (from the Detroit Pistons) and traded Ostertag to the Sacramento Kings. The franchise was again expected to contend in the West. The season began well for the Jazz, but a series of injuries, first to Arroyo and Raul Lopez, and later to Boozer and Kirilenko, caused the team to fall to the bottom of the division. There were rumors of internal discontent between the younger players and Sloan, leading to the trading away of Arroyo mid-season to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Elden Campbell (who was immediately waived). They ended the 2004-2005 season with a record of 26-56, their worst since the 19811982 season.

In the summer of 2005, the Jazz continued to shape their roster by dispatching some of their underperforming young players and trading three draft picks in order to acquire the #3 pick overall, point guard phenom Deron Williams of the University of Illinois. Raja Bell left the team for the Phoenix Suns and the Jazz re-obtained Ostertag from the Kings and dealt promising point guard Raul Lopez to the Memphis Grizzlies in part of the biggest trade in NBA history.

Players of note

Basketball Hall of Famers


Retired numbers

Current roster

Utah Jazz
Current Roster
Head Coach: Jerry Sloan Edit
PF 5 Carlos Boozer (Duke)
SG 23 Devin Brown (Texas-San Antonio)
C 31 Jarron Collins (Stanford)
SG 10 Gordan Giriček (Croatia)
SF 15 Matt Harpring (Georgia Tech)
PF 43 Kris Humphries (Minnesota)
F 47 Andrei Kirilenko (Russia)
PG 25 Keith McLeod (Bowling Green)
SG 34 C. J. Miles (Skyline HS,
C 13 Mehmet Okur (Turkey)
C 00 Greg Ostertag (Kansas)
PG 3 Milt Palacio (Colorado State)
PF 54 Robert Whaley (Walsh)
PG 8 Deron Williams (Illinois)
(FA) - Free Agent Utah Jazz


Years Coach Record

1974-75 Scotty Robertson 1 - 14

1974-75 Elgin Baylor 0 - 1

1974-77 Bill Van Breda Koff 74 - 100

1977-79 Elgin Baylor 86 - 134

1979-81 Tom Nissalke 60 - 124

1981-88 Frank Layden 277 - 294

1988- Jerry Sloan 823 - 440

1974-03 1321 -1107

External links

National Basketball Association
Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division: Boston Celtics | New Jersey Nets | New York Knicks | Philadelphia 76ers | Toronto Raptors
Central Division: Chicago Bulls | Cleveland Cavaliers | Detroit Pistons | Indiana Pacers | Milwaukee Bucks
Southeast Division: Atlanta Hawks | Charlotte Bobcats | Miami Heat | Orlando Magic | Washington Wizards
Western Conference
Northwest Division: Denver Nuggets | Minnesota Timberwolves | Portland Trail Blazers | Seattle SuperSonics | Utah Jazz
Pacific Division: Golden State Warriors | Los Angeles Clippers | Los Angeles Lakers | Phoenix Suns | Sacramento Kings
Southwest Division: Dallas Mavericks | Houston Rockets | Memphis Grizzlies | New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets | San Antonio Spurs
Other Articles: NBA Finals | NBA All-Star Game | NBA Draft | Current Team Rosters |
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