06 April 2009

Truehoop tackles "All But the Championship" teams

ESPN's Truehoop blog today covers teams that were great, but not championship-great for extended periods of their history.

It's a long and depressing list.

Especially depressing is the author's take on the Utah Jazz from 1991-2003.

Playing during the Chicago Bulls era of titles is not exactly an excuse. Just ask the Houston Rockets. Most teams on this list do not have nearly as long a window, as the key group of players were not with the team for as long as in Utah's case. From 1984 to 2003, the Jazz made the playoffs each season, but reached the Finals just twice. Some may argue that the true window to win a title began when Jerry Sloan took over as head coach during the 1988-89 season, and while Karl Malone and John Stockton had been paired up since the 1985-86 season, the Jazz did not make it to the Western Conference Finals until 1992. That's when they became title contenders. As we all know, Stockton's career consisted of dishing out over 15,800 assists, which is over 5,000 assists more than Mark Jackson, who is 2nd on the NBA's all-time assists list. Karl Malone, meanwhile, went on to finish 2nd on the NBA's all-time scoring list. To have that kind of talent for so long and not come away with a title is almost unimaginable, if not crushing to a franchise. The window came to an abrupt close in 2003, when Stockton retired and Malone went to the Lakers in a last-ditch effort to win a title. The ultimate kicker? Between 1991 and 2003, Utah's 632 wins were the most in the NBA.

Emphasis mine.

This makes me sad inside. As he says, HOW did the Jazz not win a single championship in all that time? Stockton, arguably the best point guard of all time. Malone, second-leading scorer EVER. Sloan, one of the best coaches of all time.

And with all that, never a single NBA championship.

Bad times.

Color me cynical, but I don't see Utah getting one anytime soon, either.

A jinxed franchise?


Stu said...

To be fair to the really jinxed teams... 12 years isn't really that long of a time without a championship :) I bet the Jazz could get one within the next century.

Brandon said...

What are we, the Cubs?

And it's not that 12 years is a long time without a championship, it's that going 12 years where you're above average to excellent without winning a title that is frustrating.