The Utah Jazz were expected to be a bottom-three or bottom-five team this season at best.
They traded Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, and it seemed like it was just a matter of time before they got rid of their other veterans.
They eventually held on to Jordan Clarkson, but they didn’t take the route most people expected them to take.
Instead of tanking to try and get Victor Wembanyama, the Jazz tried to stay competitive for most of the season, getting off to a hot start and then flirting with postseason basketball for quite a while.
As a matter of fact, it took until the very last week of the NBA regular season for them to be eliminated from playoff contention.
The Utah Jazz have been eliminated from playoff contention. pic.twitter.com/ZQrCXIpx2A
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 7, 2023
That’s why NBA fans took some time to give them their flowers after they were mathematically ruled out of the play-in tournament.
Helluva season regardless. One of the best coached teams in the league
— Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT (@3cbPerformance) April 7, 2023
Great season @utahjazz
Traded away their whole team and still almost made the playoffs 🏔
— Bank Roll Bill💰 (@Billsbestbet) April 7, 2023
Weren’t they like second in the west for a while? Seem like tanking
— 優木せつ菜 🇦🇷 (@nijigasakilove) April 7, 2023
Successful season considering the projected outcome this year. They’ve got nice building blocks with Lauri and Kessler
— Kambui Bomani (@BomaniKambui) April 7, 2023
Never forget pic.twitter.com/z3Qdg0OLmm
— َ (@Kawhimyteam) April 7, 2023
This was quite an impressive season by the Jazz, no doubt.
Coach Will Hardy made his players play hard and compete every single night, even after their roster overhaul and losing some of their key pieces.
They found a gem and potential future Defensive Player of the Year in Walker Kessler, and Lauri Markkanen should be in the running for Most Improved Player after his All-Star caliber campaign.
All things considered, the Jazz might be way ahead of schedule in terms of their rebuild.
And while they’re not likely to land the ultimate unicorn in Wembanyama anymore, it’s nice to see that teams actually want to compete instead of losing their way through the season.NEXT: Lauri Markkanen Is Taking On An Interesting Role This Offseason