Monday, May 19, 2008

So that's it...

The 2007-08 season is now in the books for the Utah Jazz. For me, this is a huge annual transition point as a sports fan, at least regarding basketball, because I consider myself primarily a Utah Jazz fan and, to a much lesser extent, an NBA fan. I am sure that I will catch some of the remaining games here and there, but the continuing NBA playoffs will not determine my plans now that the Jazz have been eliminated (much to my wife's delight, I'm sure).

This season's playoff exit feels much different than last year's, and ultimately that is a good thing. It was the feeling of many that the Jazz had absolutely no chance against the Spurs in last year's Western Conference Finals. We were just happy to be there. This year's exit seemed too soon. The team expected more. The fans expected more. There was no feeling that the Lakers, or any team, was far superior to the Jazz. In retrospect, there are a lot of "what ifs." To name a few:

  • What if the Jazz had not lost on the road to every Eastern Conference team that didn't make the playoffs except Milwaukee?

  • What if the Jazz had not lost focus in the month of December?

  • What if the Jazz had not shrunk to San Antonio the last game of the season?

  • What if Carlos Boozer played in the 2008 playoffs like he did in the 2007 playoffs, or like he did during this regular season?

There are other "what ifs" as well, like what if the Jazz had pulled the trigger on a Marion for Kirilenko trade? Or a host of controversial calls, and no-calls, in both the Houston and L.A. series. Those are situations for another post not by me. They are out of the control of the players and coaches, and are largely circumstances that are now water under the bridge.

As much as the disappointment now hangs over SLC, and wherever the Jazz Nation has citizens, this is a positive developmental step. What ifs, feelings of regret and of unrealized potential, whether perceived or real, should provide huge motivation for improvement in the off-season. These current bitter feelings should provide the catalyst to develop the leadership and focus needed to propel the Jazz to greater heights. I eagerly await next season to see if the Jazz learn from this season and come out stronger.

1 comment:

Orlando said...

I have to disagree with your argument that no team is far superior to the Jazz. As the Lakers currently stand, they are obviously a better team. I thought the Jazz played pretty well in just about every game, and still we couldn't get past game 6. Sure, things could have gone differently - Boozer could have played lights out, we could have had Korver go off, CJ Miles could have been an all-star, etc. But if you play this series 10 times, I'll bet the Jazz only win one or two of those series. I tip my hat to the Lakers. They are, quite simply, an extremely good basketball team.