Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
It didn't take a psychic to figure out what the biggest disappointment for the Jazz season was. For any team, missing the postseason is a huge disappointment, but for a team like the Jazz, who battled as hard as they could in the final month, the pain of coming up short digs a lot deeper than it would for a team in the midst of rebuilding.
While it certainly could be said that the Jazz were figuring out how to pick up the pieces after their Jerry Sloan-era teams gradually fell apart, this was a team that was just as a capable as any of the others as far as competing was concerned. They weren't rebuilding, they were gearing up for a postseason run whether it was one-and-done or a first round upset only to lose in the semifinals.
The Jazz wanted to win just as bad as any other squad, and there's no question raised expectations for this season were warranted. Nobody wants to make the playoffs one season only to miss them the next. Nobody.
The West was far more competitive overall this season, and the Jazz were right in the fight for most of the campaign. For them to fall off the wagon the way they did meant that the Jazz were taking a slight step backwards from getting swept in the first round of the 2011-2012 playoffs.
A trip to the lottery certainly doesn't hurt, but for some Jazz fans hoping the team would improve upon last year's frustration, the end result is all the more frustrating.
Sure, they didn't officially make it to the playoffs, but the Jazz had their own Game 7 of sorts on April 17th. When the Jazz had the opportunity to put the onus on the Los Angeles Lakers by winning their final game of the season, they came up short by double-digits. They were literally playing for their entire season that single night, and they came up short.
Clearly, they weren't ready that night in Memphis against the Grizzlies, and perhaps now they still need another season to prepare themselves and pick up the pieces of a fractured season.
This is a team that needs to find its identity, and even though many hoped they would've accomplished that by the end of this season, it's apparent they're still a work in progress.
Yes, this was one of the biggest disappointments for the Utah Jazz, but it only means the fruits of their labor will be much sweeter when they eventually carve out their ideal image as a team.