NBA 2012: 5 Things the Utah Jazz Must Do to Return to the Playoffs

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NBA 2012: 5 Things the Utah Jazz Must Do to Return to the Playoffs
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

A quick look back on, and a few key points of, the 2011 NBA season for the Utah Jazz:

  • Utah signs-and-trades All-Star forward Carlos Boozer to the Chicago Bulls
  • Jazz acquires forward/center Al Jefferson from the Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Utah signs guard Raja Bell
  • Jazz drafts forward/guard Gordon Hayward and forward Jeremy Evans in the 2010 NBA draft
  • Utah goes undefeated in the NBA preseason (5-0)

Not one true Jazz fan thought that a season with this much promise would turn out the wrong way. Well, to be blunt, things just went from bad to worse after the NBA preseason:

  • The Jazz hover just above the .500 mark during the first-half of the regular season
  • The longest-tenured coach in professional sports history, Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan, resigns/retires
  • Utah sends All-Star point guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets in a trade
  • Jazz fall below .500 with a 39-43 record at the end of the season
  • Utah misses the playoffs for only the third time in the last 23 years

After spearheading the season like a battering ram, the Jazz whimpered out and let internal conflict strike rampantly.

At their last home game, fully knowing that their team had failed to make the playoffs, a sea of eager Jazz fans came to support their broken team. They caught a glimpse of hope for the future as Gordon Hayward single-handedly put away the Jazz's division rival Denver Nuggets with a stunning 34-point performance.

The majority of fans left the arena that night a little heartbroken and disappointed that their hopes had been refuted. But, with the playoffs over, the NBA draft behind us and a lockout in full swing, the average Jazz-fan must wonder: What could the Jazz do to get back in the playoff picture? 

I have some ideas, so read onward...

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