Kragthorpe: Utah Jazz threatening this century’s low point
Published: March 28, 2014 03:42PM
Updated: March 28, 2014 11:33PM
Tribune file photo Utah Jazz foreign players Gordan Giricek (10), Raul Lopez (24), Mehmet Okur (13), Carlos Arroyo (30), Andrei Kirilenko (47) and Raja Bell pose together during media day Monday, Oct. 4, 2004, in Salt Lake City. Giricek is from Croatia; Lopez from Spain; Okur from Turkey; Arroyo from Puerto Rico; Kirilenko from Russia; and Bell from the Virgin Islands.

As the Jazz play the last 10 games of one of the worst seasons in the 40-year franchise history, I’m intrigued by the comparison to 2004-05, the team’s other horrible season of this century.

What’s similar: The market’s apparent acceptance of the poor performance, on a one-time basis.

What’s different: The market’s apparent insistence that the Jazz’s record becomes as bad as possible.

Mostly because of injuries to Andrei Kirilenko and other players and a midseason trade of point guard Carlos Arroyo — believe it or not, one of the team’s best players — the Jazz struggled to a 26-56 record in 2004-05. That was a big dropoff from the overachieving 42-40 mark of the previous year, but was understandable, with Kirilenko playing only 41 games.

There also was anticipation of the NBA Draft, long in advance, but nowhere near this year’s level of preoccupation. Fans may have wished for the Jazz to finish low in the standings for the sake of draft position and increased lottery odds, but media reports did not reflect such sentiment to the extent of this season’s theme.

And that’s even though University of Utah center Andrew Bogut was the projected No. 1 pick, and would be followed by Marvin Williams of North Carolina, Deron Williams of Illinois and Chris Paul of Wake Forest.

The biggest subject of speculation that year was the future of Jerry Sloan, who eventually decided to return and ended up coaching for most of six more seasons.

Certainly, there was interest in the lottery, with the Jazz posting the NBA’s fourth-worst record. The Jazz actually lost two draft slots via the lottery, falling to No. 6, before a draft-day trade enabled them to pick Deron Williams at No. 3.

As of today, the Jazz (23-49) have the league’s fourth-worst record. They’re almost assured of finishing with one of the five worst records in franchise history. And they need two wins in their last 10 games to avoid posting their second-worst record ever — whether that’s considered a good or bad thing, at this point.

Twitter: @tribkurt

Worst of the Jazz

The Jazz’s worst records in franchise history:

Season Record Win %

1974-75 23-59 .280

1981-82 25-57 .305

1978-79 26-56 .317

2004-05 26-56 .317

2013-14* 23-49 .319

1980-81 28-54 .341

* — through 72 of 82 games