The 2016-2017 Utah Jazz
Photo Credit: JOE CAMPOREALE/USA TODAY SPORTS

The 2016-2017 Utah Jazz winning was a welcomed surprise for their fans. Between 2011 to the 2016 season, they had missed the postseason in four straight years and had a losing record for five. In the 2016-2017 season, the team was able to turn it around with a mix of young talent and veteran firepower. Coach Quinn Snyder was a defensive-minded leader and this Jazz was overflowing with players that took pride on the defensive end like center Rudy Gobert and wing Joe Ingles.

The Jazz had the third-ranked defense in the league. Along with first-time All-Star Gordon Hayward averaging 21.9 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game, and 3.5 assists. He was becoming the all-around star player the Jazz needed. The team finished the season with a 51-31 record, an 11 win increase from the previous season, and breaking a four-year playoff drought.

The 2016-2017 Utah Jazz Ended Lob City

The Jazz were the fifth seed going against the four seeded LA Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. The Clippers were favored by many to win the series due to the fact that they were the veteran team. But the Jazz quickly changed the narrative in game one with their midseason acquisition of Joe Johnson paying off big time as he hit the game-winning buzzer-beater to give the Jazz home-court advantage and the series lead.

The Clippers also suffered a devastating blow to their chances of beating the Jazz losing their star Blake Griffin in game four to an injury. Each game in the series was very close with the margin of victory being 1.2 points for the entirety. In-game seven it was the Jazz that prevailed behind Gordon Hayward’s 26 points and a combined 34 from veterans Derick Favors and George Hill. This was the final time that the Clippers would make the playoffs with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Deandre Jordan on the roster. The underdog Jazz effectively ended Lob City and advanced to the next round to face the Golden State Warriors.

This Jazz season could have been deemed a success just by qualifying for the playoffs. After winning the first-round series they were playing with house money. Now facing the first seeded Golden State Warriors, with newly acquired former MVP Kevin Durant, the expectations for the Jazz were low. Subsequently, they were swept in four games which was an expected result but unfortunate for a Jazz team that shocked many with their play.

The Jazz begin their Playoff Streak

The 2016-2017 Jazz did not come back as the same team looking to build off the success from their postseason in the following season. Gordon Hayward left for the Boston Celtics to team up with Kyrie Irving and Al Horford. George Hill signed with the Sacramento Kings and Joe Johnson Signed with the Miami Heat.

Although some of the roster changed the Jazz had a competent front office and were able to retool quickly and not miss a beat. To replace Gordon Hayward the Jazz traded for rookie Donovan Mitchell on draft night in 2017. He turned out to be the next franchise player for the Jazz alongside defensive stalwart Rudy Gobert. The Jazz have not missed the playoffs in the past four years and advancing past the first round twice. Currently, in the 2020-2021 season, the Jazz are the best team in the league and are looking like a legitimate threat in the west to make the NBA Finals. The Jazz have built a culture of success and high-level play all culminating from 2016 and in this season we will see how far they are able to advance in the post-season.