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Top 10 Utah Jazz stories from 2011

Published December 30, 2011 6:58 pm

NBA • Sloan's retirement, trade of D-Will tops year of turbulence
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

For the traditionally stolid, predictable Jazz, 2011 was the year that broke the mold. Jerry Sloan retired. Franchise star Deron Williams was traded to New Jersey. And the club ended the season with a tailspin was historic in its futility. A look at the top 10 stories:

10. Josh Howard signed

By itself, Howard's signing Dec. 15 was technically minimal. But the fact that the small-market Jazz inked the controversial Howard to a one-year deal said everything about Utah's new era.

9. End of the Kirilenko Era

The decade-long Kirilenko Era ended last season, when his $86 million contract expired. The last player-link to the Stockton-Malone years, Kirilenko was talented and versatile. But he will be remembered for his injuries, inconsistency and restrictive contract.

8. Two lottery picks in the draft

The Jazz owned two lottery picks, thanks to the Williams trade (No. 3) and their unhappy season (No. 12). They added size and versatility to their roster, taking center-power forward Enes Kanter and guard Alec Burks.

7. Youth is served

Four of the top 21 draft picks from 2010 and 2011, all of whom are 21 or younger. Add in 24-year-olds C.J. Miles and Jeremy Evans, and 26-year-olds Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, and the majority of the 2011-12 Jazz were young adults.

6. Season-ending collapse

Utah started 27-13 during 2010-11. That was as good as it got. The Jazz ended the season on a horrendous 12-30 slide, setting an NBA record as the only franchise to start so strong and not make the playoffs.

5. Kevin O'Connor rises

With Sloan and Williams gone, and CEO Greg Miller having taken over for Larry Miller, the Jazz more than ever are being made in O'Connor's vision. The longtime GM hasn't been afraid to pull the trigger or take significant risks.

4. Tyrone Corbin replaces Sloan

The Jazz stayed in-house for Sloan's replacement and hired Corbin as their fourth head coach since the franchise moved to Utah in 1979. Corbin was in his seventh season on Sloan's staff when he was promoted.

3. NBA Lockout

From July 1 to Dec. 8 the league's doors were closed. Jazz coaches and executives couldn't talk to players; fans couldn't watch games; and complex collective bargaining agreement terminology replaced points, rebounds and wins. How u?

2. Deron Williams traded

Thirteen days after Sloan resigned, Utah traded Williams to New Jersey for Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, two first-round draft picks and $3 million. Why? The Jazz were certain Williams wouldn't re-sign with them in 2012.

1. Jerry Sloan retires

On Feb. 10, Sloan stepped down as head coach. So did top assistant Phil Johnson. Midway through his 23rd season, Sloan cited fatigue, but many suspected weariness from his contentious relationship with All-Star Deron Williams.

— Brian T. Smith, Steve Luhm






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