This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Washington Wizards are 16-6 on the season, near the top of the southeast division and one of the elite teams in the eastern conference.
But up until recently, they were right where the Utah Jazz currently are, struggling to find their way with a young roster.
So win or lose, the Jazz can take solace in Sunday night. They will see up close how the transition is done in what is considered less than a big market. The Wizards took an elite point guard (John Wall), surrounded him with veterans (NeNe, Marcin Gortat), got themselves a shooter (Brad Beal) and now they are a threat to win their league.
Can the Jazz do the same?
"I really like that core group, they have some good talent, some nice players," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "We were fortunate to get some good veterans to go with our young guys, and they bought into what we were doing."
This is what the Jazz are hoping to become. A team that pairs Trey Burke and Dante Exum with the growing talents of Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors. They want to mature. They want to add pieces, and they want to figure out what it takes to win and do so consistently in the NBA.
Utah struggles with that. The Jazz have shown flashes, but have six wins to show for their struggles and effort. But they can still take solace. The Wizards are a team that went through the pain, after drafting Wall in 2010. Now, they look like a consistent playoff team and eastern conference contender for years to come.