As the door slowly closes on this frustrating Utah Jazz season, I had to sit and think to myself of what the silver lining could be. Some might argue that the best thing to take away from this season is the draft pick at the end of the day. Some might say they’ve been encouraged by “development.” Those things aside, let’s think about highlights – specific moments from this season that we can’t help but shake our head, smile, and say, “man, that was freaking awesome.” Broken down into three categories – There Should be an I in Team, Human Pogo Stick, and Delicious Game Winners – I’ve laid down moments I won’t forget from the 2013-2014 forgettable season.
There Should be an I in Team
Kicking the list off are memorable individual performances. Spoiler – there are none from John Lucas III, however his late game fight could’ve been a contender, nor any from Andris Biedrins, although his perfect hair part always needs to be considered. Luckily for the future and for optimistic Jazz fans, there were plenty off great stat lines from the “Fab 5” that give off promise for sunnier days ahead.
Runner up: Alec Burks
Burks put on a display when he went off against the Denver Nuggets on January 13th. Burks has had a great season in general, but the night in Salt Lake vs the Nuggets was truly special. Mr. Burks finished with 34 points, many of them nifty layups that turned into And-1’s. My personal favorite move was a behind the back dribble against Randy Foye that brought him close to the rim where he then went up against the Manimal (Kenneth Faried) and finished strong with the left hand. Talk about pretty.
Winner: Gordon Hayward
I am one of the few that have been disappointed in Hayward’s game this season, but will admit that he has had his fair share of memorable games and moments throughout the season. The best, of course, came against the big bad Thunder on Tuesday, January 7th. Hayward scored the Jazz’s last 17 points, single handily giving the Jazz the 112-101 victory. Hayward finished with a FAT stat line of 37 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, and a block. Going head to head vs Kevin Durant is no small feat, so Hayward deserves the kudos if you ask me.
Human Pogo Stick
Also known as the Jeremy Evans category. I for one am extremely grateful to have guys like Jeremy Evans on my home-team. I love the guy, his energy, his hustle, and most importantly, his hops. THE DUDE CAN GET UP!
The other night, Evans went up and finished with the left hand against the Golden State Warriors. While the Jazz were on the wrong side of a route, this let me pump my fist and say “Suck it Warriors.” It was an impressive dunk and certainly one to add to his highlight reel.
But my favorite has to be the alley-oop from Ian Clark against the New Orleans Pelicans a few days earlier on March 28th. You don’t even realize how high Evans is until you realize his hands could touch the top of the white box on the backboard. His rocket boosters ignite and up, up, and away does Evans go.
Every year there are a few of these and they are always the best. Let’s just get straight to it.
Runner Up: Follow up Favors
With the Jazz and Lakers tied at 103 apiece, Gordon Hayward directed traffic with 8 seconds left, dribbled down the right side of the court and put up a shot that bounced off the rim. Down low, completely forgotten about, lay Derrick Favors who burst for the rebound and hammered home the bucket to put the Jazz up two with two seconds left. The team and crowd went wild and the Jazz held on to the victory.
Winner: Trey for Trey
You saw this coming, right? You had to see this coming. In my opinion, this was the best moment of the year. Yeah, it might have been the shot that cost the Jazz a Top 3 draft pick, but for one night, it didn’t matter. Trey has been clutch all year, hitting a load of big buckets that make your eyes pop, but this was the biggest. After a Orlando missed free throw, 10 seconds was on the clock and the Jazz down two. Hawyward controlled the ball and many believed it would be his game winner to take. He drove the length of the court, straight to the hoop, and somehow saw Burke drift to the corner. He delivered the timely pass and Burke let her fly. Splash.
Did I miss any? What were your favorite moments from the season this year? Comment below and let me know your thoughts!