Jazz

Does Utah Have the Best Fan Base in the NBA?

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Utah can thank Donovan Mitchell for becoming relevant in the NBA again. They were awarded a home opener against the Warriors, a Christmas Day game against the Trail Blazers, and immediate relevancy in a Western Conference that’s nothing short of a shark tank.

That being said, we must not forget who has had to ride this roller coaster from way back when — the fan base.

Long gone are the days of John Stockon and Karl Malone and the idea of reaching the NBA Finals seemed like it might never come to fruition. Especially with a smaller market, attracting top-tier free agents is basically a mission impossible unless a miracle really did happen.

They thought Gordon Hayward could get them to the promised land, but getting left behind for Boston might have been the best thing to happen to the fans in quite some time. It left them bitter, confused, and concerned all at the same time. But all it took was one draft for that to change entirely.

47 games into last season, the Jazz were one loss away from being ten games below .500 for the season. That is when the Jazz went on their unprecedented stomp through the rest of the schedule en route to a playoff berth and the birthing of soon-to-be superstar Donovan Mitchell.

That rise to power did not come without a plethora of agony; but that weight was lifted last season.

All of that frustration came out in celebration and chaos aimed at none other than the Oklahoma City Thunder. You could pin the Thunder’s problems last year on Carmelo Anthony making things funky with his style of play, or the sub-par performance from Paul George when the team needed him most, but dig a little deeper. Utah was up 25 in Game 5 in Oklahoma City nearing the fourth quarter before the Thunder made an absurd run to push the series to six games.

If nothing else, that should have been what made it clear that Oklahoma City was in do or die mode. The bottom line is that the Jazz choked in Game 5, but handled business in Game 6. Not too long after, Russell Westbrook made it publicly known how displeased he was with Utah fans.

While some of his accusations haven’t necessarily been proven about inappropriate gestures or comments from fans, the fact of the matter is that the Salt Lake City faithful still managed to get in the head of a guy who was the reigning league MVP at the time.

Not to mention that he also had two potential future Hall of Famers on his team and home court advantage was in his favor.

With the way things are heading into next season, the hangover on Gordon Hayward is well past due. There’s a new generation of Jazz basketball, and Vivint SmartHome Arena is here for all 82 games and beyond.

And with the Warriors supposedly getting stronger and LeBron James heading out to the Lakers, they’re going to need all of the help they can get.

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About Keith Rivas

Keith is based In Salt Lake City and covers the Jazz for TLSM. Follow him on Twitter @mrkeithrivas for all things Utah Jazz.

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