As the world knows the Utah Jazz picked up two franchise changing players in the mid 1980’s. The NBA and the Utah Jazz would never be the same again.
John Stockton – During his 19 year career he averaged a double-double, with 13.1 points and 10.5 assists per game. He holds the NBA’s record for most career assists 15,806, as well as the record for most career steals 3,265. He had five of the top six assists seasons in NBA history. He holds the NBA record for the most seasons, games, and consecutive games played with one team, and is third in total games played, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Parish. He missed only 22 games during his career, 18 of them in one season. He played in 38 games where he tallied 20 or more assists.
Karl Malone – The Mailman,” spent his first 18 seasons 1985–2003 with the Utah Jazz and formed a formidable duo with his teammate John Stockton. Malone was a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, a 14-time NBA All-Star, and an 11-time member of the All-NBA first team. Having scored the second most career points in NBA history 36,298, and holding the record for most free throws both attempted and made, he is generally considered one of the greatest NBA power forwards.
When Karl went to the Lakers during his last season, it marked the end of an era. Up to this point in NBA history great players wanted to prove that they could take their teams to the championship teams. As soon as the failed collaboration came together, it would signal to players that it was acceptable to seek out other amazing players and try to form super teams. Players began to dictate to their teams where they wanted to play.
This series of events had an unintended consequence for the Utah Jazz and almost all small market teams. The Utah Jazz might be able to draft an amazing young talent, and develop them into a high quality player, but as soon as they develop they want out to not just to find money but find their championship team. It would be nearly impossible to find the talent like Stockton and Malone, and hold onto them for as long as those two remained with the Jazz. Recent examples like Deron Williams, or Paul Millsap, highlight the point. Therefore the Jazz need to find lightning in a bottle with the draft, and develop the players quickly to have a chance at a deep playoff run, or maybe a championship.