Utah Jazz – Utah is not exactly known for its happening Jazz scene, but the team kept its New Orleans based name when it moved from the Bayou in 1979.
The franchise, which got its start in 1974, put together a couple of respectable seasons in Louisiana, nearly hitting the break even point in 1976 an 1978, but it never made the playoffs in New Orleans.
The Jazz got off to a slow start in Salt Lake City as well, putting together four consecutive losing seasons between 1979 and 1983, but the arrival of head coach Frank Layden signaled a turning point for the franchise.
Utah made its first playoff appearance in 1984 on Layden’s watch and it would do so the remainder of his tenure, which ended 17 games into the team’s 1988-1989 campaign.
Jerry Sloan took the mantel from Layden and he experienced even greater success, navigating the team to six Western Conference Finals and two NBA Finals appearances, both of which it lost to the Chicago Bulls.
At Sloan’s disposal were Hall of Famers John Stockton and Karl Malone as well as notable performers in Jeff Hornacek, Mark Eaton and Byron Russell. Stockton remains the clubs leader in games played, assists and steals while Malone is Utah’s all-time leader in points, rebounds and minutes played.
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