This week marked the 10 year anniversary of John Stockton’s retirement from the Utah Jazz and the end of the Stockton/Malone era in Utah. Over the last 10 years the Jazz have been in the playoffs for just 5 of the years. They have made only a single trip to the Western Conference finals and two other trips into the 2nd round. For a fan base that has only seen 1 year with 35 or fewer wins since 1982 this has been a hard stretch.
However, when compared to other franchises that have had marquee stars of the game retire the Jazz last 10 years look very impressive. I have looked at teams who transitioned out of one era into the next and looked at their performance in 5 to 10 year increments.
Those team are, the Jazz post Stockton/Malone, Lakers post Magic, Boston post Bird/McHale, Bulls post Jordan/Pippen, Pistons post Thomas/Dumars, Pacers post Reggie Miller, Knicks post Ewing, Seattle post Payton, Rockets post Hakeem and Kings post Weber.
I didn’t include the Spurs after David Robinson’s retirement because their was no rebuild with the drafting of Tim Duncan.
In the next 5 years only two teams were able to play above .500 basketball the Lakers and the Jazz.
Over the 10 years since the retirement of the marquee stars only 4 teams have been able to play 500 basketball. The Pistons and the Lakers have managed to add banners to their collection. The Rockets with the pick of Yao Ming and the free agent signing of Tracy McGrady went head to head with the Jazz pick of Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer.
Amazing that in the 10 years since Jordan and Ewing the were both below 40% win teams with all the advantages Chicago and New York bring with their great cities.
In conclusion, while the last 10 years have been not replicated the previous run of Stockton and Malone it is clear in the NBA that is impossible. What the Jazz have achieved over the same time frame is remarkable and only surpassed by the Lakers who were able to sign Shaq because of their city. Winning at an over 50% rate for both the 5 years and 10 years after Stockton and Malone took some very strong work from Kevin O’Connor and the Jazz organization.