The Utah Jazz entered the NBA in 1974. Since then, the franchise has compiled a record of 2,005-1,701 and reached the playoffs 28 times.
However, the Jazz are one of the few franchises in the NBA that hasn't won a title despite boasting some of the most talented teams in league history.
For this piece, we'll be taking a look at the five best Utah teams ever.
The Jazz won 55 games behind their strong defense. Utah gave up only 95.9 points per game during the regular season.
Hall of Famers Karl Malone and John Stockton led the Salt Lake City attack on offense. Malone averaged 25.7 points and 9.8 rebounds, while Stockton put up 14.7 points and 11.2 dimes.
The Jazz began the '96 playoffs by defeating the Portland Trail Blazers, 3-2. Utah then took out the San Antonio Spurs in the second round in six games.
In the Western Conference Finals, though, Utah came up short and lost to Gary Payton and the Seattle SuperSonics.
Another 55-win season for the late Jerry Sloan. Once again, the Jazz were elite on defense, surrendering just 92.0 points a night in the regular season.
Malone averaged 25.5 points and 9.5 boards per game. He helped Utah beat the Sonics in the first round of the 2000 playoffs.
However, the Blazers eliminated Malone and the Jazz in the Western Conference Semifinals in convincing fashion, as Portland took care of business in five games.
60 wins for this Jazz team, which was stellar on both offense and defense. Utah averaged the fifth-most points during the regular season and gave up the seventh-least.
The Jazz had four double-digit scorers in Malone, Jeff Hornacek, Stockton, and David Benoit. However, Utah simply had no answers for one of the best players in NBA history: Hakeem Olajuwon.
In the first round of the 1995 playoffs, the Jazz fell to the Houston Rockets. Olajuwon put up 35.0 points and 8.6 rebounds in the five-game series win while shooting 57.3 percent from the field.
Utah won 62 games behind Malone and Stockton. The team averaged 101.0 points a night, which was good for third in the league.
The Jazz began the '98 playoffs by taking out the Rockets. Utah then proceeded to defeat the Spurs and Lakers to advance to the NBA Finals.
Unfortunately, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were too much for Utah. The Bulls won the series in six, with Jordan averaging 33.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
1. 1996-97 Jazz
This team is widely considered to be one of the best clubs in NBA history despite not winning it all.
Malone averaged 27.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists during the regular season. He won the MVP award over Jordan and Grant Hill.
The Jazz finished the season with an impressive record of 64-18. The 64 wins are the most wins by a Utah team in franchise history. The Jazz were the top seed in the West and the No. 2 seed overall in the 1997 playoffs.
Only Jordan and the Bulls (69-13) had a better record than Utah.
Utah beat the Los Angeles Clippers, Lakers, and Rockets to advance to the '97 Finals. It’s safe to say every Utah sports fan remembers where they were on May 29, 1997. That’s the night Stockton hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer of Game 6 against the Rockets in the WCF to send the Jazz to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
Unfortunately, Jordan and the Bulls took out Utah in the Finals in six games.