The 2013-14 season will be one Utah Jazz fans won't soon forget.
While there were some scattered good times, the majority of the year was rife with shortcomings. The hope is that these struggles will pay off with future successes.
What are some of the high, and low, moments from a season that Jazz fans and team management are surely anxious to see in the rearview mirror?
If any game made fans feel like it was the good old days, it was Utah's victory over the defending NBA champions on Feb. 8.
EnergySolutions Arena looked like the formidable fortress that it used to be, rather than the sea of empty seats it has been for much of this season. Marvin Williams led the Jazz with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including 5-of-8 from behind the arc.
Utah's defense was the star of the night as the Jazz held LeBron James to a season-low 13 points on 4-for-13 shooting. The Heat's big three of James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh scored a combined 45 points while they average 62.4 points per game.
That win was certainly a welcome oasis in last season's howling desert.
Utah couldn't have gotten off to much of a worse start. There were even rumblings when the team lost its first eight games that the Jazz may go 0-82.
That of course didn't happen, as the squad got in the win column with a home victory over New Orleans, and Utah rebounded from the poor start to play near .500 ball in the middle portion of the season.
Still, this was an ominous beginning to what has been a tough season. Utah was outscored 100.3 to 88.5 in its first 15 games and gave up 100 points or more in nine of those contests.
How fitting was it for legendary head coach Jerry Sloan to raise his banner with Karl Malone and John Stockton there with him?
Rather than go with any number Sloan wore as a player, Utah fittingly chose "1223" for Sloan's banner. That's the number of wins Sloan racked up over his illustrious career.
That ceremony brought back memories of when Sloan roamed the sideline while Stockton and Malone rocked any opponent that dared play at the Delta Center. It was a welcome reminder of great years gone by.
Sadly, the Jazz weren't able to win against Golden State to make it a perfect night.
Heading into the 2013-14 season, it appeared there were two youngsters the Jazz would lean on for leadership: Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors.
Both have had made their presence felt on the stat sheet and have taken over at times, including when Hayward scored Utah's final 17 points in a shocking win over Oklahoma City in early January. Hayward led the team in scoring, and Favors led the Jazz in rebounding and had 25 double-doubles this season.
Yet neither player was the consistent, reliable leader this young team needed when the rough times hit. Hayward's shooting touch would get away from him at times, and at other times it felt as if Favors had disappeared. Too often, veterans like Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams were the team's emotional leaders; for the Jazz to improve, that needs to change.
Utah chose not to extend Hayward's contract and he will be a restricted free agent this offseason. If he were to leave, the leadership mantle would again need a willing player to fall upon, though the expectation would be it is Favors team. Could he step into the role next season?
Kevin Durant was unstoppable against the Jazz on Jan. 7, as he dropped 48 points on Utah at EnergySolutions Arena, but Gordon Hayward found a way to steal a win from Durant and the Thunder. Hayward put the team on his shoulders as he scored Utah's final 17 points to ensure a shocking 112-101 win over Oklahoma City.
The Jazz outshot the usually red-hot Thunder 58.8 to 39.3 percent. While the Jazz couldn't keep Durant from scoring big numbers, they did hold him to 3-for-13 shooting from behind the arc.
Oddly enough, some fans consider this game a lowlight. Of course, those are the fans that wanted the Jazz to tank at all costs.
With talented college freshmen like Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle, among others, who could opt for the NBA this summer, there has been much hype that this could be a top-heavy draft. Wiggins and Parker have declared for the draft already, and Randle could follow suit.
That prospect made tanking a popular fan subject — there's even a "tanking for Wiggins" website — including Jazz fans. Twitter became a hot spot for Utah supporters to share hopes that their team would struggle and earn a better shot at a top draft pick.
Of course, not all Jazz fans felt losing would benefit the Jazz, and debates became commonplace.
While Trey Burke's season got off to a late start due to a broken finger, the Jazz couldn't have asked for much more from the rookie from the University of Michigan. It's no coincidence that the Jazz won just one game while Burke recovered.
Burke was a solid contributor with 12.5 points and 5.6 assists per game. He still has some work to do on shooting as he's making just 37.8 percent from the field. That said, he's come through for the Jazz in clutch moments, such as his three-pointer to beat Orlando on March 22.
Burke will likely be a first-team NBA All-Rookie selection, and his future is bright. The season could have been a lot worse without Burke's clutch moments.
Speaking of tanking, that word permeated the conversation about Utah's home finale against the L.A. Lakers on Monday. This wasn't your typical Jazz-Lakers matchup, as the winner of the contest would lose ground in the "tanking" standings and lessen its chances at grabbing one of the top draft picks.
The game itself was filled with little to no defense, as the teams were tied at 86 heading into the final period. And from there, Utah was dominated by the team from Los Angeles. The Lakers scored 16 of the first 17 points of the fourth quarter and Nick Young, aka "Swaggy P", scored a season-high 41 points to send Jazz fans home for the final time this year with a sour taste in their mouths in a 119-104 loss.
It was an unceremonious end to the home season for the Jazz, who went 4-21 overall since the final day of February.
Alec Burks has become an indispensable sixth man for the Jazz this season, as he's stepped up his game in just about every way this season. Burks is second on the team in points per game, with an average of 14.0. He's become better at knowing when to drive, when to shoot and when to pass.
The Jazz couldn't ask for a better spark from off the bench. Too bad they don't have more like him.
Just five days before Christmas, Utah headed to the South to take on former Jazzmen Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver. It was the team's first time facing Millsap since the 2006 Jazz draft pick signed with the Hawks.
Millsap, Carroll, Korver and Atlanta made quick work of the Jazz, ensuring the road team wouldn't be enjoying the reunion. By halftime, the score was 55-34 in favor of Atlanta, and the Hawks — with all three former Jazzmen in the starting lineup — cruised to the win.
Millsap put up a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Atlanta outshot the visiting Jazz 52.3 percent to 37.2 percent from the field.
Jeremy Evans' almost superhuman dunks are highlights in and of themselves. Just check out this high-flying jam against the Pelicans.
He's done well as a rotational player this season. In 18 minutes per game, Evans is averaging 5.9 points and 4.6 rebounds. He averaged just 2.0 points and 1.6 rebounds in an average of 5.8 minutes per game. He's taken a big step toward becoming a more well-rounded player.
That said, his jams make highlight reels any day.
Jazz brass declared the franchise's future would be built on defense, making it a tough pill to swallow knowing that the team ranked 17th in the NBA in scoring defense.
On Feb. 22, Kevin Love tore through the Utah team on both ends of the floor at EnergySolutions Arena. That night, the T'Wolves big man, who has made a career of putting up impressive statistics, reached a new milestone: his first triple-double.
Love collected 37 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high 10 assists in leading Minnesota to the 121-104 victory. He scored 22 points in the third quarter to keep any hopes of a Jazz rally at bay and hit six 3-pointers. He completed the triple-double with a long outlet pass to Corey Brewer, who then made a layup.
There's no way to end a close game with more of an exclamation mark than Derrick Favors' put-back jam against the Lakers on Dec. 27.
After Hayward missed the go-ahead layup, Favors made sure that the ball found the hoop after grabbing the offensive rebound by throwing down the hammer. Just watch for yourself.
It was certainly the highlight of the year for Favors.
During the offseason, Utah made several cost-cutting moves to prepare for the future. Among them was a salary-dumping trade that brought Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush and Andris Biedrins to Salt Lake City.
While Jefferson played a big role in the Jazz's season this year, the other two did not.
There was hope Rush could help Utah's outside shooting; instead, the oft-injured guard played in less than half of the team's games this season and averaged just 2.1 points per game. He hit just 34 percent of his 3-pointers and hasn't played in a game since March 30.
Biedrins, meanwhile, is already out of a Jazz uniform, as the center was waived by Utah in early April to make way for rookie big man Erik Murphy on the roster. Biedrins played in just six games for the Jazz this season.