OK, so admit it. You were fooled too. When the season started, you had your usual list of suspects for teams that were going to be a factor in the Western Conference this season. Everyone's top three consisted of Dallas, San Antonio and Phoenix, and many figured last spring's playoff teams would only improve. Throw in a healthy Yao and Tracy McGrady, and the return of Don Nelson to Golden State, and both the Rockets and Warriors even nudged themselves into the postseason conversation. But the Utah Jazz? No matter what argument you would present, there was little evidence aside from a 9-4 streak to close out last season to believe that such a substantial turnaround was coming.
Yet with nearly five weeks of the season in the rear view mirror, the Jazz find themselves sitting atop the Northwest Division with a 13-3 record after a franchise record 12-1 start, their best since the 1996-97 season when they ultimately lost to the Michael Jordan-led Bulls in the NBA Finals. The Jazz have been one of the biggest surprises of the league thus far, and they've done it with a roster that goes virtually unrecognized. So who are these guys?