On September 30, 2011 Utah Jazz executives, coaches and players weren't even on speaking terms.
Players were working out individually and in small groups and would soon scramble to play in charity exhibitions with others in need of a little competition. And the coaches, led by rookie head coach Tyrone Corbin, were so desperate to do what they do, they invited a bunch of overweight and out-of-shape media types to a one-day training camp.
Because the NBA had locked out its players, there wasn't a lot going on at the Zions Bank Basketball Center, which will host the Jazz's annual media day on Monday. Radio, television and newspaper reporters will be on hand as the Jazz prepare for training camp 2012, Corbin's first full camp as Utah's head coach.
We'll be there, microphones and notebooks in hand, anxiously interviewing players who surely will be anxious to start the new season.
It'll be a far cry from last autumn, when the league's owners and players were coldly attempting to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.
Now, don't get me wrong. There was an excitement in the air but it had nothing to do with real basketball and everything to do with chubby media members exchanging soundbytes for squeaky sneakers.
Poor coach Corbin, he took over for Jerry Sloan in February of 2011, all fired up to leave his mark on the team. Then came one of the worst stretches in team history, followed by the "Summer of No Love," which is to say a summer dominated by the NBA lockout. He had no way of connecting with his player and no way of teaching them his new philosophies.
So he just waited ... and waited ... and waiting. Finally, he got so tired of waiting he sent out invitations to local media members, asking them to drop by for a workout.
Yeah, a fun little workout. Uh-huh.
I still remember Corbin giving us a pep talk as we sat around a locker room normally occupied by athletes. He told us he was going to work us hard, that he expected us to follow instructions.
Some of us really did work hard; really did try to process the information and follow the coaches' instructions. Of course processing is one thing, executing is something completely different.
Personally, I felt great afterward. It was hard work but it was fun. Of course I could hardly walk the next day ... or the next ... or the one after that.
Thankfully, this year will be different. This time actual world-class athletes will be running up and down the court at the ZBBC while the media remain on the sidelines, where they belong.
Thankfully, the NBA will start on time this year. For the Jazz, that means a full-length training camp. They didn't get to have one of those last year and it set them back.
Had Corbin had the chance to really establish himself in his relatively new role, his players would have been more prepared to start the season. As it was, they endured a learning curve before settling in and eventually sneaking into the playoffs.
Oh what a difference a year makes. Last September, there was fretting and hand wringing. This year, everything is in place and it's up to the Jazz coaches and players to take advantage of the extra time.
Not only does Corbin have veterans Mo Williams, Marvin Williams and Randy Foye to run alongside the young core of Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks, he's got power forward Paul Millsap and center Al Jefferson.
Whether or not they'll come together to form a team good enough to compete in the highly-competitive Western Conference remains to be seen. It'll largely depend on their own internal motivation and Corbin's ability to lead them.
For Jazz fans, this surely is a terrific time of year.
And for we slow-footed members of the media, it's great to be back in our proper places.