2006/07 Jazz team reached 40 win mark before losing 20 games. They were 43-19 at one point of the season. I do not think they were legitimate contenders that year. The first time the team was able to get production from all of its cornerstone players and have the offense click in. Teams adjusted to Jazz. I do not buy that statement. Schedules might have a big role on this.
That team did make the WCF. Sure, it was with a lot of luck - but the Western Finals are still the Western Finals. I think, had they drawn anyone else in the 3rd round not named the Spurs, they actually have a real good shot at winning the west that year.
So it's hard to say being three games away from the NBA Finals - and giving the Spurs a far better series than Cleveland did in that Finals - isn't 'elite'.