Sunday Syncopation #17

Some more thoughts on where this losing streak places this team among the other losing streaks in the past 30 seasons; where we take our shots from; and how post ups are letting us down this week -- in the Sunday Syncopation!

  • In the last 30 seasons the Jazz have had a losing streak of at least 6 games a grand total of 6 times. Probably even more important is that the Jazz have lost at least 6 games in a row two times in the last five seasons, and three times in the last ten. These types of losing streaks are more akin to the struggles of a young team. That said, if you look at the Stockton and Malone era coming out party being 1987-1988, and the Deron Williams era coming out party being 2007-2008, the new trajectory fails to match up with the older one. There are a number of reasons for this, but this is not the place to really go into it.

  • More than the losing streak, I think looking at the losing slump is a better indicator of futility. By this measure, our worst part of the season (getting 8 losses in 11 games) is actually ‘above average’ (in terms of winning %) compared to the data from the last 30 years. More so, the winning % of 27.3% is one of the better marks in Deron’s career.

  • Of course, there are a number of reasons why a streak even begins. Part of it may be due to injuries. Another factor would be the schedule. A third would be cohesion / chemistry problems in the locker room. I don’t think that any of these three issues would be why we lost so many games in a row – I think it’s just defense. But here I am repeating myself.

  • A number of people have had their say on what they think it is. Clintonite linked (via twitter) this Dave Berri article about understanding the Jazz. The Wages of Wins is an interesting numbers heavy website if you guys are not familiar with it. It’s worth a look. Zach Lowe (at SI) thinks lineups have something to do with it. He’s not wrong.

  • I’m kind of sick talking about this losing streak myself. Let’s move onto this question from Spencer @theutahjazzblog (which you guys should be checking out frequently). He wanted to know what the percentage breakdown of our shots were coming from.

  • First of all, these are attempts, not just successful offensive plays. That’s why we have 19% of our plays be Spot Up jumpers, while in actuality, we are only averaging 0.96 points per possession when we finish the play with a Spot up (a whopping 39.4 fg% on those). Take a look at the comparative data from MySynergySports.

  • It would be great if we focused on offensive plays where we’re actually competent in scoring with. In terms of spot up FGA, those comprise 23% of all of our FGA. (Which is a bigger number than the number of plays we run that end in a spot up – which is 19%) A large part of our offense, for better or worse, involves Raja Bell and Andrei Kirilenko attempting spot ups. Raja has attempted 126 spot ups, and out of those 126 shots, has made only 46. That’s a 36.5 fg%, which isn’t that great for a shooting guard. What is worse is that Spot-ups comprise 44% of all of his shot attempts. Andrei, in a similar display of great shooting, has attempted 117 spot ups, making only 42 of them. That’s a 35.9 fg%, which is completely in the same neighborhood of Raja Bell. Spot ups are 32% of all the shot attempts AK47 is taking right now. Obviously you have to take spot up jumpers at times (be them the predictable ones where Raja comes off a series of screens, the ‘gotta take ‘em’ ones of Andrei when he’s super open, or the legit ones where there is a lot of ball movement, and any player is left with the ball and no defenders). I wish that we either made more of them, or diversified the offense a little more.

  • Only 13% of our offense is transition offense. We’d be much better off if we could up this value somewhat, because transition offense is where we have the highest points per possession (PPP). Maybe we can’t run as much as I want, in that case I think it’s important to go with what else is working.

  • For the Jazz, right now that means running the flex offense and hitting cutters (or Evaneseses for oops), and Pick and Rolls. When we run a pick and roll, the roll man is scoring at a rate of 51.6 fg%. That’s for the entire team, so that means when you add up all the work of roll men (from Sap and Al to Fran and Fes) they are all making their shots.

  • You know what’s the best part of that statistic? The best part is that having the roll man shoot is only something we do 4.2% of the time (in terms of how many FGA is from roll man vs. our total FGA). Maybe simplifying the offense could be a good thing. After all, we saw Earl Watson just run the point on little more than instinct, and guys were getting easy buckets all over the place.

  • The last part that I’m interested in is how well we are doing on post ups. For me, that has to start and end with Al Jefferson. He’s gotten the ball in the post 292 times so far this season, and taken 254 shots. Over all, Al has a PPP of 0.96 and a 47.8 fg%. On Post-ups? He’s only getting 0.86 PPP off of 40.9 fg%. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but this was supposed to be his game. Right? I’m not just dumping on Al here, he’s not the only culprit. But other guys were not sold under the by-line of "genius post up moves / ability to score in the paint". Take a look at how bad our bigs are . . .

  • Al looks bad here because he’s such a big part of our post up attack. If only 10% of his FGA were on Post ups, a dip by -0.10 PPP would not be that big of a deal. (He wasn’t really killing it on PPP as it stands) He takes almost 40% of his shots from Post ups. That volume is where this becomes a problem. (Who would ever guess that the Wheezy isn’t a high percentage shot?) Elson is horrible off of post ups, but that only makes sense because he’s more of a cutter / face up guy. Okur has not played enough for us to really gauge how well he’s doing off of post ups. He is better from there than anywhere else right now, though. Bringing up the real is Fesenko – who is doing his job with little fan fare.

  • Paul Millsap is doing just fine in the post, and is a bright spot in an otherwise sad discovery – our bigmen aren’t getting it done off of post ups. It seems like I’m coming down extra hard on Al Jeff every week – which is not my intention. If anything, out of him and Millsap, I’d bench Millsap first if I had to bench one of them. Other Al-coholics may wish to read this nice piece by Clint at Spencer’s blog. (ah, now that, kids, is what we call a ‘callback’)

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