A Closer look at the Jazz offense: Transition Buckets

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 27: Gordon Hayward #20 of the Utah Jazz scores a basket and draws a foul against Josh McRoberts #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 27, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

According to the data at mySynergySports.com the Jazz are the #23rd best team in the league on transition plays, but still manage to control the boards enough to get out and run 15.3% of the time. Without any All-Stars, and filled with youth the Jazz should try to run more when they have the chance. Being almost worst at finishing these plays is bad though. The Jazz used to run the best fast break in the league with John Stockton making the right play, and guys like Karl Malone and Bryon Russell filling the wings, while Jeff Hornacek trailed. Even in the Deron / Brewer / AK / Memo days the Jazz were potent on the run. This Jazz team can't get it right though. Let's take a look at transition plays:

Transition
Bigs # of plays % of plays PPP Rank FG%
Al Jefferson 26 2.6% 1.08 160 52.4%
Paul Millsap 102 11.2% 1.18 113 59.7%
Derrick Favors 36 6.8% 1.25 74 81.8%
Enes Kanter 20 6.7% 1.00 NA 50.0%
Jeremy Evans 5 12.5% 1.40 NA 75.0%
Wings
Raja Bell 47 22.7% 1.43 9 65.1%
Josh Howard 66 14.8% 1.02 191 58.8%
C.J. Miles 133 23.3% 1.11 146 53.1%
Gordon Hayward 145 22.5% 1.28 56 64.2%
Alec Burks 91 24.3% 1.14 129 58.3%
DeMarre Carroll 12 32.4% 0.83 NA 40.0%
Point Guards
Devin Harris 177 30.7% 1.05 175 52.1%
Earl Watson 50 19.4% 0.52 251 27.3%
Jamaal Tinsley 9 7.0% 0.67 NA 6.0%


The good news is that our best guys at this are Raja Bell (#9), Gordon Hayward (#56), and Derrick Favors (#74). The bad news is that outside of Gordon (who has to do it all himself with a coast to coast), other guys are the guys who are taking these shots in transition -- and they are 'constantly doing dumb sh*t'. Look at Josh Howard, things look good with that 58.8 fg%, except this doesn't tell the whole story -- he has a 19+% turn over rate in transition -- which is why his PPP is so low. It effectively makes Howard, a former All-Star, just barely better in transition than Enes Kanter. I can't even make that up. That's just how the facts are.

I like the idea of Freight Train Favors running hard. He needs to do this to get easy buckets. Hayward is already great at finishing around the basket with his length and hang-time. Also up there are Paul Millsap (he seems to do everything well) at #113 best in the NBA, and Alec Burks #129 best in the NBA.

I can't expect a guy like Big Al to finish a lot of these plays. Similarly, our point guards should be the ones passing the ball to finishers (Devin Harris is in attack mode though). We need easy buckets. Nothing is easier than a 3 on 2 break if everyone knows what they are doing and are on the same page. These are buckets we should be getting. More Favors/Burks/Hayward -- less everyone else please.

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