This season has never been about wins, but about development. We've been sold that maintaining a 'winning culture' was the best way to develop our players and stay as far away from Cleveland as possible. Amar posted yesterday about the amount of blowout the Jazz have suffered this year which shows there have been plenty of games we've had this year that are contradictory to that 'winning culture' so often mentioned. I've taken it a step further and looked at where a competitive NBA game turns into going through the motions by pinpointing how early in games we're blown out.
The Jazz have trailed at the end of the 3rd quarter in 50 games this year, trailed at halftime in 44 games this year, and trailed in 39 games after the 1st. We've led at the end of the first 34 times this year. That number suggests that, at least for 1 quarter a game, the 'winning culture' argument isn't too bad. But there are many other numbers to look at.
A side note before continuing: there is a big disparity in overcoming deficits on the road vs. at home. The Jazz are 3-8 at home if trailing at the end of the first, but 2-26 on the road in the same situation.
On average, we are down by 5.9 points at the end of the 3rd, and 3.9 points at halftime. Our smallest point differential quarter is the 4th, only -1.3, which suggests that the games we lose we've lost by the 3rd already.
It took 4 games into the season for the Jazz to get blown out early. The Jazz were down 16 at halftime to the Brooklyn Nets, and never got closer. And then they got blown out early the next 4 games.
Of the games played so far, the Jazz have trailed by 16+ at halftime 13 times. They've also trailed by 16+ after the 3rd quarter 13 times too, but a couple of those were different games. Now that looks pretty bad, because based on that, we can say the Jazz have played in at least 6.5 games worth of meaningless minutes. But there were 4 games of the ones above where the Jazz were able to get with 6, two of which they tied the game in.
Now let's compare that to our tanking brother in the east, Philly. Philadelphia has trailed by 16+ at halftime 15 times. They've trailed by 16+ after 3 quarters a staggering 21 times! I didn't record how many of those games they came back to get close in, but I will note that they did it a few times.
The Jazz are 21-5 when leading after the 3rd quarter. The sixers are 11-3 in the same situation.
Based on the above data, I would say the Jazz are a bit better at staying competitive while losing games, but neither team looks great.