NBA History: A look at how fast the Utah Jazz used to play, and a look to our future

USA TODAY Sports

The more and more looks back at history the more and more I understand the mindset of some of the other fans I get a chance to hang out with every day. For me I became an NBA fan back when the offenses were truly explosive. Then the grind it out Knicks / Pat Riley years that put an emphasis on defense slowed things down quite a bit. The NBA saw this too and changed a lot of the rules to benefit the offensive players again (back in the old day they were just better on offense than now), and we've seen a bounce back for some teams. The Utah Jazz haven't quite returned to their levels of frequency (back when they weren't winning they were still fun to watch), and then when they were winning, they had excellent players that could win games because of an efficient offense.

After the team traded away Deron Williams we have lacked a dynamic player on offense. We may not have one this year, but we do have young legs in Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter. Off the bench we also have Brandon Rush (who isn't old, and probably will start), Marvin Williams (getting there, but should be in peak condition), Jeremy Evans, and Rudy Gobert. That's a solid run and gun group there.

Again, we may not win a lot (we may, we don't know), but at least we can be fun to watch. Part of that is pace of play. Pace can be influenced in specific ways (like offensive rebounds -- which we benefited from the last few seasons, which masked how slowly we actually played), but for the most part it tells the tale of how many offensive possessions your team gets in a given game, on average.

Let's take a trip down memory lane and look at how quickly the Jazz played (by themselves, and their NBA pace rank) over the last 30 seasons:

Jazz Pace NBA
Season (# of Pos in a game) Pace Rank
1 1983 1984 104.9 3
2 1984 1985 105.1 2
3 1985 1986 103.3 9
4 1986 1987 103.2 3
5 1987 1988 101.5 6
6 1988 1989 98.0 22
7 1989 1990 96.1 21
8 1990 1991 95.3 20
9 1991 1992 95.5 17
10 1992 1993 96.5 12
11 1993 1994 93.1 23
12 1994 1995 92.6 16
13 1995 1996 90.0 25
14 1996 1997 90.0 17
15 1997 1998 89.2 21
16 1998 1999 87.0 23
17 1999 2000 89.6 27
18 2000 2001 89.8 21
19 2001 2002 90.3 16
20 2002 2003 89.3 24
21 2003 2004 86.6 28
22 2004 2005 88.4 26
23 2005 2006 87.8 26
24 2006 2007 91.6 15
25 2007 2008 93.2 10
26 2008 2009 93.1 9
27 2009 2010 93.8 9
28 2010 2011 91.0 19
29 2011 2012 91.4 12
30 2012 2013 90.9 21
Average 1983 1988 103.6 4.6
Average 1988 1993 96.3 18.4
Average 1993 1998 91.0 20.4
Average 1998 2003 89.2 22.2
Average 2003 2008 89.5 21.0
Average 2008 2013 92.0 14.0
Average 1983 2013 93.6 16.8

Yeah, when I was a fan the NBA was offense. I can imagine how differently someone who got into the NBA in the mid 2000s views the beautiful game. I guess it would be easily to accept an inferior product if this is the only game you know.

Well, old man comments alone, the Jazz were really slow, but have picked it up a little bit. Still, our 30 year average if 93.6 pos/game. We're below that each of the last five years. So . . . should we ramp it up again?

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