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Playing Jazz Basketball: A look at Offensive Treads - Scoring off of Spot ups

We've been looking at offense a lot lately here. There are two reasons for that. The first is that there are more numbers recorded for offense. And the second one is that we're going to spent a LOT of August looking at defense. I think among the qualities we think out when we think of "Jazz Basketball" would be playing tough, physical defense. Another would be playing without making excuses; just going out there and getting it done. Still, the number one quality we think of when we think of Jazz Basketball is a smooth, shifting, cooperative offense that bewilders defenders and excites onlookers. Our offense, at its' best, is Jazz personified in the bodies and minds of five players doing things in unison.

It's not the stagnant, boring play every single time down the court. And it's not an iso heavy offense that emphasizes one star over the 'back up singers'. Our offense is supposed to be Jazz because we are the Jazz. We're not some Top 40 station playing pop music. Similarly, our offense is not supposed to be vapid and formulaic like pop music.

Let's get back to playing Jazz Basketball. Let's look at some offensive trends -- after the jump, what's going on with our Spot up shooting?


The Jazz have had a number of great spot up threats. Guys who could hurt you if you were stupid enough to leave them open -- from The Golden Griff to Kyle Korver. Not just the stars like Jeff Hornacek could get it done, but our floor spacing, offensive unselfishness, and game play used to be what the Spurs try to do now. We used to get a lot of high quality production in low quantity from our role players. The Jazz need to get back to that!


The Three Year Trends:

Read it and weep...


Wow. We went from #11th best in the league to #26th in short order. Losing Kyle Korver, Mehmet Okur, and others will do that do you, for sure. Spot ups used to be 20% of our offense, which when you look at sharing the ball and playing Jazz Basketball, that makes perfect sense. Over the last three years we got worse at making them, we took less, and it became less and less of a weapon.

And our offense got predictable, boring, and un-Jazz like. Part of the problem is who we had on the court. Part of the problem was some guys shooting worse than they should have. And part of the problem HAS to also be our offense. You can get spot up shots with clever play, you don't need a HOF resume as a coach to create situations where you get them. Especially when you have a 'star' like Al Jefferson who is supposed to attract defensive attention. Oh yeah, teams single him. He's not scary at all for defenses.

The key for getting open guys spotting up, and thus, a reason for them to shoot, and thus, using spot ups more -- is to create defensive help situations around certain spots on the floor. The second key would be for guys to recognize that and go to the open spots. It's not just Big Al's fault for not being a great passer. It's not just Devin Harris' fault for not being Chris Paul. It's not just Ty Corbin's fault for not calling pick and rolls that will create that necessary defensive help situation.

It's also the fault of the would be shooters for not moving to open spots.

It's a fundamental problem that SHOULD be fixed. It needs to be fixed onto all steps of the process.


Off-Season changes:

The Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor went out and brought in Mo Williams, Randy Foye, and Marvin Williams via trades and free agent signings. He also went out and got Kevin Murphy - but he was drafted and I have no data on him, also he's supposed to be a scorer not really a shooter, but in the Summer League he did hit a number of shots from spotting up. The Jazz brought in some guys who CAN make spot up shots. It's still up to a) them to get open, but they can only do that if b) the coach calls plays that create defensive help situations, and c) our main players do their job by being unselfish.

We brought in better band mates, but the sound of the Jazz is only sweet if people are working together.


The Band:

Here is the data for the guys NOW on our team who were about 200th best (by PPP rank) in the NBA last season (2011-12). This data is from, of course. I've also included ePPG (estimated points per game), which is just what it appears to be: How many points that player scores per game from this play type. Why Top 200? That's basically your Top 6 players at this play, and isolates the guys who are in that "better than average" spot at this thing in the NBA. The more Top 200 guys you have the better, and the more options you have.


The Jazz now have 6 guys here, where they SHOULD have 6 guys. (200/30 = 6.7?) Seven guys, but hey, you can't have everything if you always round things up. Three of these guys take 30 or more % of their possessions as Spot Up: Randy, Marvin, and DeMarre. Two other players shoot about 40 fg% or above, Maurice and Alec. Three of the players are Top 100 in rank, and one of them is #34. Of course, these are the three main targets of our off season.

KOC spotted up and made his shoots to help stop the trend of getting progressively worse from deep.

From 2009-2010 till last season the Jazz lost about 3 ppg (2.93 ppg) from Spot ups alone. Our margin of victory was razor thin already. A little help from the outside will help. A little more effectiveness and attempts from outside within the flow of our offense will help us get back to playing Jazz Basketball. We could be on the right path with some of the guys we have now.