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The Downbeat #1765 - Early Stats

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Jazz played a game yesterday. The Jazz lost said game. The Jazz were not very good defensively, in said game. Here is a chart that shows things about the Jazz's defense last year

This covers defensive numbers from last season, and it puts the Jazz in some pretty good company. This season, they have fallen off a bit on eFG%. 4 games into the season, the eFG% is 46%. A huge part of this is the number of FT's their opponents are shooting. In fact, by the measure of FT/FGA (Free throws allowed, per field goal attempt) the Jazz are dead last in the league with .292.

(**Bonus: Click through to the tweet, and read Rockets GM Daryl Morey's reply. It's funny and worth it)

Going into last night's game the Jazz had the best defense in the League (based on DRTG). Even after the thrashing handed out by Lillard and McCollum, they only dropped to second. The biggest problem this team is going to encounter is their pace. Again, they have the slowest pace in the league (by a good margin), and it was a detriment last night. The pace the Jazz play will allow teams with little depth (like the Blazers) to play their best players for as long as they need to (like Lillard) because there is so much down time, especially if their best player is a guard.

When the Jazz don't get into their offensive sets until 6+ seconds into the shot clock, that down time for guards waiting for their defensive assignment to saunter into the offensive set, adds up fast. Think about it: 6 sec x 92 possessions per game, means that the opposing guard could be in a state of relative rest for over 9 minutes in a game. Take into account that the Jazz's offense is really geared to work through the bigs and wings, and there's more time where a guard might just be standing in the vicinity of his assignment, near the corner three pt line.

If you listen to the Jazz broadcasts, you likely have heard even the likes of Matt Harping mention Coach Q's desire to increase the pace. You have likely heard it so much you want to jam a screwdriver in your ears. What's the reason for the player's slowing down? One possibility is the mastery of the offensive sets. It's natural to slow down an action when you are just learning it. Their pace at the end of last season was 90, so.... progress?

Des News bringing the hard-hitting journalism we can all get behind:

Utah Jazz: Dishing out the details on new concession options and food deals at Jazz games

Bobby Macey of the aforementioned news agency, has the updates on the new food options in the arena.

The ones you've heard of:

  • Chick-fil-a
  • Cupbop (Korean bbq in a bowl. Seriously. So good)
  • Swig (Diabetes in a cup. Corn syrup beverages injected with candy and more corn syrup)

Plus a bunch of off-brand stands ran by the arena.

The most important bit from this article:

The pubs in the arena serve food at half price from 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. So even if you’re not a consumer of adult beverages, you can still enjoy a burger, or something else of substance, at a reasonable price before the game starts.

Let's play a game called "How much do you believe in the Jazz?"

Right now the Jazz are 2-2. Take your feelings after last night's game and temper them with your feeling before the game. Do some real meditation on this. Do you have a feeling? Now look at the Jazz's schedule for the rest of November:

@Denver Nuggets                           
Memphis Grizzlies                           
@Cleveland Cavaliers                           
@Miami Heat                           
@Orlando Magic                           
@Atlanta Hawks                           
Toronto Raptors                           
@Dallas Mavericks                           
Oklahoma City Thunder                           
@Los Angeles Clippers                           
New Orleans Pelicans                           
Golden State Warriors

Now how do you feel? The Jazz entered this season with such high expectations, but sometimes it's still hard to see a team that will win >50% of these games. To sum it up: They can, but will they?

Fox Sports took a tweet from David Locke and drew the wrong conclusion:

This one stat shows where the Jazz really miss Dante Exum

The author proposes that the Jazz are shooting so few catch and shoot 3 pointers because "Utah undoubtedly misses the playmaking ability of Dante Exum." Counterpoint: They are taking so few because they are missing the 3/game Dante used to take, Gordon has the yips (he's down about 1 per game from last season), and Burks is using more possessions to drive (he takes less than one per game).