clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Minus Rudy Gobert, the Utah Jazz have a Top 10 offense

New, comments

The Rudy Gobert-less Jazz have lost a step on defense, but look brilliant offensively.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Orlando Magic Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Another week, another rough patch of games. This was Utah’s first extended stretch without Rudy Gobert ... and it showed. The defense wasn’t crisp, the offense opened up due to not running two traditional big men in the same lineup, and injuries to Ricky Rubio and Thabo Sefolosha only exacerbated the problem. There is some hope on the horizon.

Utah got their first road win of the year vs Orlando and, boy, was it unexpected. They rolled into Orlando with a losing record and left with a 40 point win. That’s unexpected. Rodney Hood had 30. Derrick Favors had 25 points and 11 rebounds, his second 20 and 10 game in as many weeks. Donovan Mitchell had 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.

During this stretch Raul Neto is going through some basketball renaissance. While it wouldn’t appear that this is sustainable, there are some signs Utah may be able to survive this stretch of basketball if they can get the type of spacing that comes with Sefolosha and Jerebko at the four with Favors getting his confidence back from two years ago.

But there is major cause for concern, too. Outside of the Orlando game, the Jazz’s defense has looked a wreck and to point to the Orlando game as a sign of things to come is to wear heavily rose tinted glasses.

Summary

W/L: 1-3

vs Minnesota Timberwolves: Loss

at New York Knicks: Loss

at Brooklyn Nets: Loss

at Orlando Magic: Win

The Triad

The Triad stats are Offensive Rating, Defensive Rating, and Pace.

The Utah Jazz’s Offensive Rating is the highest it has been since week 1, posting a 104.0 Offensive Rating. Last week, we analyzed how Utah’s opened up lineup without Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert in at the same time would open up the floor for Utah. It’s doing wonders. Derrick Favors has had two 20 point/10 rebound games in the last two weeks and the flow of the offense looks a lot better. Rodney Hood, the bench scorer, looks like a revelation.

Utah in the past week has the league’s top 10 offense. Imagine that? While down Ricky Rubio and Thabo Sefolosha, the Jazz’s offense turned it up. What’s even crazier about this team is it’s a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Derrick Favors and Jonas Jerebko starting? You have a high powered offense. Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors starting? You have an intimidating defense. The problem going forward is the injuries have shown there are some synergies with certain players, but also highlights what we’ve known since the offseason: not all of the Jazz’s players fit together.

Since his move to the bench Rodney Hood is averaging 22.0 points on 45% shooting from 3 point land. He’s been more consistent, too. Here are his point totals from his past 6 games: 31, 17, 30, 16, 19, 19. This allowed Rodney to come off the bench and just do what he does best: score. He’s not required to check the opposing teams best player on offense, he’s not required to initiate the offense, nor does he have to share the ball with other players. He can just come in and fire away. In that way, Rodney’s value to a team is like a Jamaal Crawford (HEY, we always wanted one of those!)

The Jazz’s defensive has taken a hit. In the past two weeks without Rudy Gobert they went from a defensive rating of 100.2 to 104.3. It could crash even further. While the Orlando game showed that Utah’s offense is much improved, the other 3 games of the week showed how vulnerable the Jazz are on the defensive end, especially if they suffer any more casualties to their perimeter players.

In the past 4 games, Utah’s defensive rating was 108.7. 108.7! That includes Utah’s performance against Orlando, and before Orlando it was league worst levels. With Rudy Gobert out the Jazz have the opposite problem than when he was healthy. The question has turned from “Who will score on this Jazz team?” to “Who will defend on this Jazz team?”

The Jazz’s next four games won’t afford them much time for experimenting as they’ll face the Philadelphia 76ers, Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, and Denver Nuggets. Only one of those teams offers some sort of reprieve from an already really tough schedule.

Triad

Stat Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18 Week 19 Week 20 Week 21 Week 22 Week 23 Week 24 Week 25 Week 26
Stat Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18 Week 19 Week 20 Week 21 Week 22 Week 23 Week 24 Week 25 Week 26
Offensive Rating 105.1 99.8 102.4 100.9 104 105
Defensive Rating 99.5 99.1 100.2 102.3 104.3 104
Pace 94.8 94.7 94.7 96.6 96.1 96
Net Rating 5.6 0.7 2.2 -1.4 -0.3 1

Offense

The Utah Jazz’s offense has improved in a number of areas. Their field goal percentage, 3 point percentage, assists, effective field goal percentage and offensive rebounding percentage are all up from the prior week. That additional spacing, getting people in the right roles, and adjustment made to the offense to get people clean looks, that all helped their offense. That’s the rose-colored glasses look at the offense. It’s improving by a lot and they’re doing it while on the road.

Here’s what worries me ... the turnovers. The Jazz’s turnover issue has not been resolved. the Jazz are approaching Week 6 on the NBA schedule and they are still dead last in turnovers, which is so mind-numbingly infuriating. It’s infuriating because this is a team just stocked with veterans: Rubio, Sefolosha, Jerebko, Favors, Gobert, Ingles, Johnson, and Udoh. They should be able to take care of the rock, instead the Jazz are 28th in the league which continues to undermine their improvement on the offensive end of the floor.

Offense - League Ranking

Stats Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18 Week 19 Week 20 Week 21 Week 22 Week 23 Week 24 Week 25 Week 26
Stats Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18 Week 19 Week 20 Week 21 Week 22 Week 23 Week 24 Week 25 Week 26
Offensive Rating 15 26 24 27 24 22
FG % 2 7 17 28 25 22
3P% 13 20 12 22 13 8
AST 3 10 20 22 21 17
eFG% 3 8 16 26 21 18
TOV% 28 30 30 27 28 21
ORB % 27 24 23 25 24 26
OPP PTS OFF TOV 22 30 27 25 24 21

Here’s why it worries me: the last above .500 team to have a turnover percentage of 15% or higher and an offensive rating as terrible as Utah was the 2004-2005 Chicago Bulls. Interestingly enough, there was another team that mirrored Utah’s offensive woes and turnover issues and still managed to get to 42 wins ... the 2003-2004 Utah Jazz led by Andrei Kirilenko. They missed the playoffs by the way.

What worries me even further is there hasn’t been a team to do so since 2004-2005. It’s almost as though the small ball 7 seconds or less era has eliminated the upstart defensive team with a scrappy offense from clawing their way into the playoffs. Utah either has to have a significant improvement on the offensive end of the ball to overcome these turnovers OR they have to eliminate this turnover issue. If they don’t ... they’ll join the countless many who undermine their best efforts and miss the playoffs.

Defense

HOLY WHAT IN THE WORLD, BATMAN. The Utah Jazz are better defensive rebounders when Rudy Gobert is injured???? Since Rudy Gobert’s injury the Jazz have become better defensive rebounders. Yeah ... I’m as shocked as you are. I ... did not see that coming.

There’s a couple things that get lost in that stat. The Utah Jazz have the 7th highest Defensive Rebounding % since Rudy went down at 79.3%. BUT ... they’re 22nd in the league in total defensive rebounds per 100 possessions at 32.2 rebounds per game. So what’s happening? Opposing offenses are making more shots against them, less opportunities for defensive rebounds, and the Jazz are capitalizing on what little opportunities there are. In other words, the Jazz’s defense is getting lit up from the perimeter. Not fun.

When I talked about the offense and said it was so g*sh d*rn frustrating that they have so many turnovers, it’s because they create so many turnovers on the other end. If they could just clean up their turnover issue they could be a wrecking ball on the defensive end of the ball. Instead they are more like the Chicago Bears defense during the Rex Grossman era. Their offense is VERY reliant on their defense creating scoring opportunities.

Utah still ranks #1 in the league in steals. As evidenced by Donovan Mitchell having 3 steals the other night against the Orlando Magic. Quin Snyder is still letting Utah gamble for turnovers without Rudy Gobert erasing defensive miscues. That’s allowed teams to punish Utah for those gambles.

Defense Ranking

Stats Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18 Week 19 Week 20 Week 21 Week 22 Week 23 Week 24 Week 25 Week 26
Stats Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18 Week 19 Week 20 Week 21 Week 22 Week 23 Week 24 Week 25 Week 26
Defensive Rating 8 4 3 3 6 7
DRB% 9 20 19 15 11 10
Opp. TOV% 3 5 3 2 2 2
Steals 2 4 2 1 1 2
Blocks 5 3 3 3 2 4
OPP PTS PAINT 1 7 2 1 2 5

Worst of the Week

NBA: Utah Jazz at New York Knicks Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Ricky Rubio has struggled. Maybe his struggles have been that achilles and he’s been playing through it. Maybe it’s just the new setting and teams are disrupting him on that end of the court. Whatever it is, Ricky Rubio is struggling. So much so that Raul Neto’s minutes this week have been the best minutes the Jazz have seen at the point guard position since Ricky Rubio’s exciting first two weeks with the Jazz.

Ricky Rubio over the past week had the team’s lowest Offensive Rating at 98.7. The closest teammate was, surprisingly, Joe Ingles, who also had a bit of an off week. With these two struggling at the same time, it’s no wonder Utah went 1-3 in Week 5.

Utah needs Rubio to return somewhere close to the Rubio that showed up the first two weeks of the season. We miss him. He was exciting, emotional, and played with passion. Rubio’s problem right now looks between the ears and one can only hope he snaps out of it soon. The Jazz crave his defense, but offensively he puts Snyder in an awkward situation of whether he can afford to play him.

Best of the Week

NBA: Utah Jazz at Orlando Magic Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

There are a lot of players who are deserving of this spot this week. We could point to Rodney Hood who seems to have found the well of consistency off the bench. Or we could praise Derrick Favors who had his SECOND 20/10 game in two weeks. We could talk about Donovan Mitchell weathering the storm as a rookie and almost putting together a triple double. But today we’ll focus on an unsung hero that at one point was on the chopping block for a roster spot and has proven to be ready when his number was called: Raul Neto.

Raul Neto in the past week has a Net Rating of 30. THIRTY!!! His assist percentage looks right out of Rubio’s playbook. Neto had an assist to turnover ratio of 4.67, an EFG% of 69.0% with a usage rate of 20.2%. He averaged 12 points, 4.7 assists, 2.0 rebounds, and only 1.0 turnover a game. For a guy who emulated John Stockton, he looked like a chip off the old Stock for a week. Raul Neto is your player of the week.