The Utah Jazz (3-3) won Game 5 even though they shot poorly. They lost Game 6 by shooting even worse. This is not a good trend because from the data we’ve already looked at we know that the Jazz aren’t taking bad shots. They aren’t bricking contested jumpers. Far from it. They just aren’t hitting wide open shots, shots they’ve hit all season long.
Quin Snyder’s offense is about sharing the ball and making that extra pass to the open shooter. We’ve seen this team win almost 55 games this year (51 in the regular season, 3 so far in the NBA Playoffs) by doing exactly that. But so far that 55th win has eluded the Jazz. And that’s because the threes - a huge part of the offense - didn’t fall last night.
So let’s look at it. Let’s look at ALL of it.
All of the shots in the post-season:
Okay, so this is divided into the three base classes: ball handlers, wings, and bigs. For the whole nothing really jumps out.
- George Hill is shooting “okay.” He’s sub 40% from deep, and only 70% from the line. That’s not really what contract year Hill showed during the regular season though. Raul Neto and Dante Exum haven’t played much, and shot even less, so their efforts don’t make a big impact. Shelvin Mack, on the other hand, has not been good at putting the ball into the hoop. Is he someone we can blame for a loss or two? That’s not fair to put on him.
- Gordon Hayward is making his threes and almost never misses from the line. Joe Ingles is having the opposite post-season by missing almost everything he throws up there. Joe Johnson is better inside the arc than out. Rodney Hood can’t even hit 70% from the line.
- Rudy Gobert has been slowed down, and we’re seeing him take more and more shots he doesn’t usually take in games - like 8 foot floaters instead of having the patience or confidence to pivot and back down someone for a closer shot. He’s getting to the line but not shooting his best from there. Boris Diaw is hitting a better percentage from deep but isn’t an offense force with his shooting. Derrick Favors is not having the best time of his life right now. Especially from the line. Jeff Withey is just happy to be here.
Alec Burks, Trey Lyles, and Joel Bolomboy haven’t played in the playoffs so far. So for the 12 who have we’re seeing worse free throw shooting (on the whole) and the threes from the wings not falling.
Let’s look at the frame of reference:
Okay, things were a little different during the season.
- George Hill did more of the little things, while his subordinates bumbled around. Hill scored more (higher PPG), performed better (higher PPS), and did it in fewer minutes (lower MPG).
- Yeah, Ingles, Johnson, and Hood used to make a lot of threes. And for a crew, the wings shot 40.0% from deep. It’s only 35.8% in the playoffs. And again, these are open shots, not contested shots, that they are just flat out missing.
- As for the bigs, yeah, you kind of wonder what Trey Lyles could have been like this season, or what he could have been like in this series after Blake Griffin got injured . . . but still, Rudy was a best who averaged 14 a game. He was unstoppable and shot over 65% from the free throw line. I miss those days.
Okay, but what’s the actual change been from the regular season and the playoffs?
N.B. The position group change (Delta) is for the sum total attempts for each section (FG%, 3PT%, etc), not the average of averages or difference of averages. (So it doesn’t add up to the same score, but it’s the more accurate result.)
Anyway, yeah, Shelvin Mack really looks bad here. But Hill shooting 10% less from the line, in all of these close games does suck. Sure, Rudy is shooting 10% less as well, but that’s more forgivable. He’s only in his 4th year and isn’t a shooter. Favors shooting 20% less is more distressing, but he is shooting better from the field to kind of make up for it.
The most distressing thing is that the wing production is a problem. Out of every position group they take the most FGA, 3PTA, and FTA (totals and per game). So when things go bad there it’s a bigger “uh oh” than, say, the bigmen shooting worse from the FT line. And this is a pretty big Uh oh right now with the group not getting things done on that individual level.
Hayward still makes them look pretty good, especially with his dominance from the free throw line. But Ingles, Johnson, and Hood are all not making the same 3PT% and FT% as they did in the regular season. The majority of these threes are open (only Iso-Joe is taking off the dribble threes), and all of their free throws are open.
This is a tied series where one team has 593 points and the other has 588. It’s a close series. Making open shots shouldn’t be a luxury. But here we are.
If the Jazz continue to leave points at the line, and continue to miss their baseline threes (the Jazz were like 40% from there during the season, went 2/10 last night) it’s going to be a way too soon season locker clean out for all of us.