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Statistical Hope for the Utah Jazz

The Warriors are scary, but the Jazz can be too

NBA: Playoffs-Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

We all know who the Golden State Warriors are. A team that won an NBA record 73 games added an MVP in his prime. In the first round they swept the Trailblazers with ease, going +72 and averaging 119.5 points in 4 games. To be frank, the Utah Jazz have no business beating the darlings of the NBA in a 7 game series.

But this is SLCDunk. This is where we come to express our Jazz fandom and drink the proverbial Koolaid. So my goal is to bring hope to those who have none by looking into some statistical measures the Utah Jazz should focus on.

GSW Offense

Offense In Wins In Losses
Offense In Wins In Losses
FG% 50.5 (1) 44.7 (23)
TS% 61.2 (1) 53 (30)
3pt% 40.9 (1) 26.7 (30)
Pace 102.68 (3) 100.35 (9)
Off Rtg 116.4 (1) 98.8 (30)
OREB% 23.3 (16) 21.1 (26)
FTA rate 0.261 (19) 0.253 (26)
PTS off TO 19.8 (1) 17.5 (5)
2nd Chance PTS 12.9 (17) 11.1 (26)
% PTS from 3's 32.3 (5) 24 (26)

GSW Defense

Defense In Wins In losses
Defense In Wins In losses
Opp 3pt% 31 (1) 26.7 (30)
Opp REB 45 (6) 41.9 (28)
Opp REB% 51.5 (6) 21.1 (26)
Opp OREB% 24.3 (24) 28.7 (30)
Def Rtg 99.3 (1) 109 (26)
Opp 2nd Chance PTS 13.5 (23) 11.1 (26)
Opp PTS off TO 16.3 (17) 18.7 (29)
Opp EFG% 47.1 (1) 49.4 (26)
Opp FTA rate 0.263 (12) 0.249 (7)

On an individual player basis here are the Warriors top 4 players:

In wins

  • Stephen Curry: 25.7 pts, 4.3 reb, 6.8 ast, 43.7 3pt%, 47.9 fg%
  • Kevin Durant: 25.5 pts, 8.2 reb, 5.2 ast, 41 3pt%, 54.5 fg%
  • Klay Thompson: 23.1 pts, 3.7 reb, 2.2 ast, 44.2 3pt%, 48.8 fg%
  • Draymond Green: 9.9 pts, 8.0 reb, 7.3 ast, 32.4 3pt%, 40.7 fg%

In Losses

  • Stephen Curry: 23.6 pts, 5.1 reb, 5.6 ast, 29.4 3pt%, 41.9 fg%
  • Kevin Durant: 23.2 pts, 8.5 reb, 3.0 ast, 23.0 3pt%, 49.7 fg%
  • Klay Thompson: 18.1 pts, 3.7 reb, 1.4 ast, 27 3pt%, 36.8 fg%
  • Draymond Green: 11.8 pts, 7.4 reb, 5.7 ast, 24 3pt%, 46 fg%

Teams play worse in games they lose than in games they win. Thanks Captain Obvious. So what might some of this mean for Utah? Could they have any statistical advantages?

  1. Rebounding- Rudy Gobert’s rebounding will be a huge factor in any success the Jazz may have. The Warriors aren’t world beaters on the board, and Rudy coming up with easy looks from offensive rebounds will really help the Jazz. Not allowing 2nd chance points would also go a long ways.
  2. Pace- We did beat this Warriors team just a few weeks ago, remember that? A big reason why was the Jazz forcing the Warriors to slow down and play at a 94.54 pace, much slower than the Warriors like to play. I think we’ll see a similar approach in this series. You can’t out-Warrior the Warriors. I could also see Utah utilizing fouls to stop transition buckets and quiet the crowd down.
  3. Wing Defense- Did the Clippers ever file a missing person’s report for JJ Redick? Because Utah completely took him out of the series aside from his lone 26 point outburst in a game 5 loss. A similar effect on Klay Thompson will be necessary. His game changes the most when comparing wins to losses. If the wing defenders can get in his head and keep him from getting hot it will really help everyone else defensively. It would allow others to stay tighter on their own man and for Rudy to patrol the paint. Speaking of which...
  4. Interior Defense- Imagine that, Rudy will have a big influence. His ability to protect the rim allows everyone else to run 3 point shooters off the line. Obviously you aren’t going to stop the Warriors from shooting 3’s. They have 2 of the all-time best shooters. But having Rudy behind you allows you to be more aggressive. In fact, the starting lineup of Hill-Ingles-Hayward-Diaw-Gobert has a defensive rating of 81.9 (!) in the playoffs, giving up only 31.8% from 3.

I don’t know if the Jazz can truly take Goliath down, but I do think they will make Golden State earn the series and play them tight. This season has already been a huge success and it will be so fun to watch more Jazz basketball. That beats hitting the ESPN lottery machine 1000 times over any day of the week.

What weaknesses (if any) do you see in the Warriors? What strengths can the Jazz capitalize on?

And last but not least: What are your expectations for the Jazz in Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs?