At what point do we just copy and paste the latest recap and just change the opponent name?
In a very similar situation to most games the season, the Utah Jazz starters saved them against the Charlotte Hornets. In the first quarter the starters created a lead. As soon as the bench came in the Hornets built a lead. In the second half the Jazz, behind Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, took back the lead and squashed the Hornets under their boot for the win. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Rational Reaction #1: The Jazz will be dominant if they figure out their bench
It’s crazy how much things change not just from game to game with the Jazz, but quarter to quarter. The starters create leads and then the bench squanders them away seemingly every game.
It’s really a testament to how good the Jazz could be if their bench could just be solidified. Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Bojan Bogdanovic are proving to be an elite core.
When Mike Conley comes back it may alleviate things with the bench and, hopefully, help everything find its rightful place in the Jazz lineup.
Rational Reaction #2: Rudy Gobert is a top ten player
One of the reasons the bench seems so bad is the stark difference when Rudy Gobert goes to the bench. There is no question that Rudy Gobert is the cornerstone of this team. His defense is hall of fame level. On offense things get easier for everyone with his gravity and screening.
For an example, check out Gobert’s offensive and defensive rating on basketball reference
Those are superstar level numbers. But because Gobert is a rim running big man on offense he doesn’t get the love that a wing, or stretch big would get.
It’s frustrating Gobert doesn’t get more accolades but that’s how it’s always been. He’s done nothing but change the franchise from the moment he got regular minutes and he’s only gotten better and better. We talk about Mitchell’s offense at the end of games, and rightfully so, but it’s also Gobert’s soul crushing defense that fuels the runs as well.
Overreaction #1: Tony Bradley should be the regular backup center from now on
Ed Davis is probably still recovering from his broken leg, but when Tony Bradley checked in things felt different. He got a lot of questionable whistles and still managed a +4 plus/minus. Ed Davis was a -12 in his six minutes in the game.
Now, does this mean we change everything so Bradley can back up Gobert? Maybe. It’s definitely worth looking at. Bradley is a better pick and roll big and that means he can share the floor with Joe Ingles. He has decent hands and good touch around the rim.
On defense he knows where to be and uses his size well. The other nice thing is that he’s 6’10” and uses his size well. Bradley is just quick enough to get to the right spots and use his size to make shots difficult. It’s obviously not Rudy Gobert level but it’s good enough against second units.
Underreaction #1: Joe Ingles is back
Over the last 5 games Ingles is shooting 14/26 (53%) from three. He had 7 assists tonight and is averaging just over 5 during the Jazz win streak.
A lot of that comes from playing with Rudy Gobert. Ingles is not someone that can blow by a single defender, but he’s one of the best players in the league handling the ball and maneuvering screens. His vision is fantastic and he’s pass first to a fault.
This is the Joe Ingles Jazz fans have been clamoring for and it’s no surprise the Jazz are rolling with this level of play. When Rudy Gobert comes back, we’ll probably see Ingles stay in the starting lineup, but if he can find some level of comfort playing with Bradley, perhaps we’ll see him come off the bench again.
It feels like there’s hope in Jazz land again to figure things out!