The Utah Jazz are the show of the season!
The league loves offense, and thanks to two wins over the Lakers in four nights, this Jazz team ranks #1 in the NBA in points per 100 possessions (offensive efficiency). And it’s FUN!
The Jazz attempt the 3rd most amount of 3’s in the league (41.2% of all FGAs). They also ping the ball around the court, ranking 4th in the NBA in potential assists per game. And while not in transition a ton (21st in frequency), they’re the 3rd best team converting in the open court.
Talk about a fun brand of basketball! And it’s not just the fanbase who’s excited about the team. National pundits are starting to take notice!
Despite having already played 7 of their 12 games on the road already, Jazz head East for a 3 game road trip that kicks off tonight against the Atlanta Hawks.
It’s an interesting battle between offensively talented teams, new faces, and exciting approaches to the game.
Let’s break down the matchup!
The 7-3 Atlanta Hawks are an interesting team with a brand new cog in the machine: Dejounte Murray. Murray was acquired over the summer to pair with Trae Young in the backcourt and improve the perimeter defense.
Thus far, the Hawks rank 11th offensively despite atrocious efficiency (24th in eFG%). They’re surviving on ball security and offensive rebounding. On defense, the addition of Murray has made a big impact. They rank 9th on that end where they’re defending the shot incredibly.
Like the Jazz, they’ve held opponents to the lowest 3P efficiency in the NBA (32.6%). Who’s demonstrating better process? Utah is allowing fewer catch and shoot 3’s than Atlanta while the Hawks are remaining closer to the shooter than Utah and offering better contests.
The 3P shooting defense is an unsustainable figure for both teams and what I’ll be paying attention to in this game.
The Atlanta Hawks love transition offense (6th in frequency) and are good defending opposing teams on the fast break too (3rd in efficiency).
The 3 losses on the year were to Toronto and Milwaukee on the road and Charlotte at home. When Atlanta loses, the dam breaks defensively: hot shooting, no forced turnovers, lots of offensive boards, and putting the opponent on the foul line.
The Utah Jazz have been fantastic offensively by passing the ball around and hitting 3’s. The Atlanta Hawks present a challenge to both those items by allowing the 4th lowest 3P frequency and being in the top half of the league in steals and deflections.
Jazz need to be prepared for hands in passing lanes and crashing the glass. Utah will need to be good at slowing the Hawks in transition.
Jazz have road losses to the Rockets, Nuggets, and Mavericks. In the 3 losses, the only bad process note is putting teams on the free throw line too much.
Per NBA.com at 8:30 AM MST, the Atlanta Hawks have two roster members listed:
- Starting PG Trae Young who’s questionable with a right shin injury
- Rotational G Bogdan Bogdanovic who’s out with right knee injury recovery
Trae Young is the engine for the the Hawks. He slots in atop the scouting report by virtue of commanding the offense. He’s 2nd in the NBA only to Luka Doncic in True Shooting Attempts per game (26.8) and ranks 3rd in assists per game (9.4).
Trae didn’t suit up in Monday’s contest against Milwaukee but has otherwise played consistently this season. With Trae Young, Utah will be prepared but have a lot to deal with. Without him, Utah will have to pivot mid-game to whatever the game presents.
The Utah Jazz have several roster members labeled as out due to assignments to the G League:
- Rookie guard Ochai Agbaji
- Guard Leandro Bolmaro
- Two-way contract Johnny Juzang
- Two-way contract Micah Potter
It’s far better these players spend time with the Stars than accompany the team on the road trip.
Starting F Jarred Vanderbilt is listed as questionable for tonight’s game. He missed the last two contests against LAC and LAL with a right abductor injury. We should know more about his availability closer to game time.
When: 5:30 PM MT
Where: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
Radio: 97.5/1280 The Zone