It’s beginning to look a lot like Jazzland. Everywhere you go. Take a look at Donovan dunk, and Rudy send back a shot, and Bojan in the corner swishing threes!
The Utah Jazz have won their last two games, but it’s clear that they still have some work to do. At 15-11, things could definitely be worse. At this time last year they were 13-13 and out of the playoffs. But just making the playoffs isn’t the goal anymore. This team had very publicly claimed championship aspirations before the season started. So far the bells aren’t jingling and there’s been a few too many silent nights.
With Christmas coming around the corner, I’ve put together a list of what each starter’s Christmas wish should be this year. Let it go, Let it go, Let it go!
A Higher Usage Percentage
Royce O’Neale has developed his game quite nicely here in Utah. On the third year of his 3 year contract, he’s been more than worth his pay. And now that he’s in the starting lineup, his efficiency is up on the housetop. Offensively, he pretty much has career highs across the board. He’s shooting nearly 45% from the 3, which has lead to a true shooting percentage of .616! His offensive rating and OBPM are also at career highs. He’s at lights out right now. Do you hear what I hear?
So why is his usage at a career low 8.8%? Why is he only shooting 2.8 3’s in 28 minutes a night? If I have to watch him pass up another open 3, I might have to wish for my two front teeth back! Royce, for Christmas this year, shoot the ball!
The Floater Comes Back
Please don’t mistake me. In no way do I want him to shoot more floaters. I’d rather get run over by a reindeer than watch more floaters. But man is his floater a weapon when it’s on. Just last season, you know the one where he was basically the only offensive option on a terrible Memphis team, he shot over 49% on his floaters. I distinctively remember him hitting several of them against the Jazz. I couldn’t wait to have a holly, jolly time watching that work of art in Jazz uniform.
Instead, he’s shooting just 31% on his floaters this year. Hopefully him getting some extended (and maybe unnecessary?) rest will get him back to his usual near All-Star self. For Mike, I want nothing more than for that floater to drop this year.
More Comfort With Playmaking
All I wanted for summer was you Bojan. He was a primary target of mine and I was so excited when he signed here. And so far he’s exceeded even my own expectations. Baby it’s cold outside here in Utah, but wherever Bojan is playing basketball it is not! That dude is lighting up gyms like a Griswold this year. I feel more confident in his shot than possible anything else right now.
But his playmaking decisions could use some work. He’s committing a career high 4.1 turnovers per 100 possessions, which is a full turnover more than ever before. He’s definitely still adjusting to Quin’s challenging offense, particularly when he’s driving and looking to pass. That’s literally my only complaint of Bojan this season, so for Christmas I just hope eh gets more comfortable in the offense.
A Better Bench
Poor Donovan. The end of the 1st quarter and beginning of the 2nd is definitely not the most wonderful time of the year for the young star. The Utah Jazz bench is just absolutely horrible this season. And Donovan is suffering because of it. No game exposed that better than just last game. The other 4 starters were a +23, +24, +24, and +25. Donovan was a +3 on the game. Let it be known that I hate single game +/-. But God rest ye merry gentlemen, that’s just pathetic bench production.
Could Spida work on his shot selection a bit? Absolutely. But nothing would make a bigger difference than an adequate bench. Hopefully Justin Zanik will come to town and get these insanely good starters some more help.
Better Defensive Focus Around Him
That Pa rum pum pum pum you hear isn’t a drummer boy, that’s Rudy Gobert sending back shot after shot. So far this season Rudy has been pretty close to on par with his defensive reputation. His rebounding percentage and defensive rebounding percentage are at career highs. His DBPM and DRtg are a little up, but I think by season’s end they’ll be about what we’ve come to expect.
However, there are times when opposing offenses are dashing through our perimeter defense. For we need a little effort, right this very minute! The offensive struggles have definitely caused some defensive lapses and the Jazz are at risk of losing that defensive identity. The Jazz just sneak inside the top 10 defenses at #10 so far, according to NBA’s defensive rating. Oh there’s no place like Utah for the defense, so for Christmas I hope Rudy gets the focus on D from his teammates that he deserves.