The Utah Jazz are down to just 23 games in the 2018-2019 NBA season. At 33-26 they are 6th in the West and only 3.5 games out of 4th place. There’s plenty of basketball to be played, but the playoffs are coming fast. I think Quin Snyder will continue making adjustments to optimize his team, but that time is running out as well.
With that in mind, I thought we’d take a quick look at Utah’s 5 most frequently used lineups so far this season. Come for the stats. Stay for my thoughts and impressions if you’d like.
Rudy Gobert is a cheat code
Seriously is that guy a robot? Or some kind of nightmare from every basketball player’s dreams? Is he, in fact, Godzilla!? Does he have a constant infusion of Michael’s Secret Stuff while playing defense.
Every single one of those defensive ratings except the 114.3 would be first in the league right now. Now Gobert isn’t the only common denominator in those lineups, but he’s obviously the driver behind the defense. Even a lineup that includes Kyle Korver and Jae Crowder has a defensive rating that is beyond elite. Rudy is an absolute machine!!
Pace doesn’t equal better offense
The Utah Jazz have been one of the slowest teams in the league during the Quin Snyder era. Given their defensive identity, this isn’t all that surprising. Fans have been asking for them to pick up the pace, and that’s something they’ve done in certain lineups this year. That increased pace, however, hasn’t led to a better offense.
The two lineups from this set that move the quickest are actually the two with the worst offensive ratings. I wasn’t expecting that to be honest. Nor do I really have an answer as to why that might be the case.
Only one lineup has a negative Net Rating
The combination of Rubio, Mitchell, O’Neale, Crowder, Gobert apparently isn’t working. That group is the only one of the top 5 most minutes played with a negative net rating. It’s also the only one that has a losing record when that particular group plays together during a game. These aren’t the largest of sample sizes we are working with, but I found that interesting nonetheless. Theoretically it actually looks like a really good lineup. I’ll have to start watching out for this one now and see if anything can be identified as to why it doesn’t work.
Kyle Korver is part of a bad shooting group?
This one honestly has me confused. Kyle Korver is one of the best shooters in NBA history. His gravity can open up passing and shooting lanes for his teammates. Yet somehow the only lineup in the top 5 that he appears in also happens to be the worst shooting one. And that lineup has Utah’s best 3 point shooter this year in Royce O’Neale. Crowder is in instead of Favors too. Maybe it’s just anomaly, but that’s a weird one.
The Jazz are (obviously) in need of bonafide offensive help
I’m sure this comes as no surprise, but my last takeaway that I’ll share here is that Utah needs that 3rd star player. And it’s gotta be someone that can put the ball in the hoop. How they do that isn’t nearly as important as the ability to do so. The Jazz offense is still a work in progress and I commend Quin Snyder for squeezing so much out of this roster. That being said, Utah’s commonly used lineups aren’t really lighting teams up. I hope they start gelling more down the stretch and can provide enough offense to win a series or 2 come playoffs! Then it’s up to Dennis Lindsey to address Utah’s biggest need in the offseason.
Now it’s your turn. What are your takeaways and thoughts regarding the lineups with the most minutes so far this year?
EDIT: I’ll also include here the top 5 lineups (according to Net Rating) that have played at least 40 minutes.