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What is the difference between wins and losses this year?

Looking at the statistical splits

NBA: Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Historically, the Utah Jazz have been a slow-start team under Quin Snyder. Whether the Jazz bring back the exact same group or opt for offseason changes, it always takes them a while to get going each season.

  • 2014-2015: Started 17-33 and ended 38-44
  • 2015-2016: Started 18-24 and ended 40-42
  • 2016-2017: Started 7-8 and ended 51-31
  • 2017-2018: Started 17-26 and ended 48-34
  • 2018-2019: Started 18-20 and ended 50-32
  • 2019-2020: Started 12-10 and ended 44-28 (solid start)

So far in 2020-2021 they are out to their best start in the Snyder era at 9-4 after a somewhat alarming 4-4 start that included losses to bad Timberwolves and Knicks teams. But they seem to have found their groove as of late, which is huge because the schedule gets brutal in February.

However, my focus of today is on the difference between wins and losses this year. What are the main statistical differences in games the Utah Jazz win vs games they have lost? Aside, of course, from the fact that the opposing team scored more points.

To be frank, I was actually expecting different results. Now the sample size is still pretty small, but it’s interesting nonetheless. For example, I expected the # of turnovers to be a much bigger difference than just 0.6 more in losses vs wins. Another interesting thing I did not expect is that the Jazz have shot over 6 more free throws in losses than they have in wins, which seems backwards.

Opposing teams have shot more threes when the Jazz win than when they lose. Opposing teams are also at the line a few more times per game in Jazz wins than losses. So what are the main things that stick out here?

To me, the number 1 thing is assists. In losses, Utah has ended with just 17 assists per game. In wins, however, that average is up to 25.6 per game. That’s a huge difference. Now part of that might just be shot making vs shot taking, no doubt. But I think there’s more to it than that. Quin Snyder has often been quoted as wanting to play with pace, which he also implies pace in the half court set and not just getting on the break. When the ball is getting whipped around and everyone is involved, the Jazz play better. Better shots are being taken and therefore more shots are going in.

This is something that was not a surprise to me. It’s painfully obvious when the Jazz aren’t effectively moving the ball on offense. It’s also a beautifully obvious when they are looking to make the extra pass and are zipping the ball around. The blender, as some like to call it.

My takeaway from this is how much more this needs to be preached. Well, except for maybe to Jordan Clarkson. That guy is just a gift to basketball and is a wonder worker for the Jazz bench, which Calvin covered here. But for everyone else, just let the offense come to you! Early stats are showing that it’s leading to more wins!

What are your takeaways? What differentiates the Jazz in wins and losses?