The Jazz on paper are very similar to last year’s squad. They score a lot, shoot and make a lot of threes, defend pretty well (mostly thanks to Rudy Gobert), rely heavily on Donovan Mitchell’s scoring, and simply never get blown out. Roster wise, the team is pretty similar to last year, with a few mix-ups brining in Hassan Whiteside and Rudy Gay. Overall, the team has a really similar vibe to last year. One thing that is starkly different about this year’s team, however, is their ability to just dominate teams on the road, and kindof the opposite at home.
After their double-digit win over the Blazers in Portland last night, the Jazz improved to 12-3 on the road. Interestingly enough, it actually isn’t the best road record in the league. The Brooklyn Nets are 13-3 on the road this year, which is very impressive. But looking at some additional stats and numbers, the Jazz are dominating on the road more than Brooklyn is, even though they do have one more win. The Jazz lead the league in these statistics for road games: Offensive Rating (116.4), Net Rating (11.6), Rebound %, eFG %, and True Shooting %. At home, the Jazz also lead in several of these categories, but the fact that they lead in both home and road games is pretty impressive.
From December 5th to the 11th, the Jazz went on a road trip where they stopped in Cleveland, Minnesota, Philadelphia and Washington. This was the Jazz’s toughest four-game stretch so far this season, and they finished it unblemished, with some huge wins on the road.
When the Jazz go on the road, they get better shooting percentages from several players, including the highest volume one, Donovan Mitchell. Spida is shooting 32% from three at home, but in away games that number rises to 35%. Royce O’Neale’s three-point shooting percentage jumps from 32% to 44% when he hits the road. Several Jazz players have a huge swing the other way, shooting better at home, which makes more sense than Mitchell and Royce’s increases going on the road.
One thing that the Jazz are doing much better as a team on the road than at home this year, is defending. Their home defensive rating is 108.1, which is 14th in the league. On the road, the Jazz lock it down on D, with a drtg of 104.6, which is third best in the league for games on the road. The Jazz are 13-6 at home this season, which is good, but they haven’t been the elite home team that we are accustomed to. They’ve recently dropped home games to San Antonio, New Orleans, and Indiana, who all three have losing records. On the road, the Jazz have not lost a game since November 7th, when they dropped a pretty bad one against the Orlando Magic. Other than that one, the only other losses have been to Miami and Chicago, which are pretty formidable opponents this year, especially on the road.
If you’ve been Jazz fan for a while, and watched them over the years, you know how uncommon it is for the Jazz to really thrive on the road. I’m old enough to remember the D-Will/Boozer team that was literally a completely different squad on the road vs at home. In 2007 they went 37-4 at home, and 17-24 on the road. Even in past years when the Jazz have had great teams, they were never elite road teams like they are this season. The best season the Jazz have ever had on the road was in 1994-95 when they finished 27-14 on the road. As it stands right now, the Jazz are on pace for a 33-8 road record, which would put them just one game behind the 2015-16 Warriors for the best road record of all-time. Pretty crazy to think.
It’s pretty awesome to see the Jazz thriving on the road right now. You would hope that they can figure things out a little better at home, and get back to their dominant ways, especially against non-playoff teams. We’ll see what the Jazz are made of with the Warriors coming to SLC on New Years Day this Saturday, and then heading off for a five-game road trip to kick off 2022.