Okay, so the Utah Jazz lost last night to the Golden State Warriors. If you were awake to watch the game you saw a few things. Some good. Some bad. And some still in-between. The Jazz were down 54-32 at halftime. Okay, so it's easy to file that under 'bad'. And they were down 85-57 after three. That's also bad.
But over the whole course of the game the Jazz held the Warriors to 26.1% three point shooting, and they only took 23 shots from deep, which accounted for 28% of their entire FG attempts. In both cases that is below average for GSW, so you can see that this was a point of emphasis for the Jazz defense when they went over film and in practice. Heck, the Dubs even shot 68.4% from the free throw line too. So it was fun to see Utah with higher 3PT% and FT% against these sweet shooting guys.
Of course, they still ended up shooting 41-82 for the night, and as the game went, it was over a lot earlier than the final buzzer.
However, I'm not looking at this season as wins and losses, but game to game adjustments and improvement. And, dag yo, Rudy Gobert is approaching beastmode. Per 36 stats do not indicate predictive performance, but an extrapolation of what a player does over a fixed amount of time. And right now Rudy Gobert is averaging 12.1 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 3.1 bpg, 1.4 apg, 1.2 spg -- which shooting 62.5 fg% and 71.4 ft%.
Going forward the Jazz are on track to be great. And this season we're seeing why game by game.
Last night wasn't just bad for the Jazz. The Philadelphia 76ers lost again, and are now 0-12 on the season. An opponent recently said that no team is going to sleep on them because no team wants to be the first team to lose to them. The Los Angeles Lakers lost once again too, and are now 3-10 on the season. They lost by 34 points, despite the team shooting 51.8% from the floor. Kobe Bryant went 6-22 and Nick Young went 2-7 'helping' the Lakers last night.
Probably the best highlight of last night was this shot by Kobe.
Yeah. In other Kobe news, ESPN's Tim MacMahon wrote about how Kobe is "not going for discount deals".
DALLAS -- Kobe Bryant considers the public pressure for longtime NBA stars to take hometown-discount deals, such as Dirk Nowitzki's contract, "a big coup" for NBA owners.
"It's the popular thing to do," Bryant said after the Los Angeles Lakers' shootaround prior to Friday night's 140-106 loss to Nowitzki's Dallas Mavericks. "The player takes less, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I think it's a big coup for the owners to put players in situations where public perception puts pressure on them to take less money. Because if you don't, then you get criticized for it.
"It's absolutely brilliant, but I'm not going for it. I know the new head of the players' association ain't going for it, either."
Bryant, 36, agreed to a two-year, $48.5 million extension with the Lakers last season, when he was recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. The deal is for less than Bryant was eligible to make on a maximum contract but still makes him the highest-paid player in the league.
Nowitzki, 36, re-signed with the Mavs this summer for $25 million over three years, taking far less than his market value to leave Dallas owner Mark Cuban enough salary-cap space to make roster upgrades.
"I wanted to be on a good team," Nowitzki said after scoring 23 points in 21 minutes during the Mavs' rout Friday. "I wanted to compete my last couple of years at the highest level. Ever since after the championship, we had a couple of rough years. We missed the playoffs one year, were the eighth seed twice I think, so that was really the main decision.
"I wanted to play at a high level my last couple years, and it kind of worked out with getting Parsons, with getting Tyson back here. We feel like we've got a good group, and hopefully we can make it work."
What does Bryant think about Nowitzki, who has never used an agent, taking such a steep hometown discount?
"I think it means he's not playing in Los Angeles," Bryant said with a laugh.
Yup, keep shooting Kobe. You know what they say, you can't take it with you. You're never going to be able to ruin a multi-billion dollar company when you retire. Get all of that poison out now.
Back to the Jazz, smart people all around the league understand what the team was last year and see the improvement this year as well. Aaron McGuire (estimated IQ of 180) writes at his site Gothic Ginobili:
Finally? The Utah Jazz. They've been bad-but-entertaining, with Quin Snyder's rotations a refreshing exultation of Utah's best players instead of the constant veteran-emphasized lineups Tyrone Corbin tortured Jazz fans with for years. Hayward has been surprisingly good, Dante Exum is fun, and... let's just not talk about Trey Burke, thanks.
For the record, we're in the "hopeless scamps" category this year, in terms of soup stock. And also, for the record, old coach wasn't a good head coach. I still disagree with the blatant used car salesmanship that went into the state owned propaganda last year (and the year before...).
So, Quin Snyder was on SiriusXM's College Sports Nation program, where he was interviewed by former head coach and employer Coach Mike Krzyzewski.
They talk about the Utah Jazz, their history with John Stockton and Karl Malone . . . but now it's all about rebuilding. Which includes letting go some veteran players. Snyder boasts about the high basketball IQ of the fan base in Utah, and the enthusiasm and support.
I don't have the full access to his program, just that snippit. But yeah, new coach gets it.
I think that defense is the major obstacle for this team right now; and there are no quick fixes. The Jazz have let the other team score 100 or more points against them 9 times in 13 games. They give up 101.0 ppg, and have the 27th worst ranked defense, with a Def RTG of 111.3. By the metric of DRTG, our best players are Rudy Gobert (105), Ian Clark (106 -- garbage time only), Rodney Hood (109, only played in first six games), Derrick Favors (109), Gordon Hayward (111)m and Jeremy Evans (111 -- garbage time only). The worst offenders are Steve Novak (115), Alec Burks (114), Trey Burke (113), Enes Kanter (113), and Dante Exum (113). The only players on the team with more than 0.1 defensive win shares are Favors, Hayward, and Gobert. And the only players to have a Defensive Box plus / minus are Gobert and Evans.
The team gets eaten up by pick and rolls, and has problems forcing turn overs, and get bombed on from deep.