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Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone and rising star Rudy Gobert wish you a Merry Christmas - The Downbeat #1506

Baby steps leading to surprisingly effective offensive performances so far this season ... the changing roles of the NBA SG and SF ... three point shooting and Xs and Os ... Karl Malone's wishes ... and Rudy Gobert's swag

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz are 9-20 right now. It's better than last seasons' 7 wins, but worse than the last five years of Jazz openers. (And yes, a 30 game sample size would be so much nicer, but right now the team has only played 29 games!)

Season Coach W L % Jazz Opp +/- PPG OPP +/- Best Player Team Avg Age
1 2010 2011 Jerry Sloan 20 9 68.97% 2,902 2,806 96 100.07 96.76 3.31 Deron Williams 26.29
2 2011 2012 Tyrone Corbin 15 14 51.72% 2,792 2,818 -26 96.28 97.17 -0.90 Al Jefferson 26.13
3 2012 2013 Tyrone Corbin 15 14 51.72% 2,859 2,871 -12 98.59 99.00 -0.41 Al Jefferson 26.00
4 2013 2014 Tyrone Corbin 7 22 24.14% 2,693 2,959 -266 92.86 102.03 -9.17 Gordon Hayward 25.82
5 2014 2015 Quin Snyder 9 20 31.03% 2,795 2,934 -139 96.38 101.17 -4.79 Gordon Hayward 24.00
Total 66 79 45.52% 14,041 14,388 -347 96.83 99.23 -2.39

Please note that this was Jerry's last season, and he retired by February, and shortly thereafter Williams was traded. As for the experience deal, think of how good Dante Exum is going to be in his third season compared to where he is today. Add that much experience ON AVERAGE to each player and you have what that 2010-2011 team was.

Please also note that this team has opened up better on offense than the Big Al / Paul Millsap / Raja Bell / Josh Howard / Devin Harris team that made the playoffs.

This 2014-2015 Utah Jazz team has work to do, and will do work. But at this point in the season it is nice to know that they are doing BETTER than last year (a given), and actually accomplishing some good things within the larger frame of reference of Jazz basketball. And yes, they are super young!



What is a shooting guard and what is a small forward? I think we knew what these were in Jerry Sloan's offense, but as the years went on fewer distinctions could be made. Bryon Russell and Jeff Hornacek were very different players within our offense. Today Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward do some of the same things with wildly different success rates. (And perception rates -- we think of Gordon and clutch and Alec "out of control", yet Gordon has had some late game stumbles and fumbles in one on one situations . . . )

Who is the back up shooting guard on this team, and who is the back up small forward? Does a distinction exist on offense, or just defense? What have you seen from Quin Snyder's offense that could be used to separate Rodney Hood from Joe Ingles, and them two from Ian Clark, Toure' Murry, and Patrick Christopher? Or anyone else?

Help me out here. I like the idea of Hood using his ball handling against threes, but his size is a natural advantage against twos; but we don't post him up, so does that matter?

Joe Ingles is the dude I am listing at SG because of his ball handling primacy with the second unit, and his passing. But he hasn't really given me a solid impression that he's really a shooting guard either.

I guess we'll just play them both and let the box score sort 'em out.



So far this season 12 players have attempted a three pointer, the only ones who haven't are Derrick Favors, and the guys who haven't yet played in a game this season. Two players have attempted more than 120 threes: Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward. There are four players between 50 and 70: Dante Exum, Alec Burks, Joe Ingles, and Rodney Hood. There are three after that who have attempted between 15 and 30: Enes Kanter, Trevor Booker, and Steve Novak. Of the lot, only four are shooting above .350:

  • Steve Novak (.421, 19 attempts);
  • Alec Burks (.382, 68 attempts);
  • Gordon Hayward (.367, 128 attempts);
  • and Dante Exum (.362, 69 attempts).

Not on the list is Ian Clark, who is bombing from deep, .429, but has only taken 7 threes this season. (He's . . . he's not getting a lot of playing time.)

The other big three pointer anomaly this season is that Enes Kanter (.345) and Trevor Booker (.308) are shooting better than Trey Burke (.306) and Rodney Hood (.291).

To this I think it's safe to say that not all three point attempts are the same. Hood is missing a lot of spot up three pointers. Burke takes a lot of end of clock heaves and sometimes takes an ill-advised three in hero mode. Kanter and Booker only EVER take threes when they are open and do not have a defender within 4' of them upon receiving the pass; and even then, they sometimes do an upfake and drive into the paint in those situations

The new NBA requires offensive players to be deadly from more placers, and be able to do more things -- guards have to set screens, bigs need to know how to pass and shoot from deeper than guys like Wes Unseld ever did. Snyder's offense appears to be penetration based, like the Spurs, and thus, it elicits a lot of defensive movement which leaves guys open. From deep.

Do you like this new offense, or do you prefer the one we used the last few seasons where a lot of threes were taken, but as a point of Xs and Os, and not as a consequence of moving the defense around? Or do you hate this and all offenses? Or should we just try to get layups and Matt Harpring - curls?

What I do know is that if Rudy Gobert comes into next season with a 20 footer, watch out world, er, monde.



Karl Malone is the best.

His larger than life personality helped endear him to so many fans all over the world, but his on court production and attitude helped the team win a lot of games. I'm writing this on the 24th, and scheduling it for the 25th . . . so . . . whatever. The Mailman is important enough in my life to have him get away with it.



Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Merry christmas ! #joyeuxnoel #pimp

A photo posted by rudy gobert (@rudygobert27) on

And thank you Rudy Gobert for being yourself! (And for being yourself on social media unlike our favorite Enes Kanter . . . )