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Even Don Stockton knows that this team is winning better - The Downbeat #1508

How this team is winning, and what it says ... more and more SLCDunkers on TV ... Utah Jazz throwback uniforms hot or not? ... the ultimate fate of the Houston Rockets with Josh Smith ... and more Don Stockton!

RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz won a game, again; and even better -- Yucca got to do the recap! (Read it here) It wasn't the best game the team has played so far this season; however, it was still a 17 point victory. Yes, the Philadelphia 76ers are a team built to lose this season; and are playing without a number of important pieces right now. But before last night's game they had won 2 of their last four. Perhaps against any other team the Jazz would have lost by going only 4/23 from outside (17.4%) -- but as there are schedule losses there are also schedule wins. And this win gives the Jazz a 10-20 record with two more games left in the month.

Last season the Jazz went 25-57, meaning that to equal last seasons' mark the Jazz are 40% there already, with months and months of basketball left to play. While the team's current winning percentage is only about 3% better than last season, I think the differences between these two clubs is greater than that.

Earlier this season, in a previous downbeat, I looked at the differences in how the team was losing games. Last season the team lost a higher proportion of their games in blowouts. This week let's look at the WINS.

In 2013-2014 the team won only 25 games. And they won them, on average, by the final score of 103.88 over 95.08. That's a margin of +8.80 points. This season, 2014-2015, the team has won 10 games, and the final score average in wins is 100.80 to 90.70, a margin of +10.10 points. Better defense makes a huge difference.

But I can see you're not that convinced -- let's look at the final margin score distribution from year to year.

DB 1508 - Wins 00.PNG

'But Amar', you say, 'the raw numbers are apples to oranges when you compare less than two months against an entire season!' Very well, let's look at the percentages then, for the final margin distribution.

DB 1508 - Wins 01.PNG

So the team is getting both more of their wins as close wins *and* more of their wins as blowouts. That's a much more fun team to watch, right? It's still not perfect though because you fail to recognize the rarity of the wins from the high volume of losses. So let's look at the final margin of our victories against the entire seasons they existed within?

DB 1508 - Wins 02.PNG

Yeah, this is what we are seeing. When the 2014-15 team wins it is a) happening MORE frequently than last season, and b) happening more and more in close games and blowouts. This is the improvement we're seeing in the boxscore when the final horn sounds. The play on the court may be inconsistent at times, and dictated by a more talented team -- but at the end of the day this is a better team than last year.

And it's a much more fun game to watch. That gets you the fans. The fans give the franchise money. And the franchise uses that money to (hopefully) make an even better product in the positive feedback loop of a rising team.

I grew up watching this Jazz team rise from a playoff team to a championship level team.This team isn't a playoff team yet, but they are on the path to making it back there on their own efforts. And you root for that.



Whoah Amar, I know it's Q4 and everything, but easy on the charts! Okay, fine. Did you check out Moni's screengrabs from last night's game? she spotted some of our longtime SLC Dunk community members in the crowd! (Which seems to be an easy thing to do with all the green, empty seats in the stands...)

I love these brothers, probably more than a non-family member should. (But aren't we all family, as SLCDunkers?) And yes, I do get Moni's tweets on twitter alert to my phone. Shut up.



The guys (and gals, I presume) over at the Sixers website at the official did a Top 10 Throwback Uni slideshow of Northwest Division teams. Check it out here. Some of the selections I agree with, some I'm not too crazy about. But you can't argue with this pick of John Stockton (wearing the 'nude color' calf sleeve, I know. #swag).

DB 1508 - Stockton

Check it out, for reals. Slideshow!

Having met Max at the combine the last two years I am glad to see him doing so much for their site. Dude works hard, and is super cool. He's also the same height as MyLo standing on my shoulders.



How do you feel about Josh Smith and the Houston Rockets? Whatever you feel, you need to read this story at our brother-site Detroit Bad Boys about social media mistaken identity . . . .crazy. (The only other person I can imagine who gets a lot of similar activity is @Texas - our very own TazzJazz fan)

Do you think the other Josh Smith has ever been confused for you? Do you think you two have much in common?

I’d like to think that someone has mistakenly tweeted at him and then realized he’s not a white, 5’8" software developer. Do we have much in common? Sure. Both our names start with Josh and end with Smith. I think our shoe sizes are both even numbers. And together we’ve won a combined 1.0 NBA slam dunk contests!

So surreal.

As for Smith to the Rockettes, I think that's great. That guarantees that our former midwest division rivals aren't winning another ring anytime soon.



Our favorite NBA reporter / photographer / artist / Jazz fan from Japan had to get in on the Don Stockton business. And it's fantastic!

Thank you so much for being a Jazz fan, and sharing your talent with the whole world Mizuho Nishio!