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Utah Jazz look bad on defense, but are actually making small improvements elsewhere - The Downbeat 1488

The losing skid, the road ahead, rookies, season by season development . . . and . . . the bench scoring issue.

In the off-season I work as football uprights
In the off-season I work as football uprights
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, so the Utah Jazz lost, again. It's their 7th straight loss, and the games haven't been super awesome. I'm in the process of a long post on the streak (that should drop later on today), but here's a sneak peak.

2014 2015 Seven Game Stretch Tables

And yes, there was just way too much behind the scenes math to figure things out for this one. I'm talking about six digits after the decimal point, homies.But as you can tell our squad was out-gunned. The other side of the coin could be that our defense is a real problem this year. I think most of us would agree.

It should be noted, though, that was the defense was trash, and the three point shooting was deplorable, the team wasn't all bad all the time. The 'news' then is that the team IS improving -- just not where we want them to improve. And as a result, the bottom line is 7 more losses.

Of course, a big part of that is giving up 59.43 points in the first half, on average. But that is a tale for another post . . .



You may have seen this yesterday, but Ed Kupfer broke down the opponent win% strength of schedule for each team in the NBA. It's not an easy road to hoe (English is a fantastic language) for our Jazz, going forwards.

The teams with a harder remaining schedule than the Jazz are the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Only one of those teams is close to our record (UTA 5-14, OKC is 5-13). The other important thing here is that there are six teams WORSE than the Jazz right now (Lakers, Timberwolves, Knicks, Hornets, Pistons, and 76ers). Each of those teams has an easier finishing schedule, and the Hornets have the 3rd easiest finishing schedules, so it could be another seasons where the Jazz are in contention for a Top 5 lotto pick.


So as Mychal and I joked on the phone a few days ago . . . we'll see you all at the NBA Draft combine again.

Also, you may have heard by now that the Philadelphia 76ers won their first game of the season, and are now 1-17. The team to hold the title as "the team that lost to the Sixers?" None other than the Minnesota Timberwolves.



Speaking of the T-Wolves, Andrew Wiggins was just named Western Conference Rookie of the Month. And our East they gave the award to the Milwaukee Bucks Jabari Parker. To be fair, it's about stats, not about winning. (Even if the Bucks are winning games this season....) And to get stats you need to get out on the floor. And it pretty much boils down to the rookies who are playing the most minutes this season.

And who are those guys?

  1. Jabari Parker (MIL) - 593 mins
  2. Bojan Bogdanovic (BKN) - 531 mins
  3. Elfrid Payton (ORL) - 513 mins
  4. Andrew Wiggins (MIN) - 487 mins
  5. Kostas Papanikolaou (HOU) - 459 mins
  6. Nerlens Noel (PHI) - 452 mins
  7. K.J. McDaniels (PHI) - 450 mins
  8. Shabazz Napier (MIA) - 423 mins
  9. Joe Ingles (UTA) - 345 mins
  10. Nikola Mirotic (CHI) - 343 mins
  11. Dante Exum (UTA) - 339 mins
  12. Zach LaVine (MIN) - 284 mins
  13. Damjan Rudez (IND) - 281 mins
  14. Tarik Black (HOU) - 278 mins
  15. (tie) James Ennis (MIA) / Nik Stauskas (SAC) - 248 mins

So expect a full breakdown on the rookies later on today as well. It's interesting to see how many of these guys are a) getting minutes on playoff teams, and b) how many of them are not lotto picks.



David Fisher (@usnfish) of The Bird Writes (the SB Nation Pelicans blog) broke down rebuilding plans and perspective in a post all the way back from May 23rd . . . and it's still useful to read about it now. The Western Conference is tough, and it's almost as if you have to time being good to being in the league at the same time as current contenders are on their way down. That's my thought, though; and not a major point in David's post.

It's obviously Pelicans-focused, but there are some interesting truths that he reveals. Check it out here.

First, I want to put into perspective how long the Pelicans (then-Hornets) have missed the playoffs. All complaints about the quality of the images should be directed entirely at myself. New Orleans has missed the playoffs three years in a row, largely due to Chris Paul forcing his way out. Also the team was forced to adopt a rebuild after David Stern vetoed the initial trade with the Lakers for a lower floor, higher ceiling trade with the Clippers.

No one, and I mean no one, realistically expected the then-Hornets to make the playoffs the first year after Paul left. Only the most optimistic of us thought it was possible this year, two full seasons (and one draft lottery win) afterward Paul was traded, that the Pelicans were in the running for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference.


The Utah Jazz have missed the playoffs for a few years in a row now, and are likely to miss it again this year. How usual is that for Jazz fans? Well, the franchise didn't even make the playoffs until their 10th season in the league. (The 5th in Utah) Since that time the team MADE the playoffs for 20 straight seasons before missing the playoffs again.

Utah missed the playoffs three seasons in a row between the end of John Stockton / Karl Malone, and the rise of the short but bittersweet Deron Williams / Carlos Boozer / Mehmet Okur / Andrei Kirilenko times. They then made the playoffs four seasons in a row.

THEN the Jazz imploded and Jerry Sloan resigned, and Tyrone Corbin had a battlefield promotion. So that was a one season break from the playoffs.

The following season the team made the playoffs again . . . were hardly in it . . . and then here we are, two going on three seasons from the post-season.

So the longest time the Jazz have been out of it has been only three years in a row. If the team was to equal that feat, then they would HAVE to make the playoffs next year. The "year four" issue mentioned in Dave's piece.

Are the Jazz going to make the playoffs next season? Are we in year three this season? Are we in year one? (New coach, new system, new starters, five completely new rotation players off the bench, etc).

There are a lot of questions this season but not a lot of answers. I am interested to know where do you think we are right now, in our rebuild?



The Utah Jazz bench isn't scoring a lot. The one guy who, theoretically, the world has a lot of is shooting guards. That said, our bench shooting guards haven't been killing it. Who should be the back-up shooting guard for this team? Alec Burks? Joe Ingles? Rodney Hood? Ian Clark? Toure' Murry? Or someone else? (Didn't we have a Carrick Felix guy for a minute?)