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It's too early, really too early, for the Utah Jazz fans to panic -- The Downbeat #1746

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

It's too early for the Utah Jazz to panic, so, naturally, the Utah Jazz fans will. Let's put things in perspective this week, and take a look at what this team is doing; what this team continues to do that's good; and a refreshing look at what this team can be!

Yikes, the Utah Jazz are now a lowly 2-2 in the preseason. The team defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in a blowout, beat them in overtime, lost to the Phoenix Suns on the road, and now lost to the Portland Trail Blazers at home. This is, surely, the end of the world. I'll put up my first 2016 NBA Mock Draft tomorrow. Right? Nope. It's preseason. Preseason. Not the regular season. Not a playoff series. But preseason. What are we talking about, preseason? Preseason? C'mon man. Preseason. We're sitting here, we're going to be the second best team in the division, and we're talking about preseason?


Preseason record doesn't have any bearing on regular season or playoff success. I know. I've tried to find a link. Some years the Jazz rolled through preseason on their way to the NBA Finals. Other times the team rolled through preseason on their way to a sub-50 win year. While the record isn't the indicator of success we are programmed to think it is, it's true that our team hasn't looked themselves over the last two games.

I'm not going to make an excuse for this team being tired. They played two games in paradise and came home to their own beds after a chartered flight. They didn't sit in coach like most of us schlubs when we go to and from Hawaii. And I'm not going to use 'young legs' or any other excuse. This isn't a 5th game in 7 nights thing. They don't need an excuse. They're just out of rhythm.

That is something to recognize, but also not worry about. The team starts the season on an East coast trip all in the same time zone, and they will get back into their rhythm soon enough. Wake up, have breakfast, get on the bus to shoot-around (Shums hyphen in action), return to the hotel, take a nap, eat lunch, pack bags, check out of hotel, get on the bus, go through walk through, go through a development session, get dressed for the game at the arena, play the game, get on bus to airport, fly to the next city. Repeat.

So the rhythm has thrown the team off, but rhythm is not impossible to get back into with a return to routine.

Of course, that's not all that's ailing the Jazz . . . some guys are not playing up to expectation, some guys are not finishing the sets, and some guys are just not ready for the NBA right now. But again, it's preseason. Younger teams that start on the road are usually second half teams. Ours will be precisely that in 2015-16.



Kirk Goldsberry is awesome, well he is for me -- I am a visual-spatial person. So his graphjams are amazing to me. Today he talks about assists -- something us Utah Jazz fans have seen a lot of.

First of all, when you click on that link there is a video of some bald shoe salesman pushing off and taking an iso midrange jumper over the Jazz. So be aware. Second, the data confirms what we already knew -- assisted shots go in more. From the article:

"The best kinds of shots result from teamwork, and the worst kinds are a result of selfishness. Last season, NBA players attempted just over 200,000 shots. Fifty-three percent of these shots qualify as assisted, while 47 percent qualify as unassisted.1 Overall, the league's shooters converted 45 percent of their shots — the assisted tries went in 51 percent of the time, while the unassisted shots scored only 38 percent of the time."

- Kirk Goldsberry, Grantland, 2015

Also, I think Jerry Sloan would say "duh," alas, I don't think his vocabulary has any three letter words in it. Lots of four letter ones though, I assume.

The article also points out that taking those dumb midrange shots (you know, the one Tyrone Corbin 's offense was built around attempting) you are playing an inefficient game that reveals your lack of understanding of either basketball trends, or knowing which number is bigger than the other. Goldsberry calls this the "the most foolish shot in the NBA is the unassisted midrange shot, a.k.a. the "on-my-own midrange field goal," a.k.a. the OMFG." The iso / unassisted version of the midrange is something you really have to have a feel for. Kobe Bryant takes this shot. Paul Pierce made a living doing it in crunch time. I'm not so certain I want to see Gordon Hayward or Alec Burks do this -- and I hope it's something Quin Snyder conditions out of them. (N.B. Goldsberry does mention that Hayward does make over 40% of his OMFG attempts, which is better than average.)

Looking back to our team last season, our guys passed a lot. And more often than not, passed the ball to the open guy. The Achilles heel for our team was making open shots -- either at the free throw line, or open spot-up jumpers. If those fall the Jazz fates will rise. Gotta keep shooting the open, assist attempted shots. Also, less upfakes this year, please?



Okay, we may need to discuss this . . . and by this I mean, what product does Gordon Hayward use?

Okay, we can talk about this foul as well. Not the worst foul of all time, and glad Hayward is okay. But seriously, we still talking about preseason?



Why don't we talk about the playoffs instead? Lots of people think we're going there.

I'll collected all of these vids when more of them go up, but it's nice to hear intelligent non-Jazz fans explain WHY this team is going to the playoffs.



Apparently most of us didn't like the "Jailblazers" but don't specifically have problems with the Portland Trail Blazers. I'm an oldschool fan who enjoys hating teams, and I hate a few. I think rivalries should matter still. Perhaps that's a dinosaur opinion in the era of super teams and players all smiling and joking around with the other team all game long. But I don't like the Lakers, Rockets, and a whole bunch of other teams. Outside of those two clubs, which team do you think is the real rival for this team?