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Jazz are playing great defense, Jazz fans need to grow #BeardsForJody - The Downbeat #1575

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This Jazz team plays defense, which is a very new thing; G-time should model his game after The Truth; NCAA MARCH MADNESS!; this is a fun team; and positive vibes for our good friend Jody Genessy

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Man, super stylish and handsome Prodigal Punk usually has Monday. I can't hope to fool you into thinking I am he, so I will just try my best not to wreck things in Utah Jazz land until he returns. In some sort of semi-official State of the Jazz address we have to point out that this team is amazing. Even after a 9 game losing streak, and taking it on the chin a few times this season, the Jazz are standing tall. Utah has scored 6184 total points this year (95.14 ppg (26th), 105.4 ORTG (15th)), and given up 6212 in return (95.57 ppg (2nd), 105.9 DRTG (16th)). As of today the NET rating is -0.5 points per 100 possessions. How does this stack up against the last five seasons in Jazzlandia?

DB 1575 OFF DEF

By this metric alone the team is almost back to being in the black. And please note for the ORTG and DRTG values for the five year period I didn't actually just average it (like a normal person), I hand calculated how many possessions were had in the last five years and got the actual values for these things.

Compared to recent history we've never had a team this good on defense. The offense isn't stellar, but that will come with time. The focus this year was always on defense, and it's paying off.

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My man at Hoops Habit, D'Joumbarey A. Moreau, figured something out. Gordon Hayward should model his game after Paul Pierce. Moreau writes:

Even though Hayward's having a career year, and should have made the 2014 NBA All-Star Game, he still has much improvements to make in his game.

The person who Hayward should study in the offseason if he wants to take his game to the next level is someone who's still actively playing in the league and is making a difference for one of the dark horse contenders in the Eastern Conference, Paul Pierce.

When Pierce was in the prime of his career he was one of the most fearsome offensive scorers in the game of basketball, and Hayward is reaching that plateau in his career.

At the age of 24, Hayward is only one of five players including LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Blake Griffin, that's averaging at least 19 points, four rebounds, four assists, and shooting at least 45 percent from the floor.

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This summer the weight room has done wonders for Hayward's game. Due to the fact that Hayward added 15 pounds of muscle to his frame he's become one of the elite players in the league. Hayward this season has made a living getting to the free throw line, and living in the paint. Hayward is nearly shooting six free throws a game averaging 5.9 per contest which is a career-high.

Pierce, who was known for his innate instincts of getting to the free throw line, would help hayward become more aggressive getting to the charity stripe. In his fifth season alone Pierce was already a veteran at getting to the line as he averaged 6.9 free throws a game.

Additionally what makes Hayward a nuisance when getting to the rim is the fact that he can finish when he gets there. The Jazzman is making sweet music when he gets to the rim as he's shooting 64 percent at the orange tin. Outside of his deadly three-point shot, Hayward attempts most of his field goals at the rim.

- D'Joumbarey A. Moreau, Hoops Habit, 2015

This is an amazing breakdown that goes over film, stats, shot locations, and more! It's one of the best things you'll read today; even if you don't think Pierce is the right guy to model his game after. Check it out! (It's a FanSided blog, so hope you have an ad filter on your browser!)

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MARCH MADNESS! Later on today we're going to drop a big post on the tournament, and on the players to watch. I'm not a huge fan of the NCAA, and I'm not alone. HBO's John Oliver goes one this 20 minute rant . . . it's funny and very sad.

Please be aware there are some swear words, because, well, it's HBO.

Once again, if you are interested in playing in our regular bracket and "special secret bracket" please indicate as much in an informal sign-up in the comments section. What is this special secret bracket?

Also, the NCAA sucks -- but it's where we get most of our NBA players from. So I will be following along.

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This is kind of a downer downbeat. Let's remember that this team just killing it since the All-Star Break! The team is 10-2. Opponents are scoring only 84.2 ppg against Utah now. Let's celebrate it in the best possible way we can!

Wait, wat r u doing Amar? Why Andris Biedrins year video? Okay, fine, here's this year's video. Sheesh. You animals!

So you replace Beans with Steve Novak? Amar, you suck. Also, thanks for all the reminders about Enes Kanter.

Be excited! Our team is good! I just hope for more roster stability so the intro video at the start of the season doesn't become obsolete quickly!

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Our good friend, and most beloved beat writer, Jody Genessy of the Desert News, is taking a break for a while. The internet is a little less witty today, but this is a journey he goes on where we can only support him. SLC Dunk relies on the great work of other people who produce great Utah Jazz content. It's why we even persist with a "daily links" section called The Downbeat in 2015. There are a lot of great writers out there who are passionate about this team. Few have put his or her passions for the team higher than themselves more than Jody has.

We're with you. And unless something happens out of my control, I am going to grow my beard until the day you return to us. #BeardsForJody