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Downbeat #2020 - Dwight Howard’s mom does not like small market Utah

Or something to that effect

NBA: Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz lost last night, but the early returns are in, and against the rest of the NBA our team looks quite solid — even if we fret over every little detail. But how good is this team? How good are their shots? How good is their defense? Why did Dwight Howard make his mom cry?

Gimme a second opinion

Okay, so the Utah Jazz lost. Last night. At home. They are 2-2 in the Aunt Viv, and seem to be following the patter of lose one, win the next two. If they can continue to do that through to Q1 of January I’ll be happy. The team should be healthier then, and the team should get an easier schedule in the new year. But as it stands the team is 7 and 5 after 12 games. Lots of teams have only played 10, so Utah is ahead of the curve.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

There are 70 games to go. So how many games do the Utah Jazz win this year now that you’ve seen a little more of them?

Jimmer. Boozer. Subtitles.

Okay, let’s count the things wrong here:

  1. Carlos Boozer didn’t trip on any bags
  2. Jimmer Fredette isn’t shooting a three, but instead driving to the hole
  3. The replay doesn’t actually show him scoring here, I’ve watched it about 2000 times in a row now, take my word for it
  4. There’s an inflatable shark menacing over the court
  5. Boozer’s team apparently is wearing the Salt Lake City Stars uniforms
  6. Two guys on opposing teams are wearing the same bright orange shoes
  7. This isn’t on NBA League Pass, the gravest of misdeeds here

So the real question is — “would you move to another country to work?”

Not all Three Pointers are worth the Same

Nicholas Sciria of Basketball Breakdown has been detailing the three point shots of every team this season. It’s not just raw numbers but it’s also the quality of the shot. And the Utah Jazz are . . . in the bottom third of the NBA right now.

This is not a pace related thing, it’s a percentage of all the 3PTA that are either “catch and shoot” or “open / wide open”. Think of how the San Antonio Spurs used to work, with dribble penetration getting the ball into the paint and allowing for the defense to collapse, and then rotating the ball out to a three point shooter in the corner. That way you get a catch and shoot shot from three that’s wide open. That’s ideal here. You know, provided that you have guys who can make those shots.

And that’s the thing that this table doesn’t show — teams that are actually making their threes. And even with last night’s show in the books, Utah is 14th in 3PT% this year.

And the other thing that this table doesn’t show are all the other types of threes that are NOT catch and shoot. You don’t see the Golden State Warriors high on the catch and shoot list because right now they, like the Jazz, employ a lot of one on one, off the dribble set up three point attempts, and dribble hand-off three point attempts.

We’ve seen from our very own team a lot of Iso-threes. Those are rarely wide open or a product of having your feet set. They are rhythm shots. And right now they are going in. Just not last night.

So what about the teams that ARE getting a lot of wide open shots or catch and shoot attempts? Philly, Miami, Sacramento, Milwaukee, Washington, New Orleans — these teams are not setting the league on fire with wins. It could be that while their offense is systematically solid, their defense could be horrible. Or that even in their offense they get good looks, but these are the looks of weaker supporting casts. It’s clear that the defense wants to get the ball out of the hands of their best scorers, maybe “giving up the open three” to a bad shooter. (#RIP David Benoit who isn’t actually dead, but only dead to us Jazz fans.)

The three pointer is going to be the key to this season. It will extend leads, keep other teams at bay, and lose the Jazz some games this year. Open shots are nice, I’d love to see more of them. Especially from three. But right now guys like Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, George Hill, and Joe Johnson seem to be making the non-catch and shoot threes this year.

And I guess we’ll roll with it for now.

Good offense + Good defense = upset fans

Synergy Sports shows that the Jazz are in the right quadrant -- good offense and good defense. So that’s good, right?

Why are we so upset? This group seems to include the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks and our Utah Jazz. Numbers rarely lie, and the numbers say good things about Utah right now.

Make your own mother cry

Okay, this story is . . . offensive? Maybe? I don’t know. I don’t live in Utah. Tell me what you think.

James Herbert (CBS) writes:

"I played a prank on my mom," Howard said on the Doug Gottleib Show on CBS Sports Radio on Monday. "I wanted to see her reaction, so I told her, I said, 'Mom, I just got this big contract, $150 million.' And she was like, 'Oh my God, from who?' I said, 'Utah Jazz,' and she started crying. And I said, 'Mom, sorry, I was just joking, I'm coming home to Atlanta.' And then she was super happy and my family was super excited."

Utah — where your family doesn’t want you to move to. Apparently. Click the link to watch his interview and/or read more into it.