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Utah Jazz are good on the glass, but should be great -- Leapday Downbeat #1857

Look before you leap day!

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Today is a funny day in Utah Jazz history, and we start things off with some LeapDay facts! We also take a trip down memory lane, or Memo-y lane, and look back at one small thing that we often overlook with Mehmet Okur. Of course, this means looking at our current center crop as well. This means checking in on how Tibor is doing with the Idaho Stampede as well. Ed Kupfer breaks down where the Jazz are in their respective offensive and defensive four factors, and probably most touching, we look at what VP Linda Luchetti has been doing for the team.


It's #LeapDay . . . you know . . . February 29th. ESPN had this cool stat (via Basketball John):

With Basketball-Reference we can go a little deeper here . . . here are the top Jazz scorers on Leap day:

There's more to the game than just scoring though. Malone is the leader in rebounds on Leap day (15), John Stockton for assists (19), and steals (and tied with Bob Hansen) (3), and Thurl Bailey took control in the paint with blocks (7).



This is an amazing article. You need to read it.

... and watch this too!

Sure, maybe it's more fluff than crunch, but it's important to see how the Utah Jazz actually do think of themselves as a family. That's a really strong corporate culture to get into and that's partly why they focus so hard on the individuals that they do hire, instead of going out of their way to add talent that also comes with baggage. I'm impressed and loved this story.

Also, peep Derrick Favors ' babies!

So cute!



I really miss Mehmet Okur. Well, if you live in Utah you could stalk him as he seems to be there (here) right now.

DB 1857 - Mehmet Okur Snow Kids

I think we often diminish what Memo has done. Defensively he allowed the team to play single coverage against good post scorers. And on offense, well, not many Jazz centers ever finished a season with a USG% of 20.0% or more:

A USG% of 20% or more means that you are getting involved at least 1/5th of the time. There are five players on the floor for your team at a time. So he's involved at the normal rate (if not more). For a point of comparison, Mark Eaton had a career average of 10.7%, with his last five seasons at 9.2%, 8.2%, 7.6%, 7.2% and 7.6%. Furthermore, Rudy Gobert is at 14.4% this season.

Memo was really good at allowing the team to play five on five on offense and defense.



This may be too crazy for normal people. And too deep for crazy people. But whatever. Ed Kupfer broke down (12 days ago) each NBA team's offensive and defensive four factor ranks. (So that's measuring eight different things for 30 different teams.)

That's a little small, so here it is blown up:

DB 1857 - Ed Kupher Four Factors

Utah is in the #6 to #10 range here and the info essentially states that our team is . . . uh . . . bad at keeping the other team off the line. What else? Utah is doing well when it comes to taking care of the ball and taking the ball away from the other team.

The rebounding thing should be better. Offensive rebounds aren't a problem, as today the team is ranked #4 in ORB%. Defensively? They are just #13 in DRB%. And I don't know what the deal has been, but I have some theories. First, Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors have both been injured for many, many games. And as a result, Jeff Withey, Trevor Booker, and Trey Lyles aren't as good at rebounding as those guys. But the second point, and probably more important one going forward, is that other teams know Gobert and Favors are good together. So they are going small, forcing the Jazz to adjust. And the end result is that Favors and Gobert aren't on the floor at the same time as much anymore when they are both healthy.

Rebounding isn't just two guys though, and I think the team is missing Alec Burks out there for defensive boards. He's quick and knows where the ball is going and we've seen him out-jump opposing bigmen for rebounds at times. We're seeing Gordon Hayward up his rebounds per game to 5.0 this year, but the rest of the team should help out a little more. If you get the rebound you get the stop. And you can get out and run. If you have to inbound the ball each time after the other team scores then you can't pick up the pace.

Sure, the Jazz aren't the WORST at rebounds. But they should be better than they are, IMO.


Tibor Pleiss time? Sure. Here are his box scores from the last 10 games.

1 1 29 2016 35 19 8 5 2 6 40 1.14
2 1 30 2016 21 6 6 2 0 0 14 0.67
3 2 5 2016 24 8 7 0 1 1 17 0.71
4 2 6 2016 29 15 9 0 1 0 25 0.86
5 2 8 2016 44 14 18 5 1 0 38 0.86
6 2 10 2016 36 12 16 2 0 1 31 0.86
7 2 19 2016 36 19 17 1 1 1 39 1.08
8 2 20 2016 36 15 7 3 0 1 26 0.72
9 2 26 2016 37 13 16 2 0 1 32 0.86
10 2 27 2016 33 17 13 0 0 1 31 0.94
Average 33.10 13.80 11.70 2.00 0.60 1.20 29.3 0.89

This is a little big more than what Jeremy Evans used to average, and about the same as Kyrylo Fesenko and Kosta Koufos. Tibor appears to be a 3rd center on a 15 man roster type of guy. He's not much of a shot blocker (1 block in over 30 minutes as an average). But he gets rebounds and tip ins. He has a shot, but he's not really a stretch big at this point like Memo was. Keep shooting Tibor. You're only 26! You can still get a little better!