We are 20 weekdays away from the Jazz opening of training camp. Today we start 20 questions to Jazz camp. If you have a question please submit it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter @lockedonsports or facebook Locked on Sports
1. QUESTION 1 — What is the missing piece to make the jazz contenders?
Every great team in the NBA has two components, a top 10 defense and a star.
Last year, the Jazz ranked 20th in the NBA in defensive efficiency allowing 103.6 pts per 100 possessions. The Jazz need to make a huge jump defensively if they are going to be a top 4 team in the Western Conference. (that is what I define as a contender).
The top 10 teams in the NBA all allow about 1 point per possession or 100 pts per 100 possessions. The best in the NBA last year were Chicago and Boston who averaged allowing just 95 pts per 100 possessions.
The league average was 101.8. The Jazz weren’t close to average. In fact, only 5 teams in the NBA were worse than 104 pts per 100 possession and the Jazz were at 103.6.
The hope is with increased time from Derrick Favors the Jazz can improve defensively. Last year, when Favors played big minutes they had a far better defensive rating. In fact, in most of the games Favors played extended minutes the Jazz allowed about 100 pts per 100 possessions.
I posted this earlier this year, but Favors played 41% of his minutes with Kanter last year and the Jazz defensive rating was 108.1 in those minutes. When Favors played with someone other than Favors it was 99.1. Source: How who Favors plays with impacts the defense
When Favors played with Millsap the Jazz defensive rating was 101.5 and with Jefferson it was 106.4
Finding a star is the next step. Is that star going to Hayward or Favors? The stars of the NBA are almost all from the top 3 picks in the NBA which leads one to believe that player is going to be Favors. Asking Hayward to be a player that carries a franchise may requesting more than he is capable.
Favors is ready to be elite on the defensive end of the floor. However, his offensive game is still limited. According to synergy sports, Favors shot just 58 of 157 on post ups last season and scored on just 37% of his post ups. Where Favors was strong was on the pick and roll and in transition.
Favors was the 16th best pick and roll big in the NBA last season scoring on 61.4% of his chances.
The Jazz need Favors to develop enough offensively so his defensive prowess can affect games. When that happens the Jazz may have their star and they may become a top 10 defensive team.