Utah Jazz radio voice and Jazz NBA Insider David Locke gives you the Daily Devar, looks around the NBA, and then digs deep on the Jazz and the matchup with Cleveland.
Have the Utah Jazz made defensive progress this season? One way I look at Utah’s defense is that I take the first 25 games of the season and then compare it to the last 20 games of the season. The Jazz were 6-19 after 25 games and by then Trey Burke had worked his way into the lineup comfortably.
Dean Oliver, in this brilliant book, broke the game down into four factors: defensive effective field goal % (which weighs 3-point shooting), DFTA rate (the rate at which you send opponents to the free-throw line), DTO% (the percentage of possessions you force a turnover) and DREB% (percent of defensive rebounds you get).
Here is how the Jazz have changed over the course of the season:
|First 25 games||24th||26th||24th||29th|
|Last 20 games||9th||16th||30th||13th|
The Jazz have shown considerable growth in three of the four categories. The ninth in DEFG% over the last 20 games is really exciting. In addition, the Jazz have long been notorious for the amount they foul—and that has subsided. Finally, the Jazz have moved to above average in defensive rebounding despite playing with a stretch 4.
The only area where the Jazz have been inadequate is their lack of forcing turnovers. Ranking 30th doesn’t tell the whole story. The current rate of forcing turnovers over the past 20 games is historically low at only 11.8% of opponents possessions.
Overall, the Jazz have improved from ranking 30th defensively in the first 25 games to 23rd, and if they can begin to force some turnovers they will be near average in a hurry.
Utah Jazz radio voice David Locke sits down with Richard Jefferson for a wide-ranging conversation about his season, the NBA, Gordon Hayward and more.
Greg Miller, CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, will be the focus of CBS’ “Undercover Boss” this Friday at 7 p.m. MST. He took a few minutes to talk with Utah Jazz radio voice David Locke about the experience.
- The Jazz blew out the short-handed Suns and moved to 18-9 when healthy. Utah played enough defense in the second, third and fourth quarters to make it tough on the Suns, and Phoenix didn’t have the firepower to fight against it.
- Gordon Hayward finished an assist short of the triple double. The big moment to me was when Hayward missed back-to-back threes from his old sweet spot on the right side of the floor, and instead of falling out of favor with the game as he did against Minnesota, he jacked it up a notch. He went to the basket hard. He got in the open floor. He attacked the rim for some great dunks. And he finished with a huge night. All 10 of his rebounds were on the defensive glass.
- The Jazz have won seven of their last eight with Derrick Favors in the lineup. The schedule has given the Jazz some breaks (tonight for example) but this team—when healthy—has figured out how to play and how to win. It is an impressive step for this team. Favors covers an enormous amount of ground on the floor, but also holds court around the rim. Utah’s defense in games when Favors starts without Kanter allows 98.6 points, and tonight held the Suns to 86 points. When Favors is out, the Jazz allow 105 points.
- Richard Jefferson got it rolling again after a brief shooting slump (33% from three is now a slump for Jefferson). He went 6-for-8 (and 2-for-3 from three) for 17 points.
- Diante Garrett played for the Suns last year, and was let go after Summer League this year … then dropped a career-high 15 points on the Suns tonight. The best moment was when the Suns dropped off him on the right angle and he hit the three and then stared at the bench, which had been yelling at the defender to drop off.
- Garrett hit 3 of 4 threes tonight, making him 19 of 47 (40.4%) for the season.
- Doing what your are supposed to do in this league should not be pushed aside as doing nothing. Tonight was a nice professional win for a young team.
- See you on the road.
Today I got into a really good discussion with a super basketball mind about whether or not the adage of defense being inside-out is still accurate. With the proliferation of the 3-pointer, has defense become outside in?
To get a statistical answer to this, I broke the league into three categories: The top 20%, middle 60% and bottom 20%. Then I broke it into three categories: stopping shot attempts in the restricted area, stopping shots from 3-point range overall, and stopping just corner threes. Then I looked at defending the shot (or FG%) from those same three areas.
From there I looked at the combined winning percentage of the teams in the top, middle and bottom of each section.