STAT CHECK – Detailed look at Jazz defense since ASB

POST ALL STAR BREAK DEFENSE OF THE UTAH JAZZ
• Jazz are #7 in NBA at forcing “non-smart shots” (paint non restricted or mid range) 45% of opponents shots are those type of shots. Portland is best at 49.5% followed by Warriors, Hornets, Bulls, Spurs and Pacers.

• Jazz are allowing 30.7% of shots in the restricted area (13th in the NBA) best is Warriors at 28.5% and Memphis at 28.7%. Teams are shooting 57.2% in the restricted area the 8th lowest in NBA. Bulls are best at 53.6%

• 17.6% of shots against the Jazz are in the paint non-restricted the 4th most in the NBA. Teams are shooting 35% 3rd lowest since ASB. Sixers are best at 32%

• 26.7% of opponents shots are mid-range jumpers. 12th in the NBA. Portland opponents take 31.8%. Teams are shooting just 35% against the Jazz in mid-range lowest in the NBA.

• Jazz are allowing 7% of shot to be corner 3’s 15th in the NBA. Teams are shooting 39.4% on corner 3’s 18th in the NBA

• Jazz are allowing 17.9% of shots to be above the break 3’s, 4th lowest rate in NBA. Spurs are best at 16.2%. Teams are only shooting 30.7% on those shots 2nd lowest rate in the NBA.

• Not only are Jazz forcing good shots but they are defending the actual shot best in the NBA. Based on league averages teams should have scored 1855 points against the Jazz since the ASB but the Jazz have only allowed 1722 in that time period. The -133 shot point defense is best in the NBA, next closest is Indiana at -82.

• Other way to view that. Based on where opponents shoot against the Jazz they should average .98 pts per shot (7th best in NBA and league average is .99 pts per shot). Instead since all-star break the Jazz are allowing .91 pts per shot

• Here is the impact of forcing teams to shoot in the “non smart” areas. Pelicans have the 3rd most impactful defense holding opponents to.04 pts per shot below the expected pts per shots based on where shot is taken. However, the Pelicans 15th in forcing “non smart shots” so their actual points per shot slips to 6th overall. The Hornets, on the other hand, have a non-impact full defense. Only .01 pts per shot for 11th in the league, but they are the 3rd best team in the NBA at forcing “non-smart” shots . Their actual pts per shot is the exact same as the Pelicans.

TIPOFF – April 8 – NBA 5, Pace of play and passing, Hood and Your Qs

Utah Jazz radio voice and Jazz NBA Insider David Locke gives you the NBA 5; looks at one concern about the Warriors; talks about passing, pace of play and half-court pace; and then digs deep on the Utah Jazz with your questions.

TIPOFF – April 7 – PAAC, smart shots, championships and your questions

Utah Jazz radio voice and Jazz NBA Insider David Locke gives you the last 10 PAAC, talks defensive smart shots, championships and takes your questions.

TIPOFF – April 6 – Lots and lots of topics on Jazz

Utah Jazz radio voice and Jazz NBA insider talks about why the NBA is doing ref reports, the NBA 5 and then breaks down the Jazz’s weekend.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Hood is Good

• Bryce Cotton, Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles, Jeremy Evans and Trevor Booker—why of course. That’s the five-man lineup that carried the Jazz through the key run of the game and to a win. Danté Exum, Rudy Gobert and Elijah Millsap took part in the fun as well. Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors did not.

• Favors checked out 5:16 into the third quarter and Hayward checkout 6:10 into the third quarter and neither returned to the game. Both of these guys have been carrying this team and Quin has asked so much out of them in practice and shootarounds all season. They are on empty and Quin recognized it. Great call by the coach at this point of the season to realize what you have and what you don’t and let it ride. Not worth winning the game with those pieces overly worn out and instead he let the other guys get amazing experience.

• I’m going to be Debbie Downer for a quick second. The group the Jazz played in the fourth quarter for Sacramento was not good. Without going player by player, none of them other than Cousins is an NBA starter and Cousins is a miracle.

• With that said, Rodney Hood was terrific. I wrote about this in the last EMPTYING THE NOGGIN. He plays an NBA game. He’s in control. He said after the game that he has worked with Quin a tremendous amount and Quin has really talked to him about how to play in and around the paint. Quin is big about playing with balance (which is strength) and skill (handle and vision) in and around the paint as the ball handler. It allows them to react to different defenses and make plays. Hood and Hayward have the strength to do it. At times, Gordon lacks the handle. Rodney is not having that issue.

• Interesting how much Rodney mentioned Gordon’s role in his development in our postgame interview, with Gordon pushing him to be more aggressive.

• Aggressive he was with a career-high 25 points and 13 in the fourth quarter, including nine straight after the game got to 83-82 with 6:11 left. Hood then hit the technical free throw and followed with three and then a 14-foot pull-up jumper, then a nine-foot runner and the Jazz were up 92-84 with 4:24 left. It was big time.

• Another 2-for-4 3-point shooting night for Joe Ingles. If he can play 15 to 18 minutes a night, he might have a nice roll as the fourth wing to Hayward, Hood and Burks.

• Jazz were never able to strangle the Kings defensively like they have other teams since the All-Star break. Utah’s defense tonight was forcing turnovers, which is different than what they usually do. They forced 20 turnovers.

• A rough estimate had the game at nearly 100 possessions, so the Jazz allowing 95 pts still keeps the defensive rating at near 95.0, which is amazing. When you force 20% of the opponent’s possessions into turnovers and only allow five 3-pointers, allowing 48% shooting is not as bad as it looks.

• The Jazz fouled like crazy tonight. Against a good team, they would have cost themselves the game with four silly fouls in the second quarter that put them in the penalty at the 8:00 mark. The Kings didn’t take advantage as much as they should have.

• Bryce Cotton played a nice game tonight. He is crazy fast. He played with pace. Aaron Brooks is the model for Cotton, but Brooks is a bit stronger and Brooks is super tough. Don’t know if Cotton can match him on those two accounts. He played a nice game. Four rebounds in 12:30 shows some toughness.

• Jeremy Evans with a productive eight minutes: 10 points, two rebounds.

• I don’t know how George Karl deals with this. I tell you what, if I was a two-time cancer survivor and had the resume George has, I wouldn’t bother dealing with DeMarcus. I wouldn’t lose one minute of sleep over his antics or let him have a negative impact on my life. Not sure how he does that, but I hope he’s able to because DeMarcus is a sad story. God gave him a gift and he is truly miserable with the gift he was given. It’s really too bad, but he’s going to torpedo the Kings franchise.

• Fun night. The big boys got to sit and watch and three rookies, a seldom-used player, a bunch of guys from the D-League and a big monster named Rudy carried the Jazz to a win. No. 35—10 more than a year ago.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Lots of things more important than missed call

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
• The last non-call was terrible. That is a foul. JT Orr pointed at his foot to say Hood kicked out. Hood only kicked out because PJ Tucker nailed the right side of his body and that moved his left foot forward. It was a brutal mistake and I am certain the league will announce it tomorrow.

• A bunch of things more important than the final play happened tonight. Most importantly, Gordon Hayward took over the game late and brought the Jazz back. Hayward went 4 of 5 in the final part of the 4th quarter and had 12 4th quarter points. The Jazz are going to have to find a go to guy who can score late in games and it has to be someone with the ball in their hands. It is too hard in the NBA to get the ball into the post and it is too easy for the team to force the ball out of the post. If the Jazz are going to beat really good teams someone is going to have to step up and make those plays and tonight Gordon showed huge progress in that area

• Dante Exum was more aggressive again tonight in a tough match-up against a bulldog defender in Eric Bledsoe. He went to the basket early. He hit a pull up jumper from 9 feet out that was sweet. Another time he fooled me with a little flip shot in the lane that I thought was going to be a pass to Gobert.

• Rodney Hood again showed an NBA game. There is a huge difference between NBA skill and a NBA game. One of the signs that a player belongs is when he plays a controlled game. At times it looks slow to Rodney. Even better is when you as the ball handler can dictate the speed of the game. Hood seems to have everyone around him off balance and therefore he is controlling the speed of the play. This is big. He has already figured out how he is going to score in this league. He has the three point game. He has an in between game and he has the hercky jerky in the lane game. He is not going to the line at all. So the next step is figuring how to draw contact and get free throw attempts. He also needs to foul less and more intelligently.

• Joe Ingles is on fire from 3. 2 for 3 tonight He is 8 of his last 12 from 3.

• The real lesson on tonight is how much more the Jazz need to improve to be really good. Little plays that cost you close games were all over the place. Exum not controlling a rebound. Pick through the 18 turnovers, Rudy and Derrick with 9 of them. Not very good execution on the final play. Numerous other possessions that could have swung the game the other way. Those are the plays that will change the franchise in the next few years.

• Jazz bench tonight was Trevor Booker, Joe Ingles, a 27 year old rookie who had been released by numerous camps prior to coming to the Jazz, and 3 D-League players.

• PJ Tucker is tough. Favors was posting him a lot on the night and couldn’t take advantage of him. Favors finished 4 of 15 from the field.

• Each half mirrored each other. Jazz went on runs in the 1st and 3rd and completely shut down the Suns offense. Then in the 2nd and the 4th the Jazz had a hard time getting stops and fell behind.

• Trey Burke was missed tonight

• Little victories tonight are more important than the blown call and the mysterious late game replays. That is still what this season is about and there were lots of good things tonight.

TIPOFF – April 3 – Daily Devars, top 16 playoffs and defensive future

Utah Jazz radio voice and Jazz NBA Insider David Locke shares the stories from Leapin’ Leaners & Low Tops, give you the NBA 5, looks at top 16 playoff impact, and then digs deep on Utah’s defense.

INSIDER – Will Jazz D translate to 2015-16?

The Jazz defense since the All-Star break is historically good. Since 2001, only the 2004 Detroit Pistons have been better for a 2nd half of a season. Since 2005, no team has been better than the Jazz defensive rating of 93.0 post all star break, the next best is the 07 Bulls.

Without question the Jazz defense is performing at an elite level. Now the question is will it translate to 2015-16?

METHODOLOGY: Looked at the top 5 post all-star break defenses since 2000-01 and look at what they did the following year. Excluded any year involving the lockout.

FINDINGS
* Since 2001 no team that has led the NBA in defense post all-star break has been #1 in defense the next season
* 13 of 24 (54%) teams who finished top 2 defensively PASB were top 5 defensively the next year
* 19 of 36 (53%) teams who finished top 3 defensively PASB were top 5 defensively the next year
* 30 of the 60 (50%) teams that were top 5 defensively PASB stayed in the top 5 the next season
* 20 of the 60 teams (33%) that were top 5 defensively PASB fell out of the top 10 defensively the next season
* 6 of the 60 teams (10%) fell out of the top half defending.

* Of the 60 teams that have been top 5 defensive PASB since 2001 they have represented 8 of the 12 teams next season who were #1 defensively, they have represented 5 of the 12 teams that ranked #2 the next season, 6 of the 12 that ranked 3rd and 6 of 12 that ranked 4th.
* The teams that finished top 5 PASB defensively represented 52% of the teams that were top 4 defensively the next season

* On average the best defensive team after the ASB sees their defensive rating increase 4 pts per 100 possessions the next season from where they performed PASB. None of the top 12 teams improved.
* Teams that finished in the top 5 defensively PASB on average see their defensive rating increase 2.2 pts per 100 possessions.

The Jazz defense since the ASB has been unique. The Jazz have a defensive rating of 93.0. Only 1 team since 2007 has had a post all-star break defensive rating within 4 pts of the Jazz 93.0 – 2013 Memphis Grizzlies (97.0).

THESIS
It is unlikely the Jazz can maintain the insane 93.0 pts per 100 possessions rate they have held since the ASB for an entire season. However, if they follow the trend of adding 4 pts per 100 possessions they would still be an elite defense. One of the 10 best since 2001 (non-lockout). It seems reasonable to anticipate that the Jazz would be on the correct side of the 50% group that stays in the top 5 defensively. However, it is clear there is wide variance year to year.

Next project if you are top 5 defensively what does it mean for your win total