POSTCAST – Locke and Boone break down where the Jazz stand

TIPOFF – December 8 – The rule of the top 10, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter

Utah Jazz radio voice and Jazz NBA Insider David Locke gives you the NBA 5 with the rule of the Top 10 and looks at the play of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter for the Utah Jazz.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – The dreaded high pick-and-roll

  • Sorry for no Noggin or Postcast last night. My computer has shut down and died.  This is the second computer of the season. We’re only 20 games into the season.  At this rate I’m going to go through eight computers this year, and that’s not good. I could make some bad jokes that my computers have the lasting power of our defense or something like that, but it seems unnecessary.
  • The Jazz are now 4-29 when missing any of the following over the last two years:  Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward or Derrick Favors. This team is not built to sustain injuries. It’s built to allow the players to develop, and this is the downside of building a team for development.
  • Just look at last night—Rodney Hood played well and did some good things. Then Ian Clark becomes Hood’s backup and the second unit becomes Exum, Clark, Ingles, Booker and Gobert. Oh my, how do you score? And sure enough, with Clark on the floor last night the Jazz were -7  in eight minutes.
  • The Jazz starters outscored the Magic 26-24 in 14 minutes last night. This is a re-occurring theme. The Jazz front line guys are in the game playing pretty well, and when we start adding 1 or 2 or 3 bench guys onto the floor, the game slips away.
  • The second quarter was a problem again for the Jazz. The game really changed when the Magic went back to their starters in the second quarter with Frye, Oladipo and Fournier, and they were +11 in that stretch.
  • Rodney Hood’s mid-range jumper to open the game was his first mid-range jumper of the season. Nothing official on the status of Alec Burks, but it seems like it might be another few weeks. These will good moments for Rodney Hood to discover what he can do in this league. It was important for him to make some shots and get going. Now he can relax and just play.
  • Derrick Favors has been really good this year. Last night he finished with 21 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks. Not a lot of guys can do that. He’s playing elite-level basketball. The last five games, he’s averaging 18-9 while shooting 63%. He’s doing everything well. He has increased his mid-range shooting from 31% to 43% and is at 50% over his last 10 games. He’s making 73% of his shots in the restricted area—one of the highest rates in the NBA—and his defense was terrific last night.
  • Trey Burke had a tough time with Victor Oladipo, but offensively he really battled and impacted the game. He assisted 52% of the field goals when he was on the floor.  He broke the paint with regularity in the second half. He started the night 1-for-10 shooting but stayed in the game kept battling. Six free throws by Burke is a great sign of how hard he worked to get to the rim.
  • Tobais Harris is a nice player. He brings a terrific compliment of post play and outside range. Really liked him out of Tennessee and he’s getting better every year. Great pickup by the Magic when they traded away J.J. Redick. Great example of how an organization shouldn’t try to skip steps. Terrible trade by the Bucks.
  • Andy Larsen had a nice note at Salt City Hoops about what a slow pace of play this game had.
  • The high pick-and-roll defensively is still a real problem. It’s interesting to rewatch the game and see little pieces of progress in the game. One play, the weakside defender doesn’t come over to the nail (middle of free-throw line) to bump the roll man and so the roll man gets a layup. Next play, you see the weakside defender fix the mistake and get to the nail. Those are little pieces of progress. Plus, guys in the NBA are good. Kanter stepped into the lane to bump the roll man on one play and busted up the play. The next time he did it again and Oladipo found Frye open for the three. Teams are going to run the high pick-and-roll until the Jazz can figure out all the ways to defend it. Right now this team stops the first option and then teams go to options two and three and the guys don’t have that down yet. Pick-and-roll is tough to cover.

TIPOFF – December 5 – Locke Offensive Ratings and your questions

Utah Jazz radio voice and Jazz NBA Insider David Locke looks at the NBA almost 1/4 of the way through the season, and then takes your questions and gets ready for the Jazz and the Magic.

STAT CHECK – Locke Offensive Ratings for the Jazz as of 12/4/14

jazz advanced on 12-4

These are my stats for the Utah Jazz as of December 4.

They are sorted by LOCKE OFFENSIVE RATING (in red). This weighs a player’s use of an individual possession and his ability to get shots off. 0 is replacement level. 10 is league average. 20 is a high-level starter. 30 is elite. 40 is LeBron and Durant.

To the left of LOCKE OFFENSIVE RATING is Cringe/Grin, which shows how much a player uses an individual possession above or below the league average. Negative is below league average. LHM is the Larry H Miller ranking system, which heavily favors big men.

To the right of the LOCKE OFFENSIVE RATING is ACTIVITY, which is the impact a player has on the game. This was a system kept by another head coach in the NBA.

To the right of that is JACK, which is how often a player jacks up a shot. Then to the right of that is % of possessions used to shoot a 2, a 3, go to the line and turn the ball over.

Finally, SO is Scoring Opportunties per 40 minutes on the floor. A scoring opportunity is a FGA or a trip to the line. Then is PTS/SO and PTS/Possession. Possession includes turnovers. Finally, there’s PTS per FGA in the black.

The last two are the amount of possessions a players uses and how many minutes he is playing per night.

TIPOFF – December 4 – Raptors O or Jazz D?

Utah Jazz Radio voice and Jazz NBA Insider David Locke gives you the NBA 5 and then digs deep on Utah’s defense against the Raptors.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Raptors v. Jazz

  • Two things we know for certain. The Jazz are not ready defensively for the top level offensive teams. The Raptors, the #2 offensive team in the NBA, surpassed all of the opponent highs set by the Mavericks (the #1 offensive team in the NBA). Second, Utah’s depth is not able to keep the Jazz in games. The script each night is very similar, the Jazz play fairly well early in the game and then when the substitutions start the game begins to slip away and gets away entirely in the second quarter.
  • This team needs to learn how to put its will on a game. However, that is much easier said than done. Golf seems to be the most common analogy, but it could be anything. If you have failed at something in the past and you are uncertain of yourself, it is hard to dive right in with all your gusto. Take a big fall on a ski hill and then next time you come down that same run you are tentative. Pull back-to-back drives into the trees and how are you feeling on the next tee box? That’s where the Jazz are at this point. They lack a confidence to play with the type of vigor they need to play with.
  • The Raptors are really good. They are 15-4 and the best in the East, and with the energy in Toronto that exists after last season they are going to be a tough out in playoffs. What they did tonight is what really good teams do. They were playing a team that is not as good and they came out and put the hammer down. They had not been playing defense well recently and they tightened that area up while dominating the game. Kyle Lowry was terrific.
  • I admire Coach Casey—when he finds a play that works he never leaves it.  High pick-and-roll here we go again.
  • The Jazz started fine, but the Raptors went on a 9-2 run to close the first quarter and a 19-8 run to open the second quarter. Game over. That’s the 18-point difference that ruled the night. Everything else was window dressing, as they say.
  • Realize the Jazz opened the night with a kid who has played 8 NBA games trying to guard Kyle Lowry, who’s an eight-year veteran and heading to an All-Star Game. The rest of the roster was a point guard who has played one year and 19 games, two four-year “veterans” and a guy starting for his first year.
  • Players doing things for the first time in the NBA are not usually very good at what they’re doing. If a player is inserted in the starting lineup for the first time as a regular, it takes a while. If a player is a lead dog for the first time, it takes a while. Who are the two players on the Jazz that are handling themselves well? Guys who are doing the same thing for the second straight year—Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward.
  • It’s not pleasant to be down by 15 or more every night, but make sure that we are being realistic to what this team as constructed with its youth is capable of doing.
  • Lots of good things are happening. Rudy Gobert, who has played 63 games in his career, is showing signs of being a defensive force in the NBA. He still has a long way to go. Trey Burke, who has played 88 games in his NBA career, got out of a huge shooting slump for one of the first times in his life and will grow from that.  Danté Exum, who is 19 and has played 19 games, is showing all the signs of why he was drafted fifth overall, and people believe he could be terrific. Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors, who have played enough to know what to anticipate in this league, have been good (in fact, very good).
  • Take a second and imagine Gordon or Derrick surrounded by veteran experienced players, and they would be fabulous.
  • It’s a process. We knew it was a process. And it’s not an easy process. There is no magic pill. It doesn’t get fixed right away. There will be many more nights like this and more losing streaks, but there is a lot good going on in the midst of this.

POSTCAST – Raptors look every bit the best of the East