INSIDER – Dennis Lindsey on the draft process

This morning, Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey was on with DJ & PK on 1280 and 97.5 The Zone.

These are the takeaways from their conversation

• The crew is on the West Coast to see agent-sponsored workouts. They are currently in Santa Barbara. Remember, the Jazz have the strong tie with P3, where numerous draftees are working out (including Kelly Oubre Jr.).

• The Jazz are getting out early to see these kids. You can’t sit back and wait—if an injury or something takes place, then you never see them.

• Buttoning up the decision-making process is a large part of this process.

• More players than normal are in play for the 12th spot. That’s what is unusual about this draft. There’s usually a tighter set of prospects.

• It’s more unusual to get a deal framework done this early in the process. Commonly, the best hands are shown when people get on the clock.

• Incredible to hear him talk about making a decision in five minutes when something new arises when the team is on the clock. Amazing how fast that decision has to be made when you consider how much is at stake for the organization. This is where Dennis says you have to be over-prepared so you don’t end up guessing.

• Intel is more art than formula. Intel is usually one person’s opinion on a player. Have to have multiple checks.

• Usually you only get 30 minutes one on one with a player before a draft. You have to be a good listener—not a check-the-box interviewer.

•The Jazz use a tier system. If you have players that are in the same tier and one has a skill set that fits your needs, that’s where you might jump. If you have a prospect two levels ahead of a need, more times than not it’s better to take the better prospect.

• The Front Office gives the coaches projects based on their skill set.

• Study the math of the draft. Many times the right thing to do is to take the riskiest pick. Often the lack of risk has limited upside.

• Dennis referenced if they don’t have all the information or incomplete information, he has to go to the owner and be transparent that they don’t have all the data. Are they still willing to make a million-dollar decision?

• You have to have multiple sets of options. If you are in that situation, you will more consistently make good decisions.

Always enjoy the Dennis Lindsey interview. If you listen, he says a lot each time he’s on 1280 and 97.5 The Zone.

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.

* 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).

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

INSIDER – What to make of Jazz defense since All-Star Break

Since the All-Star Break the Jazz defense has been otherworldly.  In those 21 games the Jazz has allowed 86.3 points per game the next closest is New Orleans at 94.7.   That can be skewed by the Jazz arduous pace of play.  However, if you equalize for pace the Jazz are still #1 in the NBA with a remarkable 93.2 pts per 100 possessions.  The next closest in the NBA is 97.5, the Golden State Warriors.

If the Jazz were to hold a defensive rating of 93.2 pts per 100 possessions over an entire season it would be one of the greatest defensive performances in NBA history.  It is unrealistic to believe the Jazz can maintain at this level.    But how far can they slip and still be elite.

The Jazz has performed at in this rarefied air for just 25% of the season.   Yet, if the Jazz played average defense for the other 75% of the season they would still come out as the 3rd best defense in the NBA for the season.   For the Jazz to play average they would have to allow 9 pts per 100 more than they are since the all-star break.  That is a huge amount as you see below

Let’s try to make some sense of how much range exists in defensive efficiency ratings.  The best team in the NBA is Golden State at 97.4, the worst is Minnesota at 108.9.  Only three teams in the NBA are under 100 and only 4 teams in the NBA are above 106.   23 teams in the NBA exist within a 6 point range of 100 to 106.  The league median is 102.6.

For 25% of the season the Jazz have been 93.2 pts allowed per 100 possessions.  Even if the Jazz dropped 6 pts per 100 possessions (the same as #4 to #27) they would be above 100 pts allowed per 100 possessions and 2nd best in the NBA .

Let’s use two benchmarks moving forward.  If the Jazz were to slip to 96 pts allowed per 100 possessions or even 100 pts allowed per 100 possesions for the whole season how would they rank.

2013-14:  Best defense was Indiana at 96.7 and 3 teams were under 100 def rtg

2012-13:  Best defense was Indiana at 96.6 and 4 teams were under 100 def rtg

2011-12:  Lockout season offense was way down

2010-11: Best defense was Chicago 97.4 and 4 teams were under 100 def rtg

2009-10: Best defense was Charlotte at 100.2, no defenses under 100

2008-09:  Best defense was Orlando at 98.9, 3 teams were under 100 def rtg

2007-08:  Best defense was Boston at 96.2, 3 teams were under 100 def rtg

2006-07: Best defense was Chicago at 97 and 4 teams were under 100 rtg

2005-06:  Best defense was San Antonio at 96.9 and 4 teams were under 100

Over the past 10 seasons (9 full seasons) the best defensive team had a 96.2 and only three teams had a rating under 97.  Moreover, in none of the 9 seasons did more than 4 teams have a defensive rating under 100.

So if the Jazz slipped 3 pts per 100 possessions for an entire season compared to what they have done since the all-star break they would be the best defense in the last 10 years.   If they were to slip 6 pts and stay under 100 pts allowed they would almost certainly be a top 5 defense

Therefore, considering the Jazz run defensively since the all-star break it seems fair to feel the Jazz will be a top 5 defensive team in the NBA next year with a real chance at being one of the best defenses in the NBA in the near future.

INSIDER – Jazz bigs and how they have played together

Quin Snyder has had the difficult task of dividing 96 minutes a night between 4 good big man, Derrick Favors, Enes Katner, Rudy Gobert and Trevor Booker.   Each player has there strengths and weaknesses and in turn compliment each other differently.

What is striking is how this has changed through the season as the defensive system has evolved for the Utah Jazz.

The following chart is the Jazz big man pair for the first half of the season

playing pair bigs 1st half


The much talked about Gorbert and Favors combo was rarely used in the first half of the season.   In the first half of the season each line-up with Enes Kanter was a disaster.

Since Dec 19th the halfway point of the 52 games so  far things have been very different

jazz 2nd half bigs


The Favors/Gobert combo has become a much more prominent line-up.  Most interestingly the Kanter and Favors line-up has gone from -5.2 per 100 possessions to a -.3 over 100 possessions.  A great improvement.    In addition, the Favors/Booker that was prominent in the first half of the season and unsuccessful has been reduced to particular circumstances and been much more successful .

All three line-ups with Enes Kanter on the floor area above better than league average defensively.  League average is 103.7 and Kanter/Favors is 101.7 since Dec 18th.  101.7 would rank 11th in NBA for a team.   Kanter/Gobert is 100.4 would rank 9th.

What is most exciting about the above graph is that over the last half of the season every Jazz big man pair, other than Booker and Gobert, is a really strong defensive unit.   They have not figured out how to score yet, but they are all defending very well.


ASK INSIDER LOCKE – Should the Jazz trade for Goran Dragic

Burt Macklin @Forrresttree2  @Lockedonsports dragic for Kanter? #asklocke

 The number 1 name in the trade deadline talks right now is Goran Dragic.  Should the Jazz get involved in the Dragic trade talks.   The Jazz point guard position is still developing and there is no question an established point guard would help the Jazz win more games right now.

However, I don’t think the Jazz should jump into the Dragic sweepstakes.  First, he is a free agent at the end of the season and you would have to make sure you could sign him to a long term deal if you trade for him.

Secondly, he seems set on getting a 5 year max deal for nearly 100 million dollars.  You can’t do a 5 year deal unless it is the max.  His entire trade demand is based on getting the 5th year.   I don’t believe he is a 5 year max player..  Last year, he was great in Phoenix a 3rd team all-nba player.  However, prior to that he has not been at that level.  I would be very careful in offering him the 5 year max deal when he may not be a top 10 point guard in the NBA.

Finally, if you sign Dragic for a 5 year deal what are you doing with Burke and Dante.

For all those reasons I don’t think the Jazz should get involved in the Dragic deal.