INSIDER – Exciting trend for Gordon Hayward

In past years when the calendar hit December it was time for Gordon Hayward to start a new.  This year he will try to build on a fabulous November.

For the first time in 4 years Gordon Hayward hits December with momentum  In the three previous year, Gordon Hayward shot 33%, 41% and 39% in November.  This year Gordon has been on fire.  He is shooting 49% from the field and has hit on 39.7% from 3.

Prior to this season, Gordon was 35 of 130 from 3.  This year he is 27 of 68 in November.

gordon november

INSIDER – Something dramatic changed with Rudy Gobert

Inside of this short 18 game season something dramatic has changed with Rudy Gobert.

In the first 9 games of the season the Jazz defense with Gobert on the floor allowed 108.2 pts per 100 possessions.  In the last 9 games it has allowed just 96.7 pts per 100 possessions.

The answer may be rebounding.  In the first 9 games of the season with Gobert on the floor the Jazz garnered just 69.8% of defensive rebounds.  Over the last 9 games the Jazz have grabbed 79.9% of defensive rebounds with Gobert on the floor.

In the first 9 games of the season teams shot 67.9% in the restricted area with Gobert on the floor and took 34% of their shots in the restricted area.   Since then they have shot 61.8% in the restricted area while taking 39% of their shots in the restricted area.

Moreover, in the first 9 games of the season the Jazz were -8.8 per 100 possessions Gobert was on the floor.   In the last 9 games the Jazz are +2.5 with Gobert on the floor and -11.3 when he is off.

Over the last 5 games the Jazz defense with Gobert on the floor has allowed 98.5 pts per 100 possessions and with him on the bench has allowed 117.1.  Some of this is because Gobert has not been playing against the other teams starters, but nonetheless it is obvious he is having a huge impact.

INSIDER — Have the Jazz found their defensive cornerstone?

Every good defensive team has a 7 foot holding down the middle of the floor.   The five best defensive teams in the NBA this year are the Warriors (Bogut), Rockets (Howard), Spurs (Splitter/Duncan), Memphis (Gasol) and Wizards (Gortat).

Most of the best rim protectors in the NBA are 7 footers, Hibbert (38.5%), Dalembert (38.9%) Howard(39.5%) and Bogut (39.7%)

The Jazz have a remarkable 7 footer in Rudy Gobert. Not only is Gobert listed at 7’1 but he also has a wingspan of 7’9 and a standing reach of 9’7.

In just his second year in the NBA Gobert is beginning to have his impact felt defensively.

When Gobert is in the game teams are shooting 43.6% when he is on the bench they shoot 49.1%.   Per 48 minutes opponents score 94.4 pts when Gobert is on the floor and 105.2 when he is on the bench.

gobert defense overa

No surprise Gobert’s impact is felt around the rim.   Opponents shoot just 58% in the restricted area when Rudy is on the floor and only 27.6% of their FGA come in the restricted area.  In contrast,  when Gobert is on the bench teams shoot 65.2% in the restricted area and take 33% of their shots in the restricted area.

gobert defense by area

 

The next step is for the Jazz to figure out how to succeed with Rudy on the floor offensively.  The Jazz currently average just 99.2 points per 100 possessions with Rudy on the floor and 105.7 with him off the floor.

 

 

#Q4Locke – Why hasn’t the defense improved?

q2 11-11

This is a great question, Casey. First off, the Jazz started the year playing their first five games against teams that were ranked in the top seven offensively last year. In addition, all of those teams had an All-NBA player. All-NBA players can blow up the best of any game plan.

Now, the last two games against Detroit and Indiana the Jazz should have been able to show some defensive progress. That has come to fruition. Utah’s defensive rating the last two games has been 102.9. The EFG% defense has been 48.6. Both of these numbers come in better than league average and they should since both those teams are below league average offenses.

The preseason is not a great barometer to what is going to happen in the regular season. One game I recall in the preseason, I was talking with an opposing head coach when I realized they had not watched one moment of film to how the Jazz were playing—they were solely focussed on their team. In the season, they are looking to exploit Utah’s weaknesses.

Utah’s perimeter and high pick-and-roll coverage must improve as the season continues.

Q4Locke #1 – Will Hayward be an All-Star?

Q1 11-11

Oh my goodness has Gordon ever been terrific. The numbers are absurd—19 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists a game. If those hold, it will be hard to keep him off the All-Star team. Moreover, the coaches vote and he plays a game coaches love. Gordon is unselfish, plays in the team concept, hustles and respects the game. That will earn coaches’ votes.

However, to answer your question, yes there is a way he doesn’t make the All-Star Team. The Jazz need to win games, and even with wins it might be too much too ask.   Traditionally, coaches decide these issues based on wins. With James Harden, Kobe Bryant and Steph Curry on the team at the wing, with Klay Thomspon, Kawhi Leonard, Rudy Gay plus a red-hot Kevin Martin all wanting a spot, it’s hard to see where Gordon makes the team. The NBA All-Star roster is just 13 players and the only spot to fill is Durant’s, but if he and Kobe are voted on the team then I can’t imagine Gordon is able to bump Curry or Harden off the team.

Remember, Deron Williams was amazing and didn’t make the All-Star team for many years.

INSIDER – Here may be the issue with the Cleveland Cavaliers

The NBA floor has a left side and a right side.  The problem is the Cavaliers need three left sides.

Last year, Kevin Love took 305 left side 3 pointers and only 91 from the right side.  In addition, Love took over 250 left side 2′s and only 90 right side twos.

Here is Love’s short chart

love shot chart

 

Seems like no big deal until you look at where LeBron James was best last year

lebron shot chartLeBron is awesome from the left side, but is below the league average when he has to play on the right side of the floor.

This brings us to Kyrie Irving.   And once again he prefers the left side of the floor

irving shot chartKyrie Irving’s shot chart is almost identical to LeBron James.  The angle right three for both James and Irving is a 27-29% shot.  Irving shot chart is more balanced, but he is better on the left side of the floor.

Not a lot leaning left these days but the Cavaliers three main scores all do when on the basketball floor.

 

 

INSIDER – Two plays from Gobert show his new strength

The basketball world was murmuring about Rudy Gobert and his 20 rebounds this morning. Last year, Rudy came to the Jazz with an almost unfathomable 9-foot-7 standing reach. The potential was obvious. The work that was going to have to be done was equally obvious.

If you go back to what the Jazz coaches and front office said about Rudy last year, every comment was laced with how he likes the game and how he’s willing to work. The work is paying off. Utah’s strength and conditioning staff of Mark McKown and Isaiah Wright built a solid plan for Gobert, and the work is coming to fruition.

Two plays last night best exemplify the newly found strength of Rudy Gobert. The most obvious was an incredible offensive rebound amongst four Los Angeles players. Rudy’s length was able to get him the first contact on the ball. He then proceeds to tap it a few more times before pulling it out of the crowd. The key here was that he was on balance for the entire play. A year ago, he wouldn’t have been able to stay with the play while taking the contact to the lower half of his body.

The second play was a fast break where Rudy sprinted with great alacrity past the defense and got a pass from Ian Clark. Rudy, though, was running so fast with such big strides that there was no way he was going to be able to catch the pass and in one continuous motion put the ball in the basket. Instead, Rudy made the catch and remarkably was able to control his body well enough to come to a complete stop and make a move to the hoop. Again, a year ago I doubt he had the body control to be able to make the catch, and even if he made the catch he likely would have traveled.

Rudy deserves the credit on these plays. He came to the NBA with the intention of being very good, and he’s not satisfied with a lesser role. In addition, the work of McKown and Wright is key to a successful franchise. It often goes without great recognition, but it’s some of the most important work that’s done behind the scenes.