This is a great question. Right now the Jazz are still in the asset accumulation mode and when do they shift to team building? The first piece to be diagnosed is which pieces are the core pieces. I am not sure we will be there by the end of the season. The Alec Burks injury slowed down how all the pieces fit together, plus the Rudy Gobert emergence alters how you view some things.
I still think we are looking to form the core pieces,rather than place complimentary pieces on the puzzle. With that said, Tony Allen was added to Memphis while they were still building and I would call him a core piece. So it is not always obvious what a core piece is.
The Jazz are looking to improve so if the right piece that fits well both with the current talent, with the attitude of the team and moneywise is there, I could see the Jazz making a move.
Danny Green may get 8 digits however.
Eyes have been glued to every Dante Exum move, Rudy Gobert has become must watch on the defensive end and Gordon Hayward has proven he can be a star in the NBA. In the midst of all those story lines this year , the quiet kid from Atlanta, Georgia has calmly taken an enormous jump as a player.
In 4 of the last 5 games Derrick Favors has notched a 20 point, 10 rebound game. He has scored 20 points or more in more games this year than he did the entire year last year. He is shooting a career high 55.5%. His scoring jump over the last three years is 9.4 to 13.3 to 16.2. The list continues, career high in assists, free throws attempts, offensive rebounds and lowest turnover per game since his rookie year.
Numerous factors have come together for Favors to make this step. He is a starter for the 2ndyearbuilding off last year’s 73 starts. His weight training work with Mark McKown has been consistent and the dividends are showing. Favors spent hours on end in the off-season working on his mid-range jump. Finally, the new offensive system has moved where Favors is making his plays on the court. Put all of these together in the same stew and a star is emerging in Derrick Favors.
The biggest change of all for Favors is where he is getting the basketball. In the previous offensive system Favors got the ball primarily on the left block. This year he is playing off the elbows more than he has in the past. This allows him to attack from the top or in angle right or angle left.
Compare the shot distribution charts of Favors last year compared to this year.
2013-14 SEASON SHOT DISTRIBUTION
Notice a year ago Favors used 11% of his possessions on the left block last year and this year it is down to 5.9%. It is clear where those possessions have gone. Rather than using 7% of his possession around the free throw line he is using nearly 15% of his possessions from straight away.
By coming from the top Favors has been able to use his quickness rather than his power. He is able to see more of the floor and from where the defenders are converging on him. Think of how the Suns used Amare Stoudamire with Steve Nash in Phoenix.
His effectiveness has changed as well. The strength work has made him a force around the rim. In the chart below you can see he has jumped from 65.5% at the rim to an impressive 72.2%. Of players who take 5 shots or more in the restricted area per game, Favors is 4thbest in the NBA behind DeAndre Jordan, Anthony Davis and Tyson Chandler.
Lastly, this summer Favors stayed in Salt Lake City and lived in the gym. Each day he worked on his jump shot. He told me the #1 area of focus was balance on this jump shot. The work has given Favors an element to his game he never had previously.
|YEAR||Mid Range FG%|
|14-15||40% (45 fgm)|
|13-14||31% (54 fgm)|
|12-13||31% (36 fgm)|
|11-12||29% (21 fgm)|
|10-11||29% (21 fgm)|
More impressive is what Favors is doing from 15 feet and out.
|YEAR||15 Feet+ Shooting|
|14-15||44% (32 fgm)|
|13-14||28% (24 fgm)|
|12-13||23% (17 fgm)|
|11-12||23% (7 fgm)|
|10-11||24% (10 fgm)|
At just 23 years old there is likely more to come for Favors. Each night he is having a larger and larger impact on games. Who defends him is having less impact on how he performs. Maybe most importantly, his effort level has become consistent each night.
This is all part of the process. One of the most commonly heard things from Dennis Lindsey is the Jazz are not going to skip steps. Derrick Favors might be the best example of player going step by step through the development and beginning to come out the other side.
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.
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.