Twenty-games in the the season the Jazz defense ranks 21st in the NBA, allowing 103.8 pts per 100 possessions. Last year, they allowed 103.6 pts per 100 possession (offense was down in lockout year) and ranked 20th in the NBA.
When you look at the Four Factors a lot of the same issues that crippled the defense last year are showing again this year. Dean Oliver created the four factors they are EFG%, Opponents Free Throw Rate, Rebounding rate and turnover rate.
Here is how the Jazz rankings compare year to year.
Believe it or not there are two very positive signs in these numbers that lead me to believe the Jazz defensive numbers will improve as the season develops.
First, the Jazz are doing a much better job of not fouling and not putting people on the line. The league averages 1.4 pts per trip to the free throw line. Even shooting at the rim isn’t that efficient. Teams shot 63.8% at the rim or 1.26. Not putting teams on the line is a huge step in the correction direction. For years the Jazz have been the #1 team in the NBA in opponents free throws allowed, you can’t be good defensively and foul.
Second, the Jazz defensive rebounding numbers are absurdly bad, 28th in the NBA. Last year, the Jazz ranked 11th. This has to be an outlier or at least is easily fixable. The difference between last year and this year is about 2 offensive rebounds a game, that is around 2 to 3 points a game.
If the Jazz rebounding can return to last year’s level the Jazz can move from very easily from the 21st ranked defensive team to the 16th. The way the NBA is structured right now there are 15 decent defensive teams in the NBA the Jazz need to get into that group.
Fun with Line-ups
The sample size is small after only 20 games but let’s look at the Jazz 5 man line-ups and see what we find. Lineups have to have played at least 20 minutes as a group
Best 5 man line-ups:
#1) Tinsley, Hayward, Carroll, Favors and Kanter
#2) Tinsley, Hayward, Marvin, Millsap and Jefferson
#3) Mo Williams, Gordon Hayward, Marvin Wllliams, Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson
Best Offensive 5 man line-up
#1) Mo Williams, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson
#2) Mo Williams, Randy Foye, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors
#3) Mo Williams, Gordon Hayward, Marvin Williams, Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson
Best Defensive 5 man line-ups
#1) Jamaal Tinsley, Gordon Hayward, DeMarre Carroll, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter
#2) Jamaal Tinsley, Marvin Williams, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson
#3) Jamaal Tinsley, Randy Foye, Marvin Williams, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter
Best Defensive Rebounding 5 man units
#1) Jamaal Tinsley, Gordon Hayward, Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson (88%)
#2) Mo Williams, Gordon Hayward, Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson (83%)
Best Offensive Rebounding 5 man units
#1) Earl Watson, Gordon Hayward, DeMarre Carroll, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter
#2) Jamaal Tinsley,Gordon Hayward, DeMarre Carroll, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter
Fastest Pace Line-ups
1) Jamaal Tinsley, DeMarre Carroll, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
2) Mo Wlliams, Randy Foye, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap and Al Jeferson
Jazz Best Shooting Line-ups
1) Mo Williams, Gordon Hayward, Marvin Williams, Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson (57.6% EFG)
2) Jamaal Tinsley, Randy Foye, Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson (57.3% EFG)
3) Jamaal Tinsley, Gordon Hayward, Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson (57.1% EFG)
Jazz Best Defending the Shot Line-ups
1) Jamaal Tinsley, Gordon Hayward, DeMarre Carroll, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter (34.9%)
2) Jamaal Tinsley, Gordon Hayward, Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson (37.7%)
3) Mo Williams, Randy Foye, Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson (40.9%)
Here is my article for ksl.com – The evolution of Paul Millsap – How one game showed his entire evolution
Maintaining the consistency that has been a signature of the Jazz organization for decades the Utah Jazz have exercised the option on Tyrone Corbin’s contract for the 2013-14 season.
Corbin enters his 3rd season as the Utah Jazz head coach but is leading his first ever full season and first ever training camp.
The initial 16 months of Tyrone Corbin’s head coaching career has shown a coach that diligently works at his craft, maintains solid relations with his players and has had his team improve as the season progresses.
Corbin is now signed through 2013-14.
The Thunder trading can teach us a few things about the impact of the new collective bargaining agreement. The Thunder traded James Harden to avoid the new punitive luxury tax.
The new tax makes a team pay $1.50 ever dollar over the tax for the first 5 million over the tax. However, if a team is more than 5,000,000 over the tax they pay $1.75 for each dollar up to 9.999 million and then $2.50 for every dollar from 10 million to 14.999 million and $3.25 for every dollar over 15 million. Moreover, if you are over the tax for three straight years you pay an extra dollar per dollar.
The impact of the new CBA as was intended is that luxury tax is penalizing enough to prevent teams from being willing to pay going over the threshold.
This becomes very important for the Utah Jazz as they try to sign all 4 young players for the core will also dealing with the potential re-signing of 8 different free agents this year.
The Thunder extended Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka making James Harden the man left out. Next year, Durant and Westbrook who both signed something close to the max have a combined 32.4 million salary and up to 36.8 by 2015-16. Add on Serge Ibaka of 12.25 million and the Thunder is at 44.6 million with 3 players.
James Harden wanted the max deal of around 14 million. This would have pushed the Thunder to 58.6 million in 4 players . Add on the ill-advised Kendrick Perkins contract of 25 million over the next three years (this is the real story) and they would have been near 67.5 million for 5 players and thus bordering on the luxury tax.
The only players they would have on their roster are rookie contracts and minimum players . The killer here is they would have needed at least another 8 player almost certainly pushing them over the $80 million number and putting them into near 20 million in luxury tax on top of the payroll and after three years that would be come 30 million of tax or more.
What is unclear to me is what the Thunder planned to do if Harden had agreed to the deal they presented at 52 million over the next 4 years. Starting around 11 million next season they would have still been at 64 million for 5 players.
NOTE – There is a google document to go with this section
The Jazz have some incredible decisions to make in the upcoming years. They have 4 players coming up on extensions and they have 9 players who are free agents.
The year to focus on is 2014-15 when the Jazz will have had to decide what to do with all of the young players. The Jazz should not have any tax issues in 2013-14.
Word around the league is the tax will increase 2 to 3 million a year over the next period of time. In my projections we will be conservative and out it at 2 million a year.
The first thing that has be figured out is how much can you pay the 4 youngsters and then this will allow you know what you can pay the players to surround them.
Durant and Westbrook were max players earning between 15 and 18 million dollars a year. None of the Jazz players look to be max players at this point. Yet, in this off-season from July 1 to October 31st the Jazz will have a chance to sign Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward to extensions.
Recent contracts can give us some idea of what players are going to get paid. Let’s start with Derrick Favors. Roy Hibbert got the max in the off-season at $14 million when he went on the open market and Pacers were forced to match it. Kevin Love also received the max at 14 to 16 million a year. Brook Lopez received a deal from 13 to 16 million. Serge Ibaka got 12 million from the Thunder for 4 years. Atlanta’s Al Horford is earning 12 million a year and Marc Gasol is nearing 15 million, both those contracts were signed before the collective bargaining agreement.
Favors is not at the level of any of those players at this point, but he may be by the end of the season. Moreover. the Jazz need to give him a deal that is good enough that he decides not to go to the open market where someone is likely to spend big time money. Let’s put Favors down near 12 million.
Next on the list is Gordon Hayward. His best comps may be Danilo Gallinari at 10 million a year, Nicholas Batum who is near 11 million a year and keep a close eye on what DeMar DeRozan gets this off-season or as an extension. Let’s put Hayward down near 11 million.
If the Jazz could do this it is a significant difference to have those two players at 23 million rather than the Durant/Westbook combo of 33 million.
Kanter will be the next one on the list. He will need to be signed in the off-season of 2014 from July 1 to October 31st. Kanter is a big and all bigs seem to be earning around 12 million a year as I showed you with Favors.
That places the Jazz at 35 million for three players. This again is far better than the Thunder who were at 45 with three players.
Moreover, all of three of these would not be on the books until 2015-16 giving the Jazz a decent amount of flexibility in the next two years.
If the Jazz can get these three done between 35, they would have 35 million to pay the remaining 11 players on the roster before going over the tax. Of course, if it takes 40 million the Jazz get into Thunder territory very quickly trying to finish the roster with 11 players and 30 million.
I have not forgotten Alec Burks I just believe he may fall into the next tier of decisions. If Burks emerges he is probably somewhere between 7 million and 10 million a year. This is the same place Paul Millsap, Marvin Williams and Mo Williams fall into. Al Jefferson is earning 14 million and some people believe he can get that on the open market this off-season.
When all these salaries kick in is the key here. For 2013-14 the Jazz could re-sign Millsap, Mo and Marvin all around 9 million a year without any problem. Then the Jazz could have each of those players salaries decrease by 7.5% as their belts get tighter.
For 2013-14 the Jazz have room to sign a free agent but any long term deal pushes the Jazz toward the tax in the upcoming years.
In 2014-15 with Hayward and Favors under new deals the Jazz start to walk toward tax issues. If the Jazz re-sign the 3 M’s, Millsap, Mo and Marvin. Coupled with two years of first round picks and the Warriors pick the Jazz would be at 63 million for 11 players.
The Jazz should be able to sign a free agent to a 2 year contract with some cap space in the off-season and more than one if they renounce the rights to some of their major free agents.
All of this is being done with the assumption Al Jefferson is too expensive. However, the Jazz could re-sign Al instead of Millsap and one of either Mo, Marvin or a market free agent and still use the mid-level to get a 4 million dollar a year player with going over the tax.
Things begin to get very tight in 2015-16.
When you add a 12 million dollar a year extension to Kanter and a 8 million a year to Burks the Jazz start running up some huge numbers. If the Jazz extend all 4 and they will be near 44 million in salary for 4 players, then if the Jazz have also re-signed Millsap, Marvin and Mo to three year deals and they have 4 first round picks they are at 72 million for 11 players. The Jazz add two minimum players and they should be able to stay under the tax.
This is actually encouraging. However, if they want to sign Al they would be deep into the tax in 2015-16 if they also sign Mo and Marvin. If Favors is a max extension with Millsap, Mo and Marvin signed the Jazz are at 79 million and over the tax.
As anticipated the Utah Jazz have exercised the option of both 3rd year players, Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward, and both 2nd year players, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks.
All of the players are now signed through the 2013-14 season. Those 4 players and Jeremy Evans are the only players the Jazz have under contract for the 13-14 season. Marvin Williams has a player option for his 2013-14 season.
These moves are not surprising in any fashion. The next step for the Jazz is extension talks for Favors and Hayward starting after the July moratorium, July of 2013. The Jazz have to October 31 2014 to sign Hayward and Favors to extensions.
The 2009 draft class of Tyreke Evans, James Harden, DeMar DeRozen, Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague and Jrue Holliday are in those discussions right now. Blake Griffin is the only player from that class to agree to an extension, he signed a max 5 year deal.
Over the past years 5 players from the 2007 class signed extensions, 6 players from the 2008 class, however this is the first year under the new CBA and it is going to be interesting to see how many players sign between now and next week.
In addition, it is important to watch the salaries players receive in these extensions as it sets the market for next season. If players do not sign extensions they become restricted free agents.
The Jazz have another option year on both Kanter and Burks before heading down the extension road.
One interesting part of the new CBA is each team can designate one player for a 5 year contract rather than a 4 year extension. However, that player must be given the max contract and you can’t designate another player to the 5 year player until the conclusion of the previous deal. In other words, if the Jazz were to give Favors the 5 year max in 2014 they could not give another player the 5 year extension until 2019, as long as Favors was on the roster.
His feet are locked down and the abs workout is underway for Enes Kanter. It is 20 minutes before practice on Wednesday and Kanter is working the weight room with vigor before another pre-season practice in a pre-season that has become a Kanter coming out party.
With an larger than a basketball 12 pound orange heavy ball lifted high above his head with his right hand he fired through numerous decline crunches before switching the ball to his left hand and continuing the spirited workout. Then he moved to the pull bar lifting his 275 pound frame with stunning ease.
It is the off-season weight room that has given Enes Katner the confidence to explode this pre-season looking less and less like a project each day. In the pre-season Kanter has averaged 12 points and 9 rebounds a game. He has shown a wider array of post moves, looked comfortable shooting an outside shot and run the floor with alacrity we had not seen.
However, Tyrone Corbin points out the biggest issue are likely his confidence he is gaining from these performances.
They are true numbers. You may look at he is playing 2nd team guys or guys trying out for teams, but he is working his butt off and what he is doing is real for him. The way he is and the improvement he has made and we will see going forward but we expect the same effort out of him
Key line “they are real for him.” Just 20 years old and finding his way, at times quite publically, in a foreign country confidence is as big an issue for Kanter as any other. Last year, he seemed lost both on the floor and off the floor. The rookies hazing he laughs about today at times seem to wear him down like a school child. Now he belongs. He jokes and laughs and communicates with his teammates in a manner never seen last season.
Confidence without skill and knowledge won’t take Kanter very far. This pre-season he has increased his skill and is playing the game in a manner where Corbin believes the play will translate in the regular season.
He is working hard, running hard, he is getting to spots he is being more patient, he made good passes when he is doubled, as of late they have come down and doubled him as though he wouldn’t pass and he has made some good passes out of there so his vision is getting better, his position is better on the block, he is coming with a sense of purpose, he is coming in their big to get the ball and he is demanding the ball.”
The youthfulness of Kanter can fool you. For all of his comedy and playfulness this is a man taking his craft very seriously. His brand new I-Pad with its pink cover is attached to him, not for Angry Birds, but instead to watch film of his game and opponent’s games. After practice and shoot arounds he is continually meeting with coaches to go over the video and make sure he is watching the correct things and learning how to improve.
The combination of an head driving off-season, new found on floor confidence in the pre-season and a desire to work and improve at all facets of the game is the correct script for the Enes Kanter coming out party to last into the regular season and beyond.