INSIDER – Are the Jazz taking good analytical shots

During training camp this season the Jazz coaching staff tried to make adaptations to the offensive system in order to take more efficient shots.   The analytical influence on the NBA is going strong and more teams are trying to avoid the mid range 2 point shot in exchange for a 3 pointer or a shot at the rim.    More specifically, teams are configuring offenses to create corner 3 opportunities.

Last year the league shot 59% in the restricted area or 1.19 points per shot.  In the paint non restricted area teams shot 39%  and mid range shots were also 39% or .78 pts per shot.  The corner 3 was hit at 39% last year or 1.17 points per shot and 3 pointers above the break were hit at 35% or 1.05 pts per shot.

Therefore, shots in restricted area or 3 points are thought of as good analytical shots. Last year, Houston lead the NBA taking 75% of their shots as good shots.   The Washington Wizards were the lowest at 50.5%.

The Jazz last year took 53.9% of their shots as good analytical shots (33.4% at the rim + 4.7% corner 3’s + 15.7% 3’s above the break).

This year the Jazz are hoping to take more good shots.  However, as you are well aware nothing is going in right now for the Jazz.   The Jazz are just 3 of 33 from corner 3 no other team has made fewer than 7.

However, despite the putrid shooting the Jazz are taking better shots.  This season the Jazz are taking 55.7% of their shots as good analytical shots (up 1.8% from last year).   The Jazz are taking 33.7% at the rim, 5% of shots from the corner 3 and 17% above the break)

This is surprising.  With the Jazz inability to spread the floor because they aren’t making shots I would have suspected they were being forced into more poor shots and that is not the case.

Last year the Jazz were 22nd in the NBA in % of shots that were good analytical shots this year they are 20th.   The Jazz still need to make a move into the top half of the NBA in taking good shots.  I would suspect that will happen as Burke, Williams and Rush are integrated.

jazz shot distrubution

INSIDER – Shootaround Notes

Here are some quick notes from shootaround

* Jazz will start Lucas (3rd start of his career), Hayward (103rd) , Jefferson (695th), Favors  (45th career start) and Kanter (3rd start)

* Jazz will only have Rudy Gobert and Mike Harris as the backups in the front court

* Look for Thunder to go small for 8 to 12 minutes tonight with Durant at the 4.  Will be a key stretch for the Jazz to match- up and deal with a spread floor.  Who guards Durant in this line-up.  Ideally, Marvin Williams but he is not available.

* Scott Brooks had interesting comments about how Hayward and Favors are now the focus of their discussion in shoot around.  ”they will go through an adjustment period but they got a bright future they have are talented and they play hard.  You can never discount hard play, Hayward just goes and attacks on both end of the floor he doesn’t give up an inch.  Those are the type of players you want to build your team around.  As the year goes for them they will get better because they work too hard.”    Brooks does think both Favors and Kanter are going to very good.

* Durant says he plays the game because of the kids in the arena that are wearing his jersey and seeing him play for the first time.   Durant is a wonderful ambassador of the game.  He seems to have it all put together.

* I asked Durant about his early years and he said he wanted to prove he belonged but at some point losing 120 games in two years was more than anyone can handle.

*  Reggie Jackson who is filling in for Russell Westbrook is making his first career regular season start.


INSIDER – Kevin Durant comments give insight to Jazz youth

This week Kevin Durant sat down for a long form interview with Oklahoman writer Darnell Mayberry.  In the interview he shared how his approach to the game has changed over the years.  T

The first paragraph below struck a cord when put in the context of where Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter stand in there careers.

But, first coming into the league, I was a little confused because it’s so many great teams every night. It was no cupcake games like it was in high school and college. Every night, you got to come to play because these are great players. They were all something coming in. And my thoughts coming into the league was, of course, to win, but once I got on the court it was to establish myself. That’s what I thought. Grow as a player and then worry about that.

But now, I’ve played in the All-Star Games; I’ve scored 30 points, 40 points before; had a triple-double before. I feel individually, like stats and stuff, I feel like I did my job with that and I established myself. But it’s about winning championships, and the first thing I got to get out of my head is ‘I.’ It’s like, ‘I want to win a championship.’ It’s not about that because one guy doesn’t win it, two guys don’t win it, three guys don’t win it. So it’s about the whole team, the whole organization winning a championship.”

INSIDER – Favors makes Utah home

Derrick Favors sat on the podium at the Zions Bank Center just 14 days older than Karl Malone when he made his debut for the Jazz as the new cornerstone for the Utah Jazz.

Utah has become home for Derrick Favors.   Favors mom was the first to tell Derrick that Utah was going to be ok.  Now Favors has bought a house in Utah and hopes to spend his career in the beehive state.

More importantly than Utah being home, Favors is now part of the family.  Today, Greg Miller talked about how the caliber of players on and off the floor is an extension of the Miller family.   The young polite southern man Derrick Favors is a now a part of the Miller family and under those expectations.

Speaking of family it was clear that Derrick’s mom still has her influence.  Derrick talks often about how often his mom watches a game and calls him to say get a haircut.   Today Derrick was sporting a brand new haircut.

Dennis Lindsey talked a good deal about the trust factor in negotiations.  The Favors camp felt the Jazz had been true to their word communicating with Derrick and his representation throughout his tenure in Utah.   Interesting to hear this since there has been so much concern that the limited roll over the last few years would sour Favors feeling about being in Utah.

The future talk was present.   Both Steve and Greg Miller referring to  Favors as the first piece in the build toward a championship.  Steve Miller added in the first of many steps. Dennis Lindsey has mentioned on numerous occasions that to be an elite team you must be top 10 defensively and to win you have to be top 5 defensively.   Favors is that piece.

Dennis Lindsey said “We want to keep great people.”   The Jazz locked one up today who has made Utah his home.

INSIDER – The different task at hand for Gordon Hayward

This season the Utah jazz are asking Gordon Hayward to be the primary ball handler and go to guy. Last night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers was a good example of how different a task this is for Hayward this season.

If you look at Gordon Hayward shot chart from last season he was a dominant right side player.  This may have been largely due to Al Jefferson being on the left side of the floor.

gordon last year

However, this season with the ball in his hands defenses will dictate where Gordon Hayward get his shots. If you look at last nights shot chart you an see that many of his shots in a 5 for 16 outing were on the left side of the floor.

gordon last night

Lebron James talked a year ago about the biggest improvement in his game was learning how to get his shots where he wanted to get them. This was after being the go to guy for eight years in the NBA.  The contrast in last year’s shot chart compared to last night’s shot chart is a good example of one of the things Gordon Hayward will experience this season as the go to guy.

INSIDER – How long do you miss with a fractured finger

Tonight the Jazz rookie Trey Burke fractured the index finger on his right (shooting) hand.

Not all fractured fingers are the same but from a search here are the other NBA fractured finger injuries and the time table.  We will know more specifically on Monday about Trey Burke’s timetable.

Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson both seemed to miss no games and played with broken or fractured fingers.  Here are the mere mortals …..

Kyrie Irving in November of 2012 missed from November 18th to December 11th

Manu Ginobili in Jan 2012 missed from Jan 4th to Feb 8th of 2012

Delonte West Jan 2010 missed Jan 23rd to Feb 11th

Delonte West did it again in Feb of 2012 missed Feb 17 to March 29, he had to have a pin put in his finger.

Raymond Felton Dec 2012 missed from Dec 26th to Jan 26th

Roddie Beaubois March 2012 missed from March 18th to the end of the season

Jonas Valanciunas Dec 2012 missed from Dec 21st to Feb 1st his was referred to as a broken finger.

Stephen Jackson  Nov 2012 missed from Nov 21st to Dec 17th

If you look a month from today you get to November 11th and the Jazz will have only played 7 regular season games

Insider – First Day Observations

Here are a few impressions from the first morning of practice.

Today’s morning session was primarily conditioning with a focus on a defensive conditioning. Coach Corbin and his staff did begin to institute some of the early offensive sets with slight variations from years past. Karl Malone was present working with the other coaches and after practice held a session with the Bigs of the far courts working on various moves and positioning.

The talk after practice was about Gordon Hayword’s increased role as a ball handler this season. Coach Corbin talked about altering some of the offensive and defensive sets this year to better match the personnel.

Coach Corbin was really pushing guys today. You could see a bounce in his step and the excitement to be back out on the floor coaching his guys.

Two highlights stood out from the morning practice. Enes Kanter hit 21 of 23 jumpers from 15 feet during one drill. And in the final conditioning drill of the day Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke had a nice little friendly competition be to see who could get to the line first. Both giving huge effort at the close of the conditioning drill.

INSIDER – Utah Jazz and Dennis Lindsey excited about data on steroids

The NBA announced on Thursday that motion tracking cameras will be installed in every NBA arena. An excited Dennis Lindsey called it “data on steroids.”

The Utah Jazz General Manager has extensive background in camera tracking technology. The San Antonio Spurs have been using this technology over the past season while Lindsey worked with the Spurs. Moreover, while working for the Spurs, Lindsey was sent on a camera scouting mission to Europe to investigate how the cameras were being used in European Soccer.

The possibilities are endless, Lindsey says they are only limited by “good ideas and financial resources.” The Jazz need to make numerous decisions on how they will use this new wealth of data. The Jazz could use the standard information that will be supplied by STATS or they could hire their own developers to try to decipher their own findings out of the information.

The exuberance from Lindsey was obvious as he talked about the agreement between the NBA and STATS. Teams will be able to look at players load, how much they run, how fast they run, the average speed as well as fatigue zones and optimal performance models.

Offensively and Defensively the new system can be used in many different forms. The cameras will give a bird’s eye view to each play as well as having the technology for the teams to overlay data on the screen. The bird’s eye perspective will let teams look at how players are guarded, closely or loosely, and they perform in those circumstances. In addition, each spot on the floor will have xy coordinates.

Lindsey admitted that much of this information simply becomes “atta boy coaches” as it reconfirms what coaches have already implemented into their game plans.

Lindsey became tight lipped on some of its specific uses and areas where it can assist the franchise. The key he said was to “make sure the data base is serving you instead of just constantly feeding it.” The data is robust and the ability to see beyond the initial research into what other areas the data is yielding results will be vital to making this information effective.

In its simplest form Lindsey said “anything that helps you auto-mat tracking is helpful.”