INSIDER – How Jazz might not only be able to survive without Mo but prosper

The Jazz loss of Mo Williams for nearly two months hits Jazz fans as a crushing blow to the playoff hopes for the 2012-13 season. Williams was the key off-season pick up for Head Coach Tyrone Corbin in an attempt to transition to a more up tempo offense and a more aggressive, tougher defensive team. Williams injury coupled with the sub 40% shooting of back up point guards Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson makes things look dreary.

However, a case can be made not only for how the Jazz can survive but maybe prosper. Call it the Jason Kidd approach. The scoring point guard is in vogue in the NBA, however it is not the only way to win. For the past few years Jason Kidd lead the Mavericks while being a distributor, team leader and hitting enough outside shots to keep everyone honest.

For the season the Jazz have shot 44.4% from the floor. When Jamaal Tinsley is on the floor for the Jazz they shoot 47.5%, an increase of 3.1%. (this is mind boggling) In addition, the Jazz average 97.8 points per game, if Tinsley were to be on the floor the entire game the Jazz would score 101.1. That is 1.5 points more than any other Jazz regular.

Note: The 3.1% increase from team average maybe the largest in the NBA of any player. More research to follow today

In contrast with Mo Williams on the floor the Jazz shoot 43.9% and with Earl Watson on the floor the Jazz shoot 40.9%.

The simple explanation is probably the most accurate. Tinsley finds players shots. He is the consummate point guard who comes across the half court looking to give his teammates opportunities. His calmness on the floor emanates to all other players on the floor.

Another metric that shows Tinsley’s value is offensive efficiency, pts per 100 possessions. For the season the Jazz offensive efficiency is 103.6. With Tinsley on the floor the Jazz offensive efficiency is 109.2. Putting 109.2 in perspective it would be the 4th best offense in the NBA other than OKC, Miami and New York. The Jazz have 102.9 with Mo Williams on the floor.

Despite being self described as “slow” the Jazz have played very good defense with Jamaal on the floor this year. Many of the Jazz best defensive line-ups include Tinsley and when he is on the floor the Jazz defensive rating is 102.2 compared to a team rating of 104.5 and a rating of 106.7 with Mo Williams on the floor. The Jazz defensive is 103.3 with Earl Watson on the floor. The Jazz have been better defensively with Jamaal and Earl on the floor this year than the team as a whole.

This could be a little misleading since Mo Williams plays against frontline players and with the Jazz lesser defensive bigs, Millsap and Jefferson. Let’s take a deeper dig into this.

Jazz with Mo Wiliams, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson on the floor have a defensive rating of 107.7
Jazz with Jamaal Tinsley, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson on the floor have a defensive rating of 106.5
Jazz with Earl Watson, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson on the floor have a defensive rating of 110.4

The Jazz struggle defensively with Millsap and Jefferson on the floor and the point guard is not going to make a huge difference, but it does look like the uptick on the offensive end gives the Jazz a slight defensive improvement with Tinsley on the floor.

The Jazz offensive when Tinsley plays with Millsap and Jefferson is 110.4 per 100 possessions, contrasting the 104.3 with Mo or 36.5 with Earl.

The Jazz best defensive line-up this year has been Jamaal, Gordon, Marvin, Paul and Al and the 3rd best defensive line-up has Watson at the point one with Burks, Hayward, Favors and Kanter.

Finally the Jazz 3 best 5 man line-ups (at least 40 mins) all involve Jamaal or Earl. The top is the aforementioned Tinsley, Gordon, Marvin, Millsap and Jefferson combo (+28.4 efficiency differential). Followed by Tinsley, Carroll, Hayward, Favors and Kanter (19.1) and Watson, Burks, Hayward, Favors and Kanter (10.6)

It defies logic that losing the centerpiece to the team, Mo Williams, wouldn’t cripple the season. However, a case can be made the Jazz will survive and possibly prosper.

Real thoughts and emotions from the road

Note – I am writing this because I am incapable of focusing on my game preparation and doing nothing is making things worse.

Here I sit sobbing in my hotel room, sobbing for the families, sobbing for the children, sobbing out of fear and sobbing because I can’t go grab my own children and hug them.

All we want is to protect our children. We want our children free of fear. We want our children safe.

Each time we drop our children at school we expect to see them again. Each time any of us moms and dads who travel leaves for another trip we expect to see them again upon our return. Today that didn’t happen for some families in Connecticut. Too often that is not happening.

Somehow distance makes you feel more vulnerable. In a hotel in Phoenix, I feel useless, but what could I really do anyway. I will squeeze my 7 and 10 year old children a little extra tonight at 1 am when I return home and feel very lucky to be able do that and then promptly get on a plane again on Monday to leave for a week. Anyone who has a job that pulls them away from their family asks themselves is this ok, am I doing my duty as a father and husband. These moments make you doubt even more.

It is scary. Our foundation of security is being ripped apart by these dreadful moments. We like lions need to protect our pride. For a group of families in Connecticut without making a single error in their life, in the upbringing of their children, those lives are gone.

The book Generations presented the thesis you can’t view what is taking place in the world unless you view the world in 20 or 30 or 40 year blocks. Look at the world in 1920 and then look at it at in 1950 and then again in 1980 and then again in 2010 to really see what is changing. Looking day to day you miss the major shifts in our world. Look at our world in 1950 and ask what we believed in regards to our security and where our safe places were. Then ask again with year 1980 and ask again about 2010.

That is how you see the world shifting. That is an unnerving look. Something is seriously askew in our country. Violence is more rampant. Mass killings are becoming more common place and anyplace.

We need to address this. I don’t have any idea the answer to what is causing this or how to prevent it. I just know that in hotel room in Phoenix I am broken inside and the foundation that my life rests upon feels far shakier right now than it did this morning.

Please make it stop.

INSIDER – The real issue confronting the Jazz addressed today

For all the good news of Utah Jazz training camp this year there has been a big huge “elephant” in the room that no one has mentioned. Ron Boone has come close on the broadcast when he says “I hope this team has the toughness of last year’s team.

The 2012-13 Utah Jazz have 13 players with legitimate claims to playing time. That can make a locker-room an unhappy place. At back up point guard, someone who has started over 200 nba games is going to be out of the rotation. Depending on the rotation there remains a strong possibility that a top 12 draft pick could see limited minutes for some period of time.

This all by itself can derail a team, but add in 7 players in the final year of their contract and it could get really tense. The Jazz have built a roster of high level character guys. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap set the tone being amazingly unselfish. Truly this is a special group with expection. However, they all have significant egos and pride or they never would have made it to the NBA.

Thus far, all has been perfect. But no one has lost a minute of playing time, a shot at the basket or a basketball game.

Today Coach Corbin seemed to go out of his way to bring up the real issue that is going to determine this team as opening day grows ever closer.

There will be things we look at for quite a while , what gives us the best chance to win going forward. Combinations may change , we might change the starting lineup here and the there, we just want to play, we want the do the best to step forward and play. Everyone is going to get minutes we are a deep team, guys are going to have runs where they are going well and someone is struggling and we change the rotation to help us win.

A few moments later Corbin took it a step farther, when asked what he was still waiting to see.

We have minutes and how guys are going to respond to and staying focused on the prize of winning games and getting better as a team and when all the other dynamics get into it, about minutes and shots and points and that stuff and outside influences and can we stick together and keep fighting together thorough tough times and if someone is going good and somebody else minutes are struggling or down a little bit staying with it, keep working and fighting through and being ready.

For all the other talk this will be what determines how this team develops. The good news is Coach Corbin showed last year to be very adept at dealing with minutes confusion and individual agendas as he drove this team to the playoffs finishing the year far stronger than they started.

Question 18 of 20 Questions to Jazz Camp – When does the “Core 4” take over for the Jazz?

Today is question 18 of 20 questions to Jazz camp. If you have a question please submit it to me at or via twitter @lockedonsports or facebook Locked on Sports

QUESTION 18 – When does Jazz team become team of the Core 4?

I know people love the idea of the Core 4, Hayward, Favors, Burks and Kanter, but I am not sure I see this the same way as everyone else. I see the Jazz as a playoff team with Millsap, Jefferson, etc plus a collection of young players who are developing.

To buy into the Core 4 you have to believe those players and their development is more important than anything else around the team. The Jazz have done nothing as a franchise that shows that to be true. They have held the core of the playoff team together for this season and added three interesting pieces in Mo, Foye and Marvin that compliment both the veterans and the young players.

If the “Core 4”earn their minutes and become a better option to help a playoff team get better they will get their time on the floor. When that takes place it won’t be about developing for the future it will be about being better today.

Don’t misunderstand, the Jazz are interested in those 4 players improving, getting better and being a larger part of wins. What I don’t believe is they value those players more than the other players on the roster.

At this moment the Jazz roster has 14 players who are all viewed as pieces of a puzzle that is intended to improve off of last year’s season.

One of the keys to last season’s success was in the most tumultuous of season’s the players held together and the team continued to battle throughout the season from game 1 to game 66. Tyrone Corbin deserves huge credit for this, but it also had a lot to do with how the team approached the combination of veterans and young players. Every move was about winning and players didn’t have a lot of room for gripping about opportunities or being wronged.