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.



TIP OFF – December 2nd – NBA Realignment, Gobert impact and Jazz v. Nuggets

Utah Jazz radio voice and Jazz NBA Insider David Locke looks at the NBA 5 and then digs deep into the Jazz wild game with the Nuggets

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Gobert’s defense, Jazz fight and the process

  • The signature of this Utah Jazz team is they comeback and fight. Down by 22 and being ran off the floor, the Jazz put on a furious rally before falling short by one play here or there.
  • Lots of moments to look back at and wonder about or be upset about. Trey Burke drove to the basket in a fast break in a tie game and the ball went out of bounds (originally called off the Nuggets but overturned ruled to be off the Jazz). The killer is that Burke was obviously fouled on the play when you looked at the replay but the rules don’t allow the officials to go back and call the foul—they can only look at what they are reviewing and the ball never touched a Nugget player.
  • Arron Afflalo was called for a “Flagrant 2″ foul on Alec Burks going to the basket and was ejected. During the raucous that followed, Enes Kanter came to Alec’s defense and went after Afflalo a bit. Nice to see. With the play clearly stopped but no official timeout, Jazz trainer Gary Briggs went on the floor to check on Alec Burks.  Unfortunately, the rules state that if the game has not been stopped the trainer can’t come out on the floor or it is a technical foul. No one’s fault on this but the one point the Nuggets got on that technical changed the entire complexion of the game down the stretch.
  • Ty Lawson ended up hitting the game-winner on one of the best defensive possessions of the year by the Jazz. They denied the entire play, held strong with rotations and forced the Nuggets into a shot-clock prayer. It went in. A lucky shot.
  • The problem on the night is the Jazz were trying to come back from a 22-point deficit after a disastrous stretch when the starters were on the bench. This team is built for the next generation of Jazz players to take over and become the team’s leaders. However, it leaves the Jazz with a really thin bench and that showed again tonight. The Jazz led the game 21-18 and went to the bench, and over the next 12 minutes got outscored 38-13.
  • The Jazz have to learn two things. How hard they need to play to be successful.  First, they are learning how to be aggressive. Quin is pushing them to be more and more aggressive, and I’m not sure they really understand what that is. The second thing is how to stem the tide when things are going wrong. Right now, when the game starts to get away, this team hasn’t learned how to regain control the game and stop the other team’s run.
  • Hayward had 11 points in the fourth quarter. He ‘s scoring 78% of his fourth-quarter baskets unassisted. These are big-time plays. Alec stepped up with four fourth-quarter rebounds.
  • Rudy Gobert changed the game defensively tonight. The Nuggets shot 19-for-49 (38.7%) when Rudy was on the floor and 23-for-38 (60.5%) when he was on the bench.
  • Quin had another moment. He pulled Gobert and Kanter off the floor in the third quarter and laid into them. He was furious and Gobert was fighting back a bit trying to explain himself. The Jazz were down 14 at the time and Quin put the two of them back in the game immediately afterward, and it ignited the rally. The best part was that Gobert and Kanter sat at the scorers table talking about what they need to do better.
  • Gordon Hayward has as many games of 25 or more points this year (7) as he had all of last season.
  • Lots has to come together for this team. It’s a slow process. It’ not going to suddenly click one night or one week, but tonight was a positive part of the process.

POSTCAST – Locke and Boone recap Utah’s battle vs. Denver

The Utah Jazz radio team of David Locke and Ron Boone recap Utah’s loss to the Nuggets.




TIPOFF – December 1 – Hello December! Where do we stand? Plus the NBA 5

How did the Jazz do in the opening month of the season? And today’s NBA 5 is dominated by the Western Conference.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Clippers dominate the Jazz

  • Very impressive night for the Los Angeles Clippers. On the seventh game of a road trip, they came out like a ball of fire and took the game from the Utah Jazz from the very beginning. The Clippers took a 35-15 lead in the first quarter and the game was never in doubt.
  • Utah’s defensive game plan was to keep Blake Griffin on the perimeter and force him to hit the mid-range jumper. This makes great sense. Chris Paul is on fire, shooting 61% on the road trip. Blake is only a 39% jump shooter and it keeps your big men out of foul trouble. However, in reality it worked the exact opposite. Blake came out and hit four straight jump shots and the Clippers were rolling, never to be stopped.
  • Utah’s defensive rebounding to start the night was dreadful. Four of the Clippers’ first five misses were turned into offensive rebounds and scores. The Clippers only had two empty possessions in the first 10 minutes of the game.
  • Defense continues to be a real issue for the Jazz. It’s not clear what five-man group the Jazz could put on the court that could defend and score enough to stay on the floor.
  • Gordon Hayward went over 30 for the fourth time this season. He had only scored 30 four times coming into the season. His second quarter was awesome. 20 points in the second quarter to will the Jazz back into the game. He hit on 11 of his 18 shots and finished with 30 points.
  • Chris Paul was +33 tonight. In the 14 minutes he was on the bench, the Clippers were -17
  • Trevor Booker had a nice night: 15 points and 9 rebounds.
  • Rodney Hood returned to action. He really helps the pace of play. He did not make a shot in six attempts.
  • The Jazz simply couldn’t handle the Clippers defensively when Chris Paul was on the floor. He toyed with them. He worked his way back to the middle, blowing up the entire defensive scheme and negating Utah’s entire channeling system. The trick here is once Paul gets to the middle by curling back under the pick, then the strong and weak sides are hard to decipher and the defensive schemes get all messed up.
  • The Jazz have three straight at home this week and they simply need a win or two to help teaching. This is not a season that is going to be dictated by wins and losses. It is about developing and progressing, but it’s hard to do with any positive feedback.

POSTCAST – Locke and Boone recap Utah’s loss to the Clippers

The Utah Jazz radio team recaps Utah’s performance against the Clippers.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Thunder strike down on the Jazz

  • Tough night for the Jazz. A good start for the Jazz and then the Thunder upped the ante defensively and the Jazz couldn’t figure out how to respond. Gordon Hayward said it best after the game when teams get physical they have to be giving something up, but the Jazz haven’t figured out what that is and how to take advantage of the physical play.
  • So why is that? I don’t have an answer, but here are a few ideas. My first guess is confidence. This team has not had a lot of good moments together, and so when things start to go wrong they aren’t sure how to react.
  • My next guess is time together. They don’t have the relationships on how to react as a unit on the floor. Most times are new experiences and they don’t have a track record on how to get through things.
  • Third is talent. Somethings breaking that kind of pressure is one guy making plays and busting the defense, and we don’t have that guy. Hayward tries to will the team and he is becoming better and better each time, but to survive, this group has to play together. They have to make plays together and that gets back to the first two issues.
  • The Jazz scored 25 points in the first 8:57 of the game and 50 points in the next 36  minutes. Once they lost their way, the Thunder wouldn’t relent and the Jazz couldn’t find a rhythm.
  • The hustle plays that ignited the Jazz in the game against the Bulls were not there tonight. In fact, the opposite happened. The Thunder made those plays and gained those extra possessions.
  • The defensive breakdowns were unreal. Tough offensive nights with the current inexperience are going to happen. Somehow, this team has to learn that when the offense breaks down the defensive effort has to intensify. This is the ultimate defense has to create the offense. However, when the defense breaks down and you are taking the ball out of the net, the opposing defense is set for each possession.
  • Alec Burks’ +/- stats are a little disconcerting. He was -18 tonight and the other starters were ok. Hawyard was +2, Kanter was +1, Favors was -4 and Burke was -7. The reason it is disconcerting is that in last four games Burks +/- is -22, -7,-12 and -18. So in the last 124 minutes he has been on the floor the Jazz have been outscored by 59 points and when he has been on the bench the team is +17.
  • The Jazz bench scored 3 points. That is the biggest difference between a championship/playoff caliber team and a developing roster. On developing teams, benches are built for the young prospects to play and the bench to support them. On championship/playoff teams, the bench is built to win games.
  • Here’s the major issue for the Jazz and the rotation. In the 12 minutes Gordon Hayward was on the bench, the Jazz scored 12 points. That’s 48 points for a game!!!! In the 36 minutes he was on the floor, the Jazz scored 70 points.  Still not great, but that’s an average of 23 points per a quarter.
  • The Jazz need to find another player to play with the bench players and be able to score. I can promise you Quin is working hard on different options and equations to make this work, but it’s tough. Not a lot of easy answers to this one. Does Danté come in early for Trey so Trey can play with second unit? Do Danté and Joe come in so Alec and Trey or Alec and Gordon can play with second unit? I’ve always admired how Frank Vogel was able to leave four starters on the floor for huge amount on minutes each night, but I’m not sure how you do that with this crew. Quin had four starters on the floor for 30 minutes tonight. Hard to do much more than that.
  • The Starters were on the floor together for 23 minutes, and in those 23 minutes the Jazz were outscored 48-47. The other 25 minutes were the issue. In the 30 minutes the Jazz had at least four starters on the floor, the Jazz were -2. In the other 18 minutes it was -13.
  • Gordon Hayward is having a great month of November, and in the past he has struggled early in the season and gotten better. 24 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals. I’m sure he’ll want to talk about the 8 turnovers and 7 missed free throws as making it a bad night, but he carried a huge burden tonight.
  • Jazz coaches talk negative plays. The Jazz allowed 21 points off turnovers and 18 second-chance points. Those accounted for 39 of the Thunder’s 97 points.
  • Bad night. It was the Thunder’s bench crew’s final chance to show their value before Russell returns, and KD is right around the corner—and they were impressive.