A Basketball game is made up of both offense and defense. In this article I am just going to address their offense because defense is more reactionary and thus more difficult to constructively critique.
Right now the Utah Jazz are 19-20 on the season and they are in tenth place in the Western Conference. They are 2 games out of the playoff picture and 7.5 games behind the first place Denver Nuggets, who are also one of their biggest division rivals. Up till now the Jazz have shot 46% from the field (ranked #11), average 44.3 rebounds per game (ranked #15), and dish out 24.9 assists per game (ranked #9). Their offense is ranked 17th in the league. They are in the bottom half of the league offensively.
Last season after the new year, the Jazz won 32 of their games and only lost 13. I would love to see the Jazz play comparable to that again this season and not only get to the playoffs but enter the playoffs with home court advantage.
So how can they do that? One thought I have had during the course of this season on how the Jazz can improve their game offensively mainly revolves around their game-plan. After watching the first 43 games this season its apparent that their plan every game is to look for a good shot from behind the 3-point arc. They seem to prioritize those long distance shots over closer, higher quality shots. This season they are taking 32.3 3-pt shots a game which is up 2.7 from their average of 29.6 shots per game last season (2017-2018). In 2016-2017 the Jazz averaged 26 3 point shots a game which was 2.1 shot attempts more than the previous 2015-2016 in which they took 23.9 attempts. They are shooting more and more from outside the arc.
Utah has a few players who have great touch from distance. The 3 players who have the highest shooting percentages are:
Kyle Korver. So far this season, counting his numbers from both his time in Cleveland and in Utah he has taken 141 attempts and made 59 of them for a 3pt percentage of .418.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) December 28, 2018
Joe Ingles. Ingles has taken 215 attempts so far this season and made 79 of them. Shooting a percentage of 37%
Caption this 📸 pic.twitter.com/5c2iipMMBC
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) January 5, 2019
Jae Crowder. So far this season, Jae has made 82 3-pointers and taken a total of 233 of them. He has shot at a clip of 35%. As he spends more time in the Utah Jazz system and gets more comfortable, his numbers are continually going up. Jae Crowder has become an offensive weapon.
📹| Relive the best moments from our 26-point win over the Cavs!
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) January 5, 2019
There have been several games this season where the Jazz shoot a lot of 3s and shoot a high percentage and when the game very handily. An example of this is the game on December 29, 2018 when they beat the New York Knicks 129-97 and went 47% from behind the arc. They do have good shooters who can drain a 3 pointer seemingly with ease.
But reality is that that players are aiming and shooting a basketball at least 23 feet 9 inches away into a hoop that is 18 inches in diameter. Because of the laws of physics, the shooter is probably going to miss it a lot more often than they are going to make it.
I think the Jazz should focus more on getting as close to the rim as possible on every offensive possession and kick it out when they have a good shooter set up for a set shot instead of settling for pull-up, off-balance jump shots (which, as I have watched the games, they seem to do much to often with plenty of time remaining on the shot clock) from far away from the basket. The closer the shot is, the higher chance it has going in. I am not saying they need to stop taking 3s. I am just saying that a large portion of the shots from 3 land that they do take aren’t a quality shot. If they trimmed away that portion from their total number of shots and focused more on taking better, higher quality shots from distance, they would shoot an even higher percentage and have a lot less empty possessions.
Now I am not present during their practices and team meetings. I don’t know what is said behind the scenes. All I know is how the Jazz perform during games and what the players and coaches say during interviews with the press. So for all I know the coaches are telling the players to do things differently than how the players are actually doing but hopefully that’s not the case because a basketball team includes the coaches as well as the players.
I am excited to watch the Jazz finish this season. Since Quin Snyder took the reins, his team has a track record of starting out slow and finishing the season out strong.
Quin Snyder is the coach that looks most like he could have been a villain in "Batman: TAS". pic.twitter.com/Gr5A8Mx56T
— Garion Thorne (@GarionThorne) January 2, 2019