SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is a popular planning method whereby an organization assesses its own characteristics as well as its situation, be that within a market or professional sports league. What follows is my own SWOT analysis of the Jazz at the conclusion of the 2015-16 NBA season. A summary of the findings are available at the end of this post.
Major Strength (0): Provides a competitive advantage nearly every game, regardless of competition.
Strength (5): Provides a competitive advantage in most games against most competition.
- 58.7% FG allowed (9th in the league) on 26 FGA/gm in the restricted area (8th)1
- 37.7% FG allowed (5th) on 12 FGA/gm (15th) in the paint outside the restricted area
- Assets: Gobert (41 FG% at rim), Withey (43.1%), and Favors (47.4%) combined for 10.2 blocks per 100 possessions
- Projection: Improvement if Withey receives more minutes, especially if that allows Favors to play more exclusively at power forward
- 11.3 ORB per 100 possessions (7th)
- 1.07 points per possession on ORB (tied 12th)
- Assets: Four players with ORB% above 10 (Gobert, Booker, Favors, Withey)
- Liabilities: Lyles 4.8 ORB per 100 possessions
- Projection: Diminishment given Lyles’ likely increasing role
- 77.7 DREB% (tied 7th)
- Assets: Gobert 27.3 DREB% (9th)
Midrange Shooting (eight to 16 feet)
- 41.3% (11th) on 13.1 FGA (7th)
- Assets: Mack 46.6%, Lyles 44.6%, Hayward 44.1%
- Liabilities: Gobert 33.3%, Burks 33.3%, Favors 39.7%
- Projection: Improvement from Favors, who should concentrate on expanding his range after jumping 12 percentage points in FG% from 5-9 feet, and Hood, via greater consistency
- Only five players with a USG% of 20 or over
- 354.8 passes/gm (1st)
- Assets: 13 players 26-years-old or younger; Snyder’s egalitarian system
- Liabilities: Exum’s and Burks’ nonparticipation with team due to injury
- Projection: Improved chemistry as young players gain experience together
Neither Strength nor Weakness (9): Provides neither a significant advantage or disadvantage over average NBA competition.
Scoring at the Rim
- 57.8% (17th) on 28 FGA within five feet
- Assets: Favors 67% on 373 FGA
- Liabilities: Burke 47.1% on 136 FGA
- Projection: Improved efficiency with a Exum/Mack/Neto rotation at point guard
Three Point Shooting
- 34% (20th) on 15.9 FGA (24th) above the break
- 37.9% (18th) on 4 FGA (3rd) right corner
- 41.6% (5th) on 3.8 FGA (4th) left corner
- Assets: Burks 40.5% on 2.5 FGA, Lyles 38.3% on 1.6 FGA
- Liabilities: Favors + Gobert 0.1 3PA/gm
- Projection: Improved efficiency and volume with Lyles’ likely new role
- 354.8 passes/gm (1st)
- 5.3% AST to Pass (30th) and 7.2% AST to Pass adjusted (30th)
- Liabilities: No player with AST% of 30 or more
Defending the Three
- 34.6% allowed (14th) on 15.8 FGA (3rd) above the break
- 38.6% allowed (14th) on 3.1 FGA (19th) right corner
- 39.4% allowed (24th) on 3.2 FGA (15th) left corner
- Assets: Hood’s opponents -3.5% from their season average
- 0.99 points per possession (21st) and 51.7 eFG% (22nd) defending spot up shooters
- 1.14 points per possession (2nd) and 58.2 eFG% (1st) defending cuts
- Assets: Help defense at the rim in Gobert, Favors, and Withey
- Liabilities: Perimeter defenders Burke, Ingles
- Projection: Improvement with the return of Dante Exum
- 14.8 TO created per 100 possessions (14th)
- 8.1 STL per 100 possessions (15th)
- 12.4 opponent fast break points per 100 possessions (10th)
- 16.9 opponent points off turnovers (22nd)
- Liabilities: Mack 4.6 TO per 100 possessions
- Jazz players run 17.14 miles per game (4th)
- Players average defensive speed of 3.89 (6th)
- Only the Jazz, Pistons, and Heat had four starters play 31 or more minutes per game, and the Jazz are the only team that did not add one of these players at the trade deadline
- 14 – 28 record in games within five points with five minutes to play
- Assets: Hayward 36.2 min/gm (5th), Hood 32.2 (53rd), Favors 32.0 (60th), Gobert 31.7 (63rd)
- Liabilities: At four combined positions, the bench played only 31% of available minutes
- Projection: Improved stamina to close games due to an improved bench lessening the minute burden on starters
- Coachable and competitive players
- Lack of confidence from experience
- Lack of offensive alpha personality
- Assets: Gobert’s and Booker’s edge
- Liabilities: Hayward and Favors lack of vocal aggression
Weakness (7): Presents a competitive disadvantage in most games against most competition.
Free Throw Shooting
- 74.4% (24th) on 24.3 FTA per 100 possessions (10th)
- Assets: Hood (86%) and Favors (70.9%) both improving their percentages
- Liabilities: Gobert (56.9%) decreasing his percentage, including 52.2% in the last five minutes of games within five points
- 2.9% of plays create a shot off a screen (30th)
- 7.7% of plays involve a dribble handoff (1st) but only 37.4% result in a score (26th)
- 18% of plays result in a scoring opportunity for the ball handler in the pick and roll (10th) but only 37.5% result in a score (19th)
Off-Ball Player Motion
- 9.3% of plays create offense from a cut (3rd) but only 57.9% result in a score (28th) while 8.1% result in a turnover (29th)
- 2.9% of plays create a shot off a screen (30th)
- Assets: Favors 1.26 points per possession on cuts (232 possessions)
- Liabilities: Hayward (62 possessions used via cut) and Hood (24 possesses used via cut)
- Projection: Improvement as experience helps players capitalize on a higher percentage of cutters
- Only 10.5% of Jazz possessions (29th) resulting in turnovers 14.1% of the time (25th)
- eFG% of 62.9 (5th)
- Assets: Hayward 1.31 points per possession in transition
- Liabilities: Mack turnover percentage of 24.6
- Projection: Improvement with Burks’ return and Mack attending training camp
Clutch Offense (final five minutes of games within five points)
- 41.9% FG (11th)
- 29.8% 3P (18th)
- 38.1 FTA per 100 possessions (23rd) and 69.9% FT (27th)
- 103.5 OffRtg (19th)
- Assets: Players shooting 50% plus—Favors and Burks
- Liabilities: Players shooting 43% or worse—Hayward, Hood, Gobert, Mack; Hayward 4.9 TO per 100 possessions
- 25th defending isolation
- 6th defending the ball handler in pick and roll
- 21st defending post ups
- Liabilities: Opponent shooting within six feet of the rim—Mack +9.9%, Hood +5.5%, Hayward +2.5%
- Projection: Improvement with return of Exum
Major Weakness (2): Presents a disadvantage nearly every game, regardless of competition.
Clutch Defense (last five minutes of games within five points)
- 121.3 DefRtg (28th)
- 70.6 DREB (28th)
- 48% OppFG (29th)
- 14 – 28 record
- 15.8 TO per 100 possessions (27th)
- 11.2% Isolation TO frequency (27th)
- 17.3% pick and roll ball hander TO frequency (19th)
- Liabilities: (TO per 100 possessions) Mack 4.6, Neto 3.8, Hayward 3.6
Last year’s Jazz exhibited five competitive strengths (no major strengths) compared to seven competitive weaknesses and two major weaknesses.
Given likely developments, next season should see some degree of improvement in the team’s rim protection, midrange shooting, chemistry, scoring at the rim, three point shooting, off-ball defense, stamina, transition offense, and on-ball defense.
It is also likely to see some degree of diminished capability in the team’s offensive rebounding.
1) Address major weaknesses (clutch defense, ball handling) through training camp, player development, and coaching focus. These weaknesses are unlikely to be improvable through free agency or the draft and so must be conditioned from within.
2) Embrace a roster with three rim protectors. Withey projects as an above-average rim protecting center off the bench (per 100 possessions: 16 pts, 12.5 reb, 4 blk, 51.1% FG, 76% FT). The benefits of keeping a shot blocker on the floor at all times, and whenever possible pairing either Gobert or Withey with Favors at power forward, can offer the team a distinctive, and perhaps unique, advantage in a small ball league. The option of Lyles off the bench allows for flexibility in particular matchups.
3) Emphasize entry passes to Favors in the deep post as a regular part of the motion offense. This can be done through dives into the post after setting screens and after cuts rather than by traditional post ups, which stop the ball. This should improve the productivity of passing as well as scoring at the rim.
4) Improve the bench via free agency, especially by targeting a defensive specialist at the wing.
1) Roster disruption from integration of Exum and Burks.
2) The possibility of injury-prone players.
3) Opposing rosters with smaller, more mobile bigs trying to take advantage of Gobert, Favors, and Withey.
4) Intense competition for free agents with all teams flush with cap space as the new CBA goes into effect.
5) Decreasing patience of fans and potentially players following a multi-year rebuild outside the playoffs.
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