The Triple Team: Three Thoughts on Jazz at Mavericks

October 30th, 2014 | by Dan Clayton
Favors led Utah in a losing effort. (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

Favors led Utah in a losing effort. (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Jazz suffered a wire-to-wire beatdown in Northern Texas. Here’s your recap in the form of a rare Thursday1 Triple Team.

1. Utah lost this one early, and on the defensive end.

Dallas scored early, often and without prejudice. The ball zipped around a bunch of dazed defenders as seven Mavs cleared a dozen points, led by 21 apiece from Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons. The Mavs shot 55% for the game, which is bad enough, but that doesn’t begin to cover how easy they had it in the game’s early minutes.

Dallas’s first miss didn’t come until the 6:50 mark. Think about that: more than five minutes of perfect basketball. By the time they’d miss a second time, the score was 24-13 and the Jazz were essentially done for the evening. The lead would balloon 30, and the Mavs pretty much coasted from there.

There were plenty of culprits, but once again Enes Kanter got an early hook. He got pulled at the 7:45 mark2 after two straight plays where he failed to get back to Dirk. Now, I didn’t see the Jazz’s scouting report before the game, but I imagine it probably said something about not giving that guy daylight on his jumpers. He came back later in the quarter and got juked so bad by the German that one of Dallas’ TV guys said, “That’s just not fair.” He logged only 20 total minutes on Thursday after his 22-minute opener, and that has to be at least mildly concerning after all the talk of him blossoming in a new scheme.

Not that anybody else on the team should be casting the first stone. Dallas’ super quick perimeter players were forcing hard commits by Derrick Favors3, and that ended badly more than once. Both Alec Burks and Rodney Hood got in foul trouble. Trey Burke couldn’t stay in front of the guards. It was just a bad defensive performance all around.

Utah did make things mildly interesting in the second half when they finally started hitting outside shots. After an abysmal first half from deep4, they hit 56% after the break. But the damage was done: Dallas has too much talent to fall from 30 ahead.

2. These first two games have seemed like extended preseason a bit.

Jazz coach Quin Snyder hasn’t stopped tinkering with lineups just because exhibition season is over. Some of this is probably because he’s been searching for solutions while down big to good teams, but he experimented a lot on Thursday.

For example, Dante Exum played about six minutes alongside Burke tonight. Joe Ingles5 got an extended first half run, just days after joining the team. When things weren’t working, Snyder turned to Ian Clark and Steve Novak, essentially stretching his first half rotation to 12 guys. That’s a lot. And he left his starters in pretty late in a game that was well outside the rule of 15, clearly trying to get in some valuable reps.

Perhaps the best indication that Snyder was experimenting was the lineup that closed the first half: Burke, Exum, Hood, Novak and Rudy Gobert. Clearly tinkering.

It’s probably OK to use some of these early games as lineup laboratories. Everyone is still learning each other, and the eleventh hour roster shakeup further complicated the process. Some of these November contests may be “nothing to lose” opportunities to test things out.

3. Wing battle.

Since I petulantly wrote over the summer about how badly the Parsons-Gordon Hayward comparisons bother me, you can imagine that Dallas games have a fun little battle-within-the-battle component for me.

To be clear, I don’t dislike Parsons (or his game) at all. But it’s clear that he’s never had a role even close to what Hayward’s was in 2013-14, so it’s a pretty empty exercise to compare them statistically and conclude anything on an apples-to-apples level. I’m pretty stubborn on this one, and so far with Dallas, Parsons looks like he’ll still be a tertiary option/pressure release valve type of player. Comparing that to a guy who had to (and still has to, to a degree) run his team just doesn’t work. I think it’s a lazy comp made for visual reasons only. Yeah, you know what I’m saying.

So how did the duel go on Thursday?

Hayward had 16 points on 9 shots. Parsons had 21 on 16 shots, but actually was sitting on 13 points and 13 shots until he ripped eight straight in the garbagiest of garbage time6. Gordon had six assists and four rebounds, Parsons had two and seven.

We’ll call it a push statistically for this installment of CP-vs-GH, but again: Parsons has the luxury of playing alongside a first ballot Hall-of-Famer and a slew of very competent handlers and passers. Hayward has to create the majority of his stuff, and a decent portion of the team’s.

Et cetera, et cetera…

  • JazzRank is complete through #2, so by process of elimination you can figure out who SCH has as the Jazz’s best player. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle agrees. In a scouting session on Mavs TV prior to the game, he referred to Hayward as such and talked about how difficult the Jazz are to play against when Hayward gets going.
  • Favors look solid, except that he got forced into a lot of sucker’s choices on defense. 17 & 11. Also, Gobert had a rebound for every minute and a half. Insane.
  • The Jazz took care of business from the line: 89%.
  • Trevor Booker was a nice bright spot in the second half, but a lot of what he offered didn’t show up on the stat sheet. He was really up on Dirk and he hit some threes. Minutes were spread thin enough among Snyder’s 12 guys7 that Booker only got 19, but they were good minutes.
  • Exum’s form from three is looking much better in terms of stance, knees, and arc. He just needs to clean up the release a little bit. His hand doesn’t flick straight, so most of his shots catch rim, slightly off center.
  • Speaking of threes, Burke continues to fade on every single long-range shot, even when it seems unnecessary. He was 2-for-6 from three tonight, 6-for-15 overall.
  • It could be a lot worse. Right, LA?
Dan Clayton

Dan Clayton

Dan covered Utah Jazz basketball for more than 10 years, including as a radio analyst for the team’s Spanish-language broadcasts from 2010 to 2014. He now lives and works in New York City, but contributes regularly to Salt City Hoops and BBALLBreakdown.
Dan Clayton

One Comment

  1. cw says:

    I agree with you about roles but the Hayward/Parsons is a interesting one. I THINK Parsons would have been worse on last years Jazz, but I think Hayward would have been worse on the Rockets becasue he would have had to play spot up Parson’s role. I think they both would provide similar value this year on each others teams now that Hayward seems to be fading back into the third option. Their defense is a wash so, going by past offensive performance, I think I would take Parsons, becasue a stretch 3/4 is more valuable than a utility infielder. That would change if Hayward could consistently make three 3s per night and/or actually took over a big chunk of running the team, which means not just distributing the ball but taking on the burden of making shots or forcing fouls when needed. Things that Burke tries to do and sometimes succeeds at. Being the offensive leader.

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