The Triple Team: Three Thoughts on Jazz vs. Blazers 12/9/2013

December 9th, 2013 | by Andy Larsen
The Jazz, as demonstrated in this photo, often didn't have a lot of talent on the floor. Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

The Jazz, as demonstrated in this photo, often didn’t have a lot of talent on the floor. Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

1. Surprisingly subversive tweets from Jazz players and parents tonight.

With the frontcourt of Richard Jefferson, Mike Harris, and Andris Biedrins starting the 4th quarter tonight, Alec Burks not getting playing time in crunch time after leading the team in scoring, and Rudy Gobert’s DNP-CD, there was much consternation surrounding the team, especially on the Twitterverse. Jazz Twitter, even nationally, is well known for its slightly kooky opinions, and general tendency for overreaction.

That being said, typically reaction does not come from personalities so close to the team. Brandon Rush, also the recipient of a DNP-CD, responded this way when he was asked why he didn’t play (Note: the tweet has since been deleted, hence the text only format below):


Then, both of Trey Burke’s parents got in the action. Trey’s mother Ronda started by calling for the rookie French center Rudy Gobert to receive playing time over Andris Biedrins and whatever Biedrins is at this point of his career:

Then Benji, Trey’s father and agent, got into the mix, denigrating the Jazz’s 3rd quarter performance and the overall veteran-heavy strategy:


The Jazz’s PR department has been very quick to stop these sorts of things on Twitter in the past: Enes Kanter was told by the team to become more professional on Twitter after an incredibly entertaining (and very harmless) summer of 2012. Sensitive player tweets have been taken down before, and I’m sure Rush has already been talked to about this one. That being said, its not clear what they’d be able to do about Burke’s parents’ tweets.

Furthermore, if Burke feels as his parents do about Gobert (which isn’t an unreasonable conclusion, especially given the production level of Biedrins), that may lead to some friction in the future between Trey and his coach in his rookie year. Since his return from injury, Burke has probably been Utah’s best player, and this could mean some turmoil in Jazzland. This is especially worrying for a franchise which was fundamentally, drastically altered 3 years ago when the star PG and coach clashed. That being said, upon the return of either Marvin Williams or Derrick Favors, the issue of Gobert’s playing time is probably quickly put to rest.

2. Jazz transition offense is worrisome.

NBA teams should just be better at transition than this, and if the Jazz had been, they would have been in a position to win tonight’s game. Utah shot just 2 for 9 in 13 fast break opportunities, going to the line just once and turning the ball over three times. Some of this was just missed shots: Burke, Jefferson, and Hayward all had open missed transition threes, for example. But Jefferson also carelessly turned the ball over twice, and Diante Garrett probably forced shots. Had the Jazz converted these opportunities at their usual rate of 1.04 PPP (25th in the league), they would have had 7 more points tonight: not quite the difference, but certainly enough to put the outcome in doubt.

The Jazz aren’t terribly athletic as a whole right now: only Burks, Evans, and Hayward really deserve that adjective of those active. That hurts their fast break potency, and means the team relies on overpassing and forced shots in transition. Tonight, when the transition opportunities fell to the other players, they disappointed.

3. That being said, this wasn’t a bad performance by the Jazz.

Given the negativity in the Jazz community right now, and the points above, it’d be easy to lose track of that this was a pretty respectable game for the Jazz. Perhaps the primary reason the Jazz were beaten tonight was Aldridge’s dominance over Jeremy Evans. Evans fought hard, but in the end, Aldridge is just too skilled and too big for Evans, who has shown an ability to be a rotation player but certainly not a starter. Corbin even tried hiding Evans on Lopez for a while, thus leaving the bigger Kanter to guard Aldridge. Then, it was Lopez who bullied Evans effectively.

Out of the 9 players who played tonight for Utah, only Gordon Hayward played more than 20 MPG last season. Mike Harris, Diante Garrett, and Trey Burke weren’t in the league. Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins were reasonably benched in Golden State for their poor-to-horrendous play, and Evans, Kanter, and Burke only played limited roles for the Jazz last season. That’s a lot of unproven talent to play in an NBA game against the Western Conference’s best record.

Andy Larsen

Andy Larsen

Andy Larsen is the Managing Editor of Salt City Hoops, the ESPN TrueHoop affiliate for the Utah Jazz. He also hosts a radio show and podcast every week on ESPN700 AM in Salt Lake City.
Andy Larsen


  1. gotag says:

    On fast breaks I think this is one of the prime examples of poor coaching/adjusting. All season it has been a bad play for us and in most teams it is their best opportunity. That it has not been fixed thus far is hard for me to understand without simplistic mantras like Corbin’s gonna corb.

  2. Devin Cash says:

    You’re right that the 7 extra fast break points don’t make up the 11 point loss at first glance. But given that the fast breaks all took place prior to “crunch time,” we easily could have been up by two when Batum hits the miracle 3. Who knows what happens after that? Maybe he doesn’t even make it with the extra pressure of being down. Lots of hypotheticals, but you started it.

  3. Mitchell Wall says:

    DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE NEGATIVITY. This is the year we’ve all been dreaming of! It’s been said for years that the Jazz can only acquire superstars through the draft. History would show the same thing. And it’s difficult to truly contend in this league without superstars. So here we are, finally biting the bullet to get a high draft pick in a great draft class, while simultaneously developing some talented young guys… And people can’t hack it? Either you genuinely were satisfied with mediocrity, were delusional that we had another avenue to contention, or you need to get on board that this is exactly the season we need.

  4. Nathan says:

    yeah watching Utah botch transition play after transition play was frustrating because those are plays that young athletic players are suppose to capitalize on, and our young players act like they don’t know how to do that. that’s definitely something that has to be worked on this season, especially if Utah is 25th in fast break points. Hayward has run more than any other player in the NBA so far this season. I was glad to see him at least go up for a couple dunks instead of shying from the rim into some silly fade away shot.

  5. Aaron says:

    The only frustration is that Corbin has the worst rotations I’ve ever seen. We all want a top pick, but it’s bad karma if you do it shamelessly. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I’m beginning to wonder a little bit if the brass is encouraging them to play hard but not too hard, or if Corbin is even more clueless than we already knew.

  6. Trent says:

    Dennis Lindsey is a genius and should win executive of the year.
    Lets face it without trying, Ty Corbin and his coaching staff are the worst in the NBA. Lets just visit for a moment what Jeff Hornacek is doing in Phoenix. Enough said.
    Not signing Gordan Hayward to an extension and re-signing Alec, Enes and Derrick was brilliant. Sorry Gordon as much as I like you you make to many bad decisions and its not even your forced shots or all your turnovers you can fix that. Step aside G man this is Trey’s team! let the rook take charge.
    So what’s this all about? Wiggins, Exum or Parker these three and only one of these three, with or without Gordan can put the Jazz back into contention. The other prospects Randle or Smart could also help. Dennis knows what he’s doing by letting Corbin over coach without saying a word and to make this season worth while only a top three pick is acceptable. So don’t worry be happy Jazz fans this is what we want and start rooting for the Bucks, Kings, Magic, Nets and Knicks…

  7. cw says:

    It seemed sort of like the Jazz were in the game, but really I think Portland was turning it on and off. It’s been happening all year. An opponent gets a big lead and lets off the gas, the Jazz play different combinations against the opponent’s second and third team and pull relatively close, the opponent steps on the gas, the Jazz lose by 10 or 12.

    I think the sign of a better played game is that the Jazz are in it most of the way and the end is in doubt. Very few games like that this year. None against good teams that I can remember.

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