Thinking Out Loud: The Utah Jazz and Three Pointers, Sitting in a Tree

March 30th, 2016 | by Clark Schmutz

The Utah Jazz have had an off again, on again relationship with the three-point shot for some time now. It’s mostly been off. In fact, for the most part, not only has it been off, but the three-point line has been seeing other people and posting pics of those dates on instagram. But something changed in the last few years and the Utah Jazz have modernized and embraced the three-point shot. I thought it might be fun to look at that evolution and see if the Jazz have simply aged with the times, or if they have made progress.

In full disclosure, the impetus for this post was sparked by some old blog posts I stumbled upon at SLCDunk. After the 2011-12 season, I had had enough of the Jazz and their lack of three-point shooting. That season was a little bit embarrassing to be a Jazz fan. The Jazz took the second fewest three-point attempts in the league at under 13 attempts per game and only made 32% of them. It caused me to write a three-part treatise on the Jazz’s need to embrace the three-point shot, shoot more corner threes, and develop fringe NBA players into quality three-point shooters. The posts have some interesting points, but are mostly rubbish. But I did want to screen shot one thing I wrote.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 10.19.31 PM

For all of the armchair General Managing I have done from the comfort of my own home, my greatest accomplishment might be seeing the value of Steph Curry before he was STEPH CURRY, even though I obviously underestimated his worth. If I were GM of the Jazz, I surely would have run the team into the ground by now, but by golly, I would also have Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Stephen Curry. Anyways…

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

How Much Have the Jazz Embraced the 3 Point Shot?

Admittedly, I have been harping on the three-point stuff for a long time. Last season I wrote a similar post that plead with the Jazz to shoot more three-point shots. I think one fact is worth revisiting.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 10.29.53 PM

I still find this fact pretty fascinating and have wondered if it was a fluke or if it holds up. Here is a list of the NBA’s 10 best offenses and most prolific three-point attempting teams:

Top 10 offenses

  1. Warriors
  2. Thunder
  3. Spurs
  4. Cavs
  5. Raptors
  6. Clippers
  7. Blazers
  8. Mavs
  9. Rockets
  10. Hornets

Top 10 Three Point Attempting Teams

  1. Warriors
  2. Rockets
  3. Hornets
  4. Cavs
  5. Blazers
  6. Mavs
  7. Hawks
  8. Clippers
  9. Celtics
  10. 76ers

Seven out of ten teams isn’t bad and the top 6 three-point attempting teams in the league are top 10 offenses. It just isn’t a coincidence. In case you were wondering, the list is the same, except for the Pistons replacing the Celtics, when adjusted for team’s pace. Because the Jazz play at such a slow pace, it is important to view the percentage of a team’s shots that are 3 pointers and the Jazz are actually 12th in the league.

Stop for just a moment and consider how far the Jazz have come. It’s not by accident. The team is under a new regime from even 4 seasons ago, and while the team’s increased three-point shooting isn’t the only reason the Jazz have been an average offensive team this season, it is a big contributor. The fact that the Jazz start Favors and Gobert, have limited shooters, and give major minutes to guys that might be fringe, NBA players, it is an achievement to be the 16th best offensive team in the league.

Joe Ingles has been part of the Jazz bench's recent mini resurgence. (NBAE/Getty Images)

Joe Ingles has been part of the Jazz bench’s recent mini resurgence. (NBAE/Getty Images)

Silent Assassin

On top of all of this, the Jazz have a couple of lethal corner three-point shooters. Joe Ingles is shooting 53% (35/66) from corner threes. When you take attempts and percentage into account, Joe Ingles is probably the 2nd best corner three-point shooter in the NBA this season behind only JJ Redick (42/77). From the right corner three, is where Ingles is especially dangerous making 23/40 on the season. That’s 58 percent !

Trey Lyles is also 25/54 (46%) from the corner 3 this season. That’s a very good sign for the Jazz offense moving forward. It’s sort of funny to think that quiet, humble, Joe Ingles, gives the Jazz the highest average points per possession when he spots up so unassumingly in the corner.

Clark Schmutz

Clark Schmutz is a Jazz fan living in North Carolina who has been blogging about the Jazz for 8 years. Just like with religion, politics and good deals on the internet, Clark likes to talk NBA basketball to find more truth and learning. Find him on twitter @clarkpojo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *