Utah Jazz: Some Numbers To Consider

January 18th, 2016 | by Lucas Falk
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

The Utah Jazz have reached the halfway point of the season and currently find themselves with a below .500 record. Despite a bevy of injuries, the Jazz are still in the playoff picture thanks to, in large part, the weaker bottom half of the Western Conference. Let’s look at some intriguing numbers from the Jazz during their quest for the postseason.

Drives

The Jazz are in the top five of drives at 29.9 per game. When a team is aggressive and attacks the basket, lots of good things happen. For example, Utah is top 10 in free-throw attempts per game, 23.8 to be exact. Driving to the basket provides a better chance of finding contact and thus fouls, of course. Not a complicated thought. But just as simple is the idea of converting said free throws. The Jazz rank among the league’s bottom half in free throw percentage at 75.1 percent. This season the Jazz have played in 12 games decided by five points or less and they’ve lost seven of those match ups. Utah isn’t just leaving points on the table by not making their free throws, they are leaving wins on the table.

Additionally, the Jazz shoot an inefficient 42.9 percent on their drives, putting them in the bottom five of the entire NBA. Even if they improve to the league average of about 45 percent, it’s possible some of those close losses become close wins and a much more optimistic playoff position.

Assists

The other wonderful aspect of driving is the opportunity to drive and then kick to an open shooter. Unfortunately, the Jazz rank dead last in assists per game, not for lack of trying. In fact, the Jazz have made more passes than any other team in the league, amassing almost 350 passes thus far. So the problem is clear: making shots.

Overall, the Jazz shoot 43.9 percent from the floor, landing in the bottom 10 in the league. Even worse, in catch and shoot situation, Utah shoots 37.9 percent. We are talking about rhythm shots, for the most part. That’s why players are shooting immediately after catching because, ideally, they’ve already positioned themselves for the shot. The Jazz need to improve their shooting in those situations.

Rebounds

Utah is one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the league, nabbing 11 per game. This correlates into the Jazz scoring almost 14 second chance points. 7.5 of their offensive rebounds are considered contested, when an opponent is within 3.5 feet. So the Jazz are going to battle in the trenches on the offensive end and winning.

On the flip side, the Jazz only secure 31 defensive rebounds, among one of the lowest per game averages in the association. Granted, the Jazz only have 53.8 defensive rebounding chances a game, but their totals could increase. Utah gives up 11.5 second chance points, which is decent but something that could be improved upon.

The Good News

The majority of the stats should improve with the return of Derrick Favors. Favors is one of the best rebounders on the team and shoots 41.1 percent in catch and shoot situations. And whenever Alec Burks suits up again, he’ll improve the shooting percentage on the team’s drives. Utah’s outlook is pretty positive, despite the best efforts of the basketball gods to ruin their season with injuries.

Lucas Falk
Lucas Falk is a basketball junkie from Salt Lake City. Lucas is an alumnus of both Olympus High School and the University of Utah, where he earned a degree in Economics. Lucas is also a proponent of doing a reboot to the film "White Men Can't Jump." He can be found on Twitter @Lucaswfalk.
Lucas Falk
Lucas Falk

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2 Comments

  1. Diggin' It says:

    That’s a lot to chew on. They simply need to convert their catch ‘n shoot, and free throw shots. I hope that improves next season. Another year with Coach Q should help the players play more naturally, and hit those shots. Also having Dante Exum throwing passes as quick as a bullet should help. Also having players who aren’t in a larger role because of injuries should help.

  2. derek says:

    there was a lot of talk about how we weren’t a deep team before the season. if healthey we would have three deep pg (exum, neto, burke) 3 deep sg (Johnson, hood, burks) 2 deep sf (Hayward ingles) 2 deep pf (favors and lyles, I despise booker as a jazz player, my opinion but my comment) and 2 deep center (gobert and whitey). you take five out of the top six players on any team in the league and I doubt they are still competing but here we are.

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