Even without their recent zone-busters — Deron Williams, Mehmet Okur, Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver — the Jazz thought this season’s 3-point shooting would be adequate.
So far, however, consistency on 3s has been the most glaring weakness of a team that, otherwise, has exceeded expectations.
After going 4-for-18 in Wednesday’s 111-106 loss to Toronto, Utah is shooting 28.1 percent from the 3-point line.
The Jazz rank 28th in the NBA, ahead of only New Orleans and Sacramento — teams with a combined record of 9-28. This team is on track to be Utah’s worst 3-point-shooting team in two decades.
“We’re capable,” coach Tyrone Corbin said, “if we take the right shots and if we move our body. The toughest shot in the league, when I played, was the stand-still shot. You’ve got to get moving — making it a rhythm shot.”
As the Jazz continue to misfire from the 3-point line, the scrutiny of Gordon Hayward intensifies.
He shot 47.3 percent as a rookie and, this year, was expected to be a long-range shooter who stretches the defense.
Instead, Hayward has missed 30 of his 39 3-point attempts.
Since scoring 19 points in a 106-96 win at Denver on Jan. 15, Hayward has scored 18 points on 6-for-27 shooting.
In that four-game stretch, he is 0-for-10 on 3-pointers, including 0-for-5 against Toronto.
“He struggled a little bit — didn’t make shots,” Corbin said. “He’s not the only one but he was one guy, I think, who was thrown off a little by their zone [defense].
“He had a couple of good looks early and he turned them down looking for something better. That throws his rhythm off. … But he’ll be OK.”
Before Thursday morning’s practice, Hayward spoke quietly, vowed to keep working and suggested he’s thinking too much about which shots to take and which ones to turn down.
“That’s part of being a young guy — part of growing, man,” Corbin said. “He comes in early and works. He stays late and works on his shot. ... He’s a capable shooter. He’s just got to make them in a game.”
When it comes to struggling from the 3-point line, Hayward isn’t alone.
So far, C.J. Miles shoots 30.2 percent, Devis Harris shoots 31.9 percent and Raja Bell shoots a team-high but below-average 34.3 percent.
Partly because of Utah’s inability to knock down jumpers, the Raptors’ zone defense was noticeably effective. The Jazz went 2-for-11 from the 3-point line in the second half and overtimes.
“You have to get the right shots [against] the zone,” Corbin said. “You can’t turn a good shot down looking for something better. That might be the best shot you get in that possession. … You have to take the right shots.”
Hayward played a season-high 36 minutes against Toronto.
Given his struggles on offense, did Corbin consider going to Josh Howard, Alec Burks or Miles down the stretch?
“When you lose a game, you think a lot of different things,” Corbin said. “That’s one of the things I thought about. Do I leave my bench alone? Should I have done this or should we have run something different? When you lose a game, you critique everything and we’ll continue to do that.”
Jazz vs. Mavericks
P At American Airlines Arena (Dallas)
Tipoff • 6:30 p.m.
TV • Root Sports
Radio • 1320 AM, 98.7 FM, 1600 AM
Records • Jazz 10-6, Mavs 12-7
Last meeting • Mavs, 94-91 (Jan. 19)
About the Jazz • They are 2-3 on the road. … They haven’t lost two straight since the opening games of the season (Dec. 27-28). … In the past three games, F Paul Millsap averages 24.3 points and 11 rebounds. He has made 30 of 58 shots.
About the Mavs • They come off a 110-95 loss to Minnesota. … They are 8-2 in their past 10 games against Utah, and 14-2 in the past 16 at home. … With F Dirk Nowitzki sidelined with a sore knee, they are led by G Jason Terry (13.9 ppg).