Utah Jazz: Team looks to keep tempo up
The NBA's 82-game season can't be sped up and it can't be made shorter, no matter how fast a team plays.
The story of the first two weeks of Jazz preseason has been the team's increased pace. The Jazz are pushing the tempo and getting into their offensive sets quicker.
The question for the Jazz has to be, "Can they do it for an entire year?"
Coach Tyrone Corbin and his players are optimistic, Corbin more cautiously so than some of his leaders, that the Jazz's depth will allow them to play fast throughout the season.
"It's a marathon," Corbin said. "Pace is how you want to create these opportunities for you, but you don't want to wear yourself out. There has to be a balance there."
The balance, Mo Williams said, will come naturally once the Jazz identify themselves as a fast-paced team.
"Like any other team, you're going to be tired," Williams said. "You got to keep pushing, it's your identity, your way of playing, and that's what we want to do every night."
After a 3-2 start through five preseason games, the Jazz have outscored opponents 108-62 in fast-break points, including 30-9 against the Lakers in Anaheim on Tuesday.
But pace isn't just scoring on the fast break.
The Jazz can thank changes to their personnel for the boost. Mo Williams, Marvin Williams and Randy Foye are all better suited to push the tempo better than the guys they replaced.
As Corbin evaluated his roster, led by Mo Williams, he saw a team that he felt could keep it going.
"It depends on the age and stage of the team," Corbin said. "Younger teams tend to be able to do it for longer stretches, middle-aged teams can do it going back and forth, and older teams don't do it."
That Corbin said, is what makes the San Antonio Spurs so interesting.
"The way they could push the ball consistently with the ages they had," Corbin said, "was tremendous."
That also leads to the point that tempo doesn't only mean converting in the open floor and scoring on fast breaks.
"We want pace to get it down the floor quickly," Corbin said. "To search for the early, easy opportunities and if we don't have that now we get into our half-court sets with 16, 17 seconds to get into our offense."
The Jazz have a rotation that could easily go 12-deep, although that won't be realistic for Corbin as he manages minutes in the early stages. That may be the team's saving grace when it comes time to push the ball late in games late in the season or in the playoffs.
"We've got a lot of guys to come in if somebody needs a blow," forward Paul Millsap said. "We've got a lot of guys to come in and fill that position. We're going to continue to play that way."
Ready to run
• Through five preseason games, the Jazz have outscored opponents 108-62 in fast-break points.
• The Jazz upgraded their roster in the offseason to better fit a fast-paced offense.
• Tyrone Corbin hopes the Jazz's depth will allow it to play faster late in the season and in the playoffs.
Clippers at Jazz
P Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV • NBA TV