Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Kragthorpe: Jazz’s offense is dragging them down

NBA » Shooting, efficiency on offense have dropped to alarming levels

First Published Dec 31 2012 04:35 pm • Last Updated May 05 2013 11:31 pm

This is another lament that the Jazz just are not like they were in the old days, when they featured a certain point guard and that famous forward, and they executed the offense so efficiently and made all kinds of shots.

Yeah, I know, a lot can change over time — like three years. So maybe it’s just unreasonable to suggest that the Jazz should be as effective as ever, now that Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer are gone.

At a glance

Brick by brick

The Jazz’s worst seasons of field-goal shooting:

Season Pct. Comment

2003-04 .436 First season without Stockton, Malone

1974-75 .440 Inaugural season in New Orleans

2005-06 .442 Boozer misses 49 games

1975-76 .443 Expansion team’s improvement comes slowly

2012-13 .443 More home games may help

2004-05 .449 Sloan’s low point (26-56)

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Something obviously was lost in the Jazz’s makeover. Their offense simply is not performing at the level that once characterized this organization.

Former coach Jerry Sloan may have talked incessantly about defense, but what really distinguished his teams was a highly effective offense. Except in the years immediately after the John Stockton-Karl Malone era, when they faced a major personnel deficiency, the Jazz consistently have ranked among the best shooting teams in the NBA.

That’s not because they’ve always had a bunch of great shooters. When Sloan and longtime assistant Phil Johnson were coaching the offense, the Jazz were known for running the scheme so well that they could depend on getting a bunch of easy baskets every night. That’s not happening now.

In 2009-10, the final season of the Williams-Boozer era, the Jazz shot 49.1 percent from the field and posted a 53-29 record. This season, they’re shooting 44.3 percent, ranking 15th in the NBA.

The Jazz (15-17) are threatening to fall as far as the franchise’s all-time low of 43.6 percent in 2003-04, right after Stockton and Malone left.

What’s the problem?

Some of this is a side effect of defensive improvement — disregarding the Los Angeles Clippers’ success against them in the Jazz’s last two losses. The Jazz have upgraded themselves defensively in the three years since Williams and Boozer were surrounded by the likes of the offense-oriented Mehmet Okur, Kyle Korver and C.J. Miles.

A road-heavy schedule also is part of the answer, because NBA teams shoot better at home. So there’s potential for improvement in the remaining 50 games. Beyond that, coach Tyrone Corbin contends the scheme is working, but the Jazz are just missing shots. "’We’ll work on it and continue to take the right shots," Corbin said, "and they’ll fall."


story continues below
story continues below

That’s not a fully satisfying explanation, though. Whether the blame should go mostly to Corbin and his staff or the new cast of players, the offense is not being run effectively enough. Shooting percentage is a function of two primary factors in any offensive scheme: creating shots and making shots — in that order.

Korver, now playing in Atlanta, described the offense of his Jazz days as "very regimented," which is not a criticism. He always knew where his shots would come from, and a system designed to create movement in the offense consistently gave him and his teammates good looks. "Those were really fun teams to play on," Korver said this past weekend. "We had a lot of talent."

The personnel is totally different now. Only forward Paul Millsap remains from three seasons ago. But it would be wrong to say there’s been a big drop-off of offensive talent, even with starting guard Randy Foye shooting only 39.8 percent.

It comes down to this basic issue, in all of its irony: The Jazz’s leading scorer is the root of the problem. Al Jefferson is a terrific low-post player, but his style too often results in a stagnant offense. Everybody else is standing around while he’s dribbling … backing in … facing up … holding the ball … and, finally, shooting. Or, occasionally, passing.

Even after his 30-point game Sunday, Jefferson is shooting just 47.8 percent, far below Boozer’s rate. So the Jazz either have to trade Jefferson, who’s in the last year of his contract, or Corbin must figure out how to maximize the center’s ability while getting more movement and efficiency into the offense. Otherwise, the shooting percentage will continue to drop and the losses will just keep coming.

kkragthorpe@sltrib.com



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.