Jazz Playing Well This Season When Point Guards Are Injured

Mar 8, 2019, 5:40 PM
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) uses a Derrick Favors screen to wipe Milwaukee Bucks guard Pa...
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) uses a Derrick Favors screen to wipe Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton (24) away on a drive to the lane as the Utah Jazz and the Milwaukee Bucks play a Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 2, 2019. Jazz won 115-111. (Scott Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott Winterton, Deseret News)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – No point guard, no problem for the Utah Jazz this season.

Prior to the team’s contest on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies, all three of Utah’s point guards were ruled out due to various injuries. Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum and Raul Neto were listed as out in the injury report, as was backup center Ekpe Udoh.

It may seem troubling for the Jazz to enter a game without a true point guard, but they’ve done it plenty of times this season. Six times, to be exact. The Jazz have come away with victories in each of those contests.

In a four-game stretch from Jan. 11-18, the Jazz went 5-0 without any of their guards. Granted, they were playing much inferior opponents with wins over the Lakers, Bulls, Pistons and Cavaliers but also picked up a big win over the Clippers.

The Jazz also had to go without a point guard on the road against the Nuggets, one of the top teams in the Western Conference. Utah was able to pull a 111-104 victory in that game on Feb. 28.

By The Numbers

Looking at the body of work as a whole, there’s not too much of different between the Jazz’s season averages and how they perform when shorthanded at the point guard position.

It’s most interesting to note that the assist distribution doesn’t change at all without Rubio, Neto and Exum. In the six games without any of the trio, the Jazz have gotten 25.3 assists per contest, which is the exact same as the team’s overall season average.

Also of interest for stats nerds, is that Jazz have scored more and played teams tighter on defense. In the six games sans point guard, Utah as scored 113 points per game while holding the opposing team to 100.5 points. On the season the Jazz are averaging 110 points per game while allowing 106.8 points per game by the opposing squads.

Again, it may be unfair to say that the Jazz are better without Rubio, Neto and Exum since they’ve had the fortune of playing against mostly poor teams. However, the Denver and LA Clippers games are indicators that the head is more than capable of holding its head above water, if need be.

Update On Exum

Before the team hit the floor in Memphis, it was announced that Exum had been reexamined by the medical staff. Exum has been out since Jan. 7 with an ankle sprain and accompanying bone bruise. According to the team, the fourth-year guard is making progress and will return to practice this week.



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Jazz Playing Well This Season When Point Guards Are Injured