Jazz Want More Variety On Both Ends Of The Floor

Jan 15, 2021, 1:14 PM | Updated: 1:16 pm

Rudy Gobert dunks (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)...

Rudy Gobert dunks (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz have carved out a simple identity for themselves this season — when they shoot well, they win. When they don’t, they lose.

In games where the Jazz have shot 35 percent or better from three, they’re 6-1. In games when they fall below that mark, they’re 1-3.

But now, with a baseline identity established, the team is looking to add more variety to their attack on both sides of the floor, in hopes of finding a less predictable mark for success.

Jazz Variety on Offense

By all measures, the Jazz are an elite three-point shooting team. They attempt the third-most threes per game, they make the fourth-most, and they make them at the sixth-best percentage.

Inside the arc, however, the Jazz suffer a different fate. While it makes sense that a team that tilts its offense more heavily towards three-point shooting would attempt fewer two-point shots, their field goal percentage shouldn’t suffer as a result.

The Jazz attempt the fifth-fewest two-point field goal attempts per game in the NBA. They also shoot the 13th worst percentage. For a team featuring Rudy Gobert, who is regularly among the league leaders in field-goal percentage, the success rate near the paint should be higher.

Guard Mike Conley said the team was aware of the issue.

“As much as we want to shoot threes,” Conley said, “I think we still need to focus on the rim and getting to the basket and making layups and finishing our dunks.”

The Jazz are the 20th ranked team on field-goal percentage between 0-3 feet this season. They drop to 21st from 3-10 feet.

Though the Jazz shooters need to find their finishing prowess inside the paint, much of the blame does fall on Gobert. The All-Star big man has seen his field-goal percentage drop from an elite 69 percent last season, to a rather pedestrian 55 percent from the floor.

Gobert’s field-goal percentage inside three feet has dipped from 75 percent to 65 percent, while his completion rate from 3-10 feet has fallen from 38 percent to a dismal 18 percent.

As the Jazz shooters have done their job to generate three-point shots, Gobert needs to utilize that added spacing to finish at the rim.

“We want to be a team that takes care of both the paint and the three-point line,” Conley said.

Jazz Variety on Defense

Where it’s Gobert that needs to up his game to increase the Jazz variety on the offense end, coach Quin Snyder is challenging his guards to show a more versatile attack on the defensive end.

After the Jazz blowout win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, Snyder discussed what he thought made the team successful.

“It starts with Mike and [Donovan Mitchell] and those guys being up the floor,” Snyder said. “Pick up points, pressuring the ball, using their quickness. That sets the tone for us.”

Snyder has previously emphasized the need for a more emphatic approach from his guard n the defensive end, rather than relying on Gobert to erase mistakes at the rim.

“You can have a presence, particularly as teams get into the scoring area,” Snyder said. “When we’re more aggressive, albeit disciplined, it’s a better mindset for us.”

With high scoring Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young coming to Salt Lake to face the Jazz, Conley reiterated his coach’s call for sharper attention on the defensive end.

“I think we’ve been doing a good job of picking the ball up on different occasions more consistently,” Conley said. “[We’re] just trying to make our presence felt a little bit more and be active.”

The Jazz and Hawks tip-off at 7 pm MST. The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.

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Jazz Want More Variety On Both Ends Of The Floor