Monday, November 11, 2013

Back at it tonight.....Home Sweet Home

  Well the 4 game east coast trip for the Utah Jazz was not a friendly one.  Unfortunately for Another Level Sports I had more pressing things on Friday and Saturday than to cover the back-to-back blowouts the Jazz suffered.  I was lucky enough to spend a day on the lake with my 9 yr old son!  Good times and caught a lot of trout!  I did witness both of the beat downs and to be honest I am ready to move on.  Going to chalk them up to a long road trip, young team and the other teams were just better than the Jazz.  Lets look at tonight's match-up with the equally futile 1-4 Denver Nuggets.

  Personally, I have struggled the entire road trip with how the team played and how they were handled by the coaching staff.  The previous posts, I have tried to break down key match-ups, things that need to be accomplished on both the offensive and defensive end of the court.  Today I am going to try to look at this from a different perspective, from a glass half full perspective.  Most importantly I want to look at the areas that the Jazz, as a team need to improve or have made improvements....

Defensively-The Jazz started the season (first 4 games) with really solid rotations and great effort on the defensive end. The same can not be said for the last 3 games.  The Jazz really need to get back to "selling out" on the defensive end.  Giving all they have at that end.  Derrick Favors must be the key to this component.  If he can give greater effort there and cover for some deficiency that others may have, those that are not as gifted defensively can focus more on the offensive side of the ball.  Giving a greater effort there and possibly converting on more offensive attempts.  This is a balancing act.  As the Jazz offense struggles, Favors feels the need to step it up on the offensive end, which is just not his strength at this point.  The past two games the Jazz have done a good job with deflections and getting into the passing lanes forcing their opponents to turn the ball over.  Unfortunately, all the turnovers they are creating are not being converted on the other end of the court.  Jazz MUST keep the energy up and get those deflections creating opportunities for easy buckets.

Offensively-Free-throws were a huge concern the first 4 games of the season.  This is one area we can clearly see some improvement.  The Jazz were shooting less than 70% as a team from the line those first 4 games.  Now they are shooting 73%.  Not a huge jump, but I am not going to complain about any improvement I see this team make.  With as many times as this team can or does go to the line, they need to be shooting 78-80%.  They must take advantage of the "freebies" that they get.  Offensively this team is not great, so any easy points are great points.  The guys get to see the ball go in the basket and can help them with their confidence.  The Jazz must also continue to move the ball as a team.  First 3 games, they averaged almost 20 assists as a team.  A TEAM WITHOUT A POINT GUARD!  The ball can not stop, it needs to move, strong sided/weak side.  They need to make the extra pass, again setting themselves up for the easiest, best shots they can get.  Gordon Hayward has done a great job on the boards.  Increasing his rebounding by almost 2 boards a game as opposed to last season.  This is what is needed from Gordon.  He needs to have at least 6 boards a night.  With the Jazz being a poor defensive rebounding team, this is an area that he and Burks both can help out and be extremely successful.  I can understand why they do not at times, as the staff wants to play an uptempo style.  They feel that they need to be leaking out to get buckets in transition.  I have to look at this from a little different perspective, Jason Kidd was arguably the best rebounder (barring Oscar Roberston) from the point guard position.  Kidd was known for crashing the glass, getting the board and being shot out of a cannon starting a transition opportunity for his team.  I think this is something that could be looked at closely for Hayward and Burks.

  Tonight's game is extremely important, possibly the most important of this young season.  The young guys are at home, and need their first win.  Denver has an ailing Kenneth Farried (Hamstring) and are without the likes of JaVale McGee (Shaqtin a fools favorite target).  The Jazz will need to take advantage of the Nuggets  best defenders being limited or out.  They must attack the basket at every opportunity.  Put the onus on the officials.  Lastly, if they do that and are not getting calls I need to see Ty and his staff go to bat for these players.  This is where the staff needs to develop along with teaching the game.  It can't all be left up to Brad Jones.  Jazz have a great opportunity tonight and Jazz Fans need to go out and support this team.  GO Jazz!

P.S.....Trey Burke has a follow up with docs today!  Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope the Jazz get their POINT GUARD back!

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