Archive for the ‘ Utah Jazz Blog ’ Category

Utah Jazz sign center Tibor Pleiss

The Utah Jazz announced yesterday the team has signed center Tibor Pleiss to a multi-year contract.

Pleiss (7-3, 262, Germany) most recently played for FC Barcelona of the Liga ACB in Spain, averaging 5.7 points and 3.8 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per game last season. He also shot 62.3 percent from the floor (134-of-215) and was 71-of-82 from the free throw line (86.6 percent). The 25-year-old center logged a career-high 12.4 points on 58.3 percent shooting (270-of-463) and 6.0 rebounds in 21.8 minutes per contest with Laboral Kutxa Vitoria of Spain in 2013-14. A member of the Germany Men’s National Team, Pleiss began his career with Brose Baskets Bamberg of Germany in 2009.

The Jazz acquired the rights to Pleiss from Oklahoma City as part of a three-team trade, which also included Detroit, on February 19, 2015.

The German center was originally selected by the New Jersey Nets in the second round (31st overall pick) of the 2010 NBA Draft. His rights were then traded to the Atlanta Hawks before eventually being moved to Oklahoma City.

Utah Jazz re-sign Joe Ingles

Utah Jazz re-sign Joe Ingles

The Utah Jazz announced today the team has re-signed forward Joe Ingles to a multi-year contract.

Ingles (6-8, 216, Australia) appeared in 79 games (32 starts) for the Jazz in 2014-15, averaging 5.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 21.2 minutes in his first NBA season. A veteran of international play, Ingles ranked sixth among qualified rookies in assists with 2.3 per game and fifth in steals with 0.9 per game. He scored in double figures 16 times and handed out five-or-more assists 10 times, leading the team in assists on 11 occasions. Post All-Star break, Ingles connected on 42.7 percent of his three-point shots (38-of-89), marking the third-best percentage among NBA rookies.

The 27-year-old forward has played professionally since the age of 18, beginning his career with the South Dragons of Australia’s National Basketball League (2006-09). He has also played for CB Granada in Spain (2009-10), three seasons for FC Barcelona (2010-13) of the Liga ACB, and spent the 2013-14 season with Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Israeli Premier League, where he helped Maccabi to win the Euroleague Championship. The native of Happy Valley, South Australia, has also been a member of the Australian National Team since 2008, representing the Boomers in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.

Ingles originally joined the Jazz after being claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 27, 2014.

Jazz sign rookie Trey Lyles

trey lyles

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has signed 2015 first-round draft pick forward Trey Lyles (12th overall).

Players selected in the first round of the NBA Draft are guaranteed to receive a contract if they want to come to the league right away. So, this signing is standard — though, it came later than expected. 

Lyles spent one season at the University of Kentucky. As a freshman, the 19-year-old forward was named to the 2015 All-SEC Freshman Team and helped lead the Wildcats to a 2015 NCAA Final Four appearance.

A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, the 6-10, 241-pound Lyles averaged 8.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 36 contests during his sole season at Kentucky. As a high school senior, Lyles was named 2014 Indiana Mr. Basketball and the 2014 Gatorade Indiana Boys Basketball Player of the Year. In addition, he participated in the 2014 McDonald’s All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic. Lyles has also played internationally for both Canada and the United States.

Lyles will wear jersey No. 41 for the Jazz.

Jeremy Evans will sign with Mavericks

Jeremy Evans will sign with Mavericks

Jeremy Evans will sign with Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks have had an impressive offseason. And after striking agreements with starter-level talent these past few days, they’re solidifying their bench a bit. Here’s the Salt Lake Tribune reporting on an athletic former member of the Utah Jazz who will take his hops to Texas:

The Utah Jazz have lost their former NBA slam dunk champion.

A free agent forward, Jeremy Evans announced via Twitter on Sunday afternoon that he had reached a deal to join the Mavericks. According to an ESPN report, the deal is for two years at the league minimum.

The 27-year-old Evans was a second-round pick by the Jazz in 2010. But after being a regular rotation player two seasons ago for coach Tyrone Corbin, Evans saw his minutes and role dramatically reduced last season under new coach Quin Snyder.

“If I’m here, I’m going to be so happy,” Evans said during his exit interview in April. “I feel like this is my home. If not, I know it’s still going to be a bright future and wish everybody the best.”

Thunder trade Luke Ridnour to Raptors

It’s happened again.

IT’S HAPPENED AGAIN.

Veteran NBA guard Luke Ridnour has been traded yet again.

luke ridnour traded

The Oklahoma City Thunder acquired a trade exception and the rights to forward Tomislav Zubcic from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Ridnour and cash considerations, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

The Thunder will have one year from today to exercise the trade exception.

The German Basketball Federation announced today that Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen will join the coaching staff of the German men’s national team this summer. He will join Head Coach Chris Fleming during the preparation heading into the European Championship, also known as EuroBasket 2015, from Sept. 5 – 20. The preliminary round featuring Germany, Spain, Serbia, Turkey, Italy and Iceland will be played in Berlin, Germany. The best four teams will advance to the final round in Lille, France.

“Alex is a big asset for our national team,” said Head Coach Fleming. “He has proven at multiple places to be a coach who can develop young players. The dynamic improved performance of Rudy Gobert at the Jazz has a lot to do with the excellent work of Alex. He played for several years in Europe and is very well versed in international basketball.”

Jensen is entering his third season as a member of the Jazz coaching staff. Before joining the Jazz, Jensen spent two seasons (57-43, .557) as the first-ever head coach of the Canton Charge of the D-League from 2011-13, advancing the Cleveland Cavaliers-owned team to the playoffs in both seasons. He was named the 2013 Dennis Johnson NBA D-League Coach of the Year after leading the Charge to a franchise-best 30 victories and an East Division title. Jensen then coached the D-League Select Team in the 2013 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, leading his squad to a 4-1 record against NBA team entries and advancing them to the quarterfinals of the inaugural summer league tournament. Jensen began his coaching career as an assistant under Rick Majerus at Saint Louis University from 2007-11.

A native of Bountiful, Utah, Jensen attended Viewmont High School there, leading the Vikings to a state basketball title as a junior and was named Utah’s Mr. Basketball in 1994. Jensen played four seasons at the University of Utah (1994-95, 1997-00) under Majerus and helped the Utes to the NCAA Championship game in 1998. Following his collegiate career, Jensen played seven professional seasons in Turkey and one season with the Yakima Sun Kings of the CBA. While playing in Europe, Jensen was named All-FIBA Europe Cup Defender of the Year in 2004, along with being named to the All-FIBA Europe Cup First Team.

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has hired Jeff Watkinson as assistant coach/integrated player development and Zach Guthrie as manager of basketball strategy/technology.

For the past three seasons, Watkinson served as the strength and conditioning coach for the Atlanta Hawks (2012-15), who won a franchise-record 60 games in 2014-15 en route to the best record in the Eastern Conference. He rejoins Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder after working with him in Atlanta (2013-14) and also at the University of Missouri (2001-06). Before working for the Hawks, Watkinson owned and operated Wat Training, where he worked with NBA players, including Pelicans guard Eric Gordon, to improve their strength, conditioning and basketball development skills. Prior to the NBA, Watkinson served as the head strength and conditioning coach at Indiana University from 2006-10, after holding similar positions at Missouri, Clemson, Charlotte and College of Charleston.

A native of Chicago, Watkinson began his studies in 1989 at Kishwaukee College in Malta, Ill., where he earned an associate’s degree in pre-medicine. He then received a baseball scholarship to attend North Carolina State, where he played for two years and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pre-medicine in 1993. Watkinson went on to earn a master’s degree in exercise science from Indiana in 1996.

Guthrie arrives in Utah after spending three years with the Orlando Magic as the manager of advanced scouting from 2012-15. Prior to his time in Orlando, Guthrie spent two seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, ascending to the role of assistant video coordinator.

Guthrie got his start as a basketball operations intern with the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League in 2007, where he worked closely under Coach Snyder, then the Toros’ head coach. The San Antonio native graduated in 2010 from the University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in business.

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has named Brian Zettler as the fourth head athletic trainer in franchise history. In addition, Nick Asay has been promoted to assistant trainer and Adam Klauke has been named the team’s equipment manager.

Zettler recently completed his 19th season in professional basketball and his 12th season with the Jazz, having served as the assistant trainer/equipment manager since the 2004-05 season. Prior to joining the Jazz, Zettler spent three seasons as the head athletic trainer with the Dallas Desperados of the Arena Football League. He concurrently spent four seasons assisting the Dallas Cowboys athletic training department. Zettler also worked with the Dallas Mavericks athletic training staff from 1997 until his departure to Utah. Before working in professional sports, he spent three years as the head athletic trainer at the Southwestern Assemblies of God University where he founded the school’s sports medicine program.

The Waxahachie, Texas native earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science from Texas A&M in 1993 and a dual master’s degrees in science and education from the University of North Texas in 1998 and 1999. He is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Consultant (NCSA), a Performance Enhancement Specialist and Corrective Exercise Specialist (NASM). He was co-founder and elected inaugural president of the National Basketball Equipment Managers Association (NBAEMA) in 2013.

Zettler replaces longtime Jazz head athletic Trainer, Gary Briggs, who retired following the 2014-15 season after 33 NBA seasons, including 15 with Utah.

Asay spent the last two seasons assisting the Jazz athletic training staff and has worked for the franchise for six years total. In his new role, he will be a traveling member of the team’s training staff while continuing to work closely with the University of Utah Health Care, the official Jazz healthcare provider. Asay previously spent four seasons working for the University of Utah Health Care, serving as their head athletic trainer at Herriman High School from 2011-14.

The Salt Lake Valley native completed his undergraduate degree in athletic training and also received his master’s degree in sports psychology at the University of Utah. Asay served as the head athletic trainer for former Jazz NBA Development League affiliate, Utah Flash, from 2007-09. He previously worked as an athletic trainer for the University of Utah baseball team from 2004-06 and the Washington Nationals’ minor league affiliate, the Vermont Lake Monsters, from 2006-07.

Klauke has been with the Jazz for 16 years in various capacities in basketball operations, serving as the team’s assistant equipment manager and Zions Bank Basketball Center facility coordinator for the past three seasons. In addition to his time with the Jazz, Klauke spent 12 seasons with the Salt Lake Bees. Beginning as a program seller and bat boy, he served as assistant clubhouse manager for eight years.

A 2009 graduate of the University of Utah, Klauke earned a bachelor’s degree in health promotion and education.

Glancing at Utah Jazz free agency

Glancing at Utah Jazz free agency

Here’s the Deseret News reporting on the Utah Jazz, who played well towards the end of the regular season and must now figure out how to get their squad to the next level:

Before the recently-concluded season ended, most experts figured the Utah Jazz would be signing a free agent or two for next year because of all the extra money they have to spend.

However, after the Jazz played so well down the stretch, going 19-10 after the All-Star break and finishing 38-44, the question became: Should the Jazz basically stand pat with their current young roster and not worry about pursuing any free agents?

Like several other NBA teams, the Jazz are well under the current NBA salary cap of $63 million-plus with an expected payroll of a little over $50 million for next year with their current players. Next year’s cap is expected to be around $67 million before making a major jump the following year when the new TV contracts kick in.

With a few dozen top players around the league available as free agents, either restricted or unrestricted, the Jazz have an opportunity to add a player or two for next season to give their young squad some experience.

Tyler Haws scheduled to work out for Jazz today

Here’s the Deseret News reporting on Utah Jazz pre-draft workouts:

BYU basketball’s all-time leading scorer is getting his chance to audition for the hometown team.

Guard Tyler Haws, an Alpine native, is one of six players the Utah Jazz have invited to a pre-draft workout for the team Monday at Zions Bank Basketball Center.

The news leaked a day before the Jazz made their announcement Sunday, as Haws told KSL Newsradio’s “Cougar Sports Saturday” program he will be working out for the Jazz on Monday morning. He also told the radio program he has upcoming workouts with the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies.

Rodney Hood set to return after concussion

Rodney Hood set to return after concussion

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard/forward Rodney Hood, who was diagnosed with a concussion after receiving an elbow to the head during the third quarter of the Jazz’s March 30 victory at Minnesota:

Over the last several days under the care of the Utah Jazz medical staff and official healthcare partner University of Utah Health Care, Hood has participated in each step of the NBA-mandated Return-to-Participation Exertion Protocol as part of the league’s Concussion Policy. This process includes a series of steps designed to ensure an athlete exhibits symptom-free behavior before resuming basketball activities. During each step of the process Hood has remained symptom-free, including after his workouts earlier today. As a result, the Jazz medical staff has cleared Hood to play in tonight’s game at Phoenix.

Rodney Hood diagnosed with concussion

Rodney Hood diagnosed with concussion

Rodney Hood diagnosed with concussion

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard/forward Rodney Hood:

Hood has been diagnosed by the Jazz medical staff with a concussion, after receiving an elbow to the head during the third quarter of last night’s 104-84 victory at Minnesota.

Per the NBA’s Concussion Policy, Hood will now begin the NBA-mandated Return-to-Participation Exertion Protocol. This process includes a series of steps designed to ensure an athlete exhibits symptom-free behavior before resuming basketball activities. There is no predetermined timetable to complete the protocol, as each case is unique and recovery times for players may vary.

As a result, Hood will be listed as OUT for Wednesday’s game vs. Denver and his status moving forward is day-to-day. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

Hot Rod Hundley passes away

Hot Rod Hundley passes away

Longtime broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley, the beloved voice of the Utah Jazz from 1974-2009, passed away Friday at his home in Phoenix, Ariz. area surrounded by family. He broadcast many of the most memorable moments in Jazz history, calling 3,051 Jazz games in three-plus decades.

“Hot Rod was the voice of the Utah Jazz for 35 years and his voice was synonymous with Jazz radio,” said Gail Miller, owner of the franchise. “The expressions he used throughout the game broadcasts are legendary. He had the unique ability to make the game come to life so that you felt as though you could see what was happening on the floor when listening to him call the games. Rod was a very special talent and will be missed by our family as well as Jazz fans everywhere. Our thoughts and condolences are with the Hundley family.”

The only member of the original New Orleans Jazz staff to remain with the team for its first 35 seasons, he joined the organization prior to the expansion team’s inaugural season in 1974-75 and moved with the team when it relocated to Salt Lake City in 1979-80. A banner hangs in the rafters of EnergySolutions Arena honoring the 3,051 games he called during his 35-year career. In 2010, the team dedicated the media center at the arena to Hot Rod, outlining his legendary career from his days at West Virginia University to his calls as a Jazz broadcaster.

“Rod was a true professional, a great personal friend and remains a legend in the NBA broadcast industry,” said Utah Jazz President Randy Rigby. “From his start with the franchise in New Orleans in 1974 when the Jazz were an expansion team, Hot Rod built a fan base that remains unmatchable. With his signature ‘You Gotta Love it, Baby!’ to ‘With a gentle push and a mild arc the old cow hide globe hit home,’ Rod will be remembered as a true scholar of the game and will always remain a member of the Jazz family.”

Hundley spent the first 31 years of his Jazz career as the play-by-play voice of Jazz radio/television simulcasts before becoming the radio voice for his final four seasons.

Utah Jazz sign Jack Cooley to multi-year contract

Jazz sign Jack Cooley to multi-year contract

The Utah Jazz announced today that team has signed forward Jack Cooley to a multi-year contract.

Cooley signed his most recent 10-day contract with the Jazz on March 16 and has appeared in six Jazz games, averaging 1.7 points in 4.3 minutes per contest.

When the Jazz signed him from the NBA Development League’s Idaho Stampede, Cooley (6-9, 246, Notre Dame) was averaging 16.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.3 blocks in 30.8 minutes per contest in 20 games. On March 13, Cooley set a new D-League single-game record by grabbing 29 rebounds vs. Los Angeles D-Fenders, adding 27 points while going 11-of-14 from the floor (78.6 percent). Over his final three games, Cooley averaged 22.7 points on 65.9 percent shooting (27-of-41) and 22.7 rebounds per game with the Stampede. He recorded 13 double-doubles, including four straight since returning to the D-League. He scored in double figures on 17 occasions and recorded 20-plus points in six games.

Cooley also attended 2014 training camp with the Jazz, averaging 3.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in 5.8 minutes in two preseason games before being waived on Oct. 22.

A native of Glenview, Ill., Cooley played four seasons at Notre Dame (2009-13).

Trey Burke is shooting below 37% FG this season

Here’s the Salt Lake Tribune reporting on Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke, whose longterm NBA need is a better jumpshot:

Trey Burke is shooting below 37% FG this season

Trey Burke had a rough night.

The Utah Jazz point guard took 22 shots. He made four of them. And one of those makes might have been just as costly as any miss.

With 10.7 seconds left in overtime and the Jazz trailing 105-102, Jazz coach Quin Snyder wanted a 3-pointer. Instead, the lane opened up for Burke and the point guard took it to the hole for a layup.

“It was a called play for a 3,” Burke said. “I didn’t want to force anything like I did the last shot [of regulation] but they gave me the whole lane and there were still 12 seconds*, so I got in there and tried to get a quick two.”

But it wasn’t quick enough…

As for the rest of Burke’s night, the point guard did manage to dish out six assists and record four steals. But he countered that with five turnovers and, of course, a dreadful shooting performance.

After going 4 for 22, Burke’s shooting percentage is down to 36.8 on the season. Both his overall percentage and his 3-point field goal percentage are down from his rookie campaign.

Jazz sign Jack Cooley to second 10-day contract

Jazz sign Jack Cooley to second 10-day contract

The Utah Jazz announced the team has signed forward Jack Cooley of the Jazz’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Idaho Stampede, to a second 10-day contract. Cooley signed his first 10-day with the Jazz on Feb. 24 and appeared in one Jazz game, scoring four points in two minutes at Denver on Feb. 27, before rejoining the Stampede.

Cooley (6-9, 246, Notre Dame) appeared in 20 games for the Stampede this season, averaging 16.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.3 blocks in 30.8 minutes per contest. On March 13, Cooley set a new D-League single-game record by grabbing 29 rebounds vs. Los Angeles D-Fenders, adding 27 points while going 11-of-14 from the floor (78.6 percent). Over his last three games, Cooley averaged 22.7 points on 65.9 percent shooting (27-of-41) and 22.7 rebounds per game with the Stampede. He recorded 13 double-doubles, including four straight since returning to the D-League. He scored in double figures on 17 occasions and recorded 20-plus points in six games.

Cooley attended 2014 training camp with the Jazz, averaging 3.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in 5.8 minutes in two preseason games. He was waived on Oct. 22.

The 23-year-old forward played for Trabzonspor in the Turkish Basketball League during the 2013-14 season, averaging 12.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in 22.9 minutes in 28 games (19 starts).

Cooley played four years at Notre Dame (2009-13), averaging 13.1 points and 10.1 rebounds during his senior season. He also led the team with 41 blocked shots and earned 2013 All-Big East First Team honors. Cooley totaled 32 double-doubles throughout his career with the Fighting Irish, including 19 his senior campaign. He also earned the 2012 Big East Most Improved Player award and was named to the 2012 All-Big East Second Team.

Jazz sign Bryce Cotton to multi-year contract

Jazz sign Bryce Cotton to a multi-year contract

The Utah Jazz announced today that team has signed guard Bryce Cotton to a multi-year contract.

Cotton signed his first of two 10-day contracts with the Jazz on Feb. 24 and has appeared in three Jazz games, averaging 1.7 points in 4.0 minutes per contest.

When the Jazz signed him from the NBA Development League’s Austin Spurs, Cotton (6-1, 165, Providence) was averaging 22.4 points (third in the D-League), 4.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.3 steals in 40.5 minutes in 34 games (all starts). He scored in double figures on 31 occasions and recorded 20-plus points in 20 games. He also registered 40-or-more points twice, including a season-high 43 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and two steals at Reno Bighorns. His 43 points rank tied for third in the D-League in scoring performances. Cotton was named D-League Performer of the Week on Feb. 23.

A native of Tucson, Ariz., Cotton played four seasons at Providence (2010-14). He was not selected in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Utah Jazz sign Bryce Cotton to second 10-day contract

The Utah Jazz announced today that team has signed guard Bryce Cotton to a second 10-day contract. Cotton signed his first 10-day with the Jazz on Feb. 24 and has appeared in one Jazz game, posting three points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal in seven minutes in a win at Denver on Feb. 27.

When the Jazz signed him from the NBA Development League’s Austin Spurs, Cotton (6-1, 165, Providence) was averaging 22.4 points (third in the D-League), 4.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.3 steals in 40.5 minutes in 34 games (all starts). He scored in double figures on 31 occasions and recorded 20-plus points in 20 games. He also registered 40-or-more points twice, including a season-high 43 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and two steals at Reno Bighorns. His 43 points rank tied for third in the D-League in scoring performances. Cotton was named D-League Performer of the Week on Feb. 23.

A native of Tucson, Ariz., Cotton played four seasons at Providence (2010-14). He earned All-Big East First Team honors twice (2013, 2014) and was named the 2014 Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player. He finished his career ranked fourth all-time in scoring at Providence and became the fifth player from a major conference to average 20-plus points and five-or-more assists in a season since 2002, when he did so as a senior.

Utah Jazz sign Jerrelle Benimon to 10-day contract

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has signed forward Jerrelle Benimon of the Jazz’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Idaho Stampede, to a 10-day contract. Benimon becomes the NBA’s 43rd overall NBA D-League Call-Up of the 2014-15 season and the 32nd different player to be called up.

Benimon (6-8, 245, Towson) appeared in 35 games (29 starts) for the Stampede this season, averaging 19.9 points (ninth in the D-League), 10.6 rebounds (sixth in the D-League), 4.3 assists and 1.0 steals in 34.9 minutes per contest. He is also shooting 62.4 percent from the floor this season, which ranks eighth in the D-League. Benimon recorded 19 double-doubles, including one triple-double (20 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists vs. Reno Bighorns on Nov. 28). He scored in double figures in 33 games, including 19 contests with 20-plus points and two games of 30-or-more points. Benimon was selected to the 2015 NBA D-League All-Star Team, and was also named to the Honorable Mention All-Showcase team earlier this season.

The 23-year-old forward attended 2014 training camp with the Denver Nuggets, averaging 2.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 8.1 minutes in six preseason games before being waived on Oct. 22.

A native of Warrenton, Va., Benimon played two seasons at Georgetown (2009-11) before transferring to Towson (2011-14). He was named Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Player of the Year twice (2013, 2014), becoming just the eighth player in conference history to win back-to-back player of the year honors. Benimon also earned All-CAA First Team honors in 2013 and 2014 and was selected to the 2014 CAA All-Defensive Team. He was not selected in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Benimon becomes the 18th D-League Call-Up in Jazz history, and the seventh this season. He is the second call-up from the Stampede since the team became the Jazz’s direct affiliate prior to this season.

Benimon will wear uniform #22 for the Jazz.

Following the move, the Jazz roster now stands at 15 players.

Jazz playing good basketball lately

Utah Jazz playing good basketball lately

Here’s the Deseret News reporting on the Utah Jazz, who are 23-35 and have won six of their last eight games:

It began a positive, albeit not steady, incline with the team’s first win over San Antonio followed by an impressive 3-3 showing on the pre-Christmas trip.

Even with last Wednesday’s disappointing loss to the Lakers, the Jazz are playing their best basketball of the season, especially defensively.

Since the All-Star break — or the trade deadline when Enes Kanter was dealt to Oklahoma City, you decide — the Jazz have won four of five games while limiting opponents to an astonishingly low 82.8 points per game.

That’s helped the Jazz climb to the 23rd spot in the NBA’s defensive efficiency ratings for the season. Utah is giving up 104.4 points per 100 possessions this year compared to a league-worst 109.1 last season (and even more than that earlier this season).

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