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Old 03-14-2014, 07:46 AM   #602
Xiao Yao You
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Midvale, Utah, U.S.A.
Posts: 20,197
Default Re: Season of the tank!-2013-14 regular season

The Jazz actually had more open shots (defined as a shot without a defender within 4 feet) than the Mavericks tonight, 42 to 37. Unfortunately, The Jazz made just 15 of those shots (for just 35% on open shots!), compared to 23 makes for the Mavs (62%). This outweighed the Jazzís impressive finishing ability when there was someone nearby: as they made 8 more contested shots (going 25-42) compared to the Mavs, who shot just 18-50 while contested.

Some of this is to be expected: the Mavs have built a team thatís pretty strong on the perimeter, 6th in the league in 3P%, while the Jazzís focus has been at the hoop. Of course, the team with Dirk Nowitzki and Jose Calderon is going to outshoot most opponents. Surely, some of it is luck too. But perhaps some of it might be preparation. This is a sample size of one, but I went out to ESAís court at about 5:30 to watch warmups. Hereís what I found:

ESA at about 5:30 before a 7 PM game.

On the left, you see several Mavericks getting shots up, working on their form and moves with coaches and ballboys. On the other side, you see only Enes Kanter working on his game. 1 Kanter went 8-13 in tonightís game in perhaps Utahís best offensive performance.

That may be because the Mavs didn't get a shoot around and the Jazz did? WHo knows? Need a bigger sample size.

Now, Iím not saying that the Jazz are preparing inadequately, and of course, correlation is not causation. But when I saw this, I remembered back to the Jazzís game against Miami, in which Ray Allen was taking hundreds of shots in a pregame warmup in his 17th NBA season. Allen is perhaps the greatest shooter of all time, while the Jazz are missing 65% of their open shots. Maybe thereís something there.

2. Corbinís philosophy on youth development

Ty Corbinís time in Utah has not been all roses, but perhaps the hottest point for critics has been the distribution of playing time between young players and veterans. Itís happened for several seasons now: Corbin has chosen to start veterans like Raja Bell, Josh Howard, and Richard Jefferson over their younger counterparts. It has left a lot of observers confused, especially given that in many cases the young players have outplayed said veterans.

Jim Burton, of the Ogden Standard-Examiner asked a question 2about this tonight, and in particular, whether or not that philosophy has changed given the Jazzís position in the standings.

Ty responded as follows: ďI never think that itís good just to play guys just to play guys. I think you teach guys how to play right to win. We understand that we want to develop the young guys, but we want to develop them to play a certain way. Thatís not just putting them on the floor. Weíre playing to develop winners, weíre not playing guys to be on the floor. Itís a delicate balance between that. We want to make sure that we play a certain way and how to play to win.Ē3

Itís a philosophy that actually makes sense. Thereís some sense that playing time is the only real carrot a coach can use, and without the potential reward of more playing time, players donít choose to put in the out-of-game work that allows them to be successful players (see point #1). Of course, thereís the obvious counter that the best practice minutes are game minutes, and I donít think Corbin would argue with that. But if success is at least partially a result of establishing certain habits, maybe the Jazz are trying to achieve that ďdelicate balanceĒ that allows them to be best moving forward. Iím open to more conversation on this.

I agree. Playing with bad habits isn't necessarily a good thing. Guys should earn their time.

3. Leapiní Leaners & Low Tops is coming up.

Leapiní Leaners & Low Tops is a charity event thrown by the Jazz every year, taking place on the hardcourt of ESA. Itís a typical charity scene, with an auction and catered dinner, etc. But itís a cool chance for the wealthy and/or well-connected to give their money to a good cause (Larry H. Miller Charities) to be able to spend some time with Jazz players and management. If youíve got surplus money and love the Jazz, buy a table or ticket.

Just for fun, I asked Corbin which of his players he would choose to sit with at the event. His response? ďDepends on what I want. I might see what Enes has on his mind. Explore that. Maybe sit with Derrick Favors, see if I can make him talk a little bit longer.Ē

If I had the money, Iíd probably choose to sit with Richard Jefferson. He spent about 15 minutes with a youth group after tonightís game, completely unsolicited. Even when the youth group had ran out of questions, Jefferson asked them to ask him more, trying to get the shyer kids involved. In the locker room, Iíve heard Jefferson act as storyteller and mythbuster with equal skill. Heís been my favorite player to talk to as a part of the media, simply because he is so legitimately insightful. Iíve learned a ton by being able to interact with him.

I think he's been good for the team rather you agree with his playing time or not. He'll be missed.
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