Jazz mid-season report

The Utah Jazz should be thrilled with their first half of the 2016-17 NBA season. At 25-16 the Jazz are in fifth place in the Western Conference. They have the number one ranked defense in the league, anchored by Rudy Gobert.

Is it possible for the Jazz to be better NOW? Are they in touch with reality? Who are the five most efficient at each position? And, which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg? These are the questions we will answer in our Hoop Obsession mid-season report.

Gobert's defense is the key to the Jazz success.

The success of the Utah Jazz in the first half of the season is one of the better stories in the league. Utah added veteran players George Hill, Joe Johnson, and Boris Diaw to the mix of a team that won 40 games last season. While the Jazz narrowly missed the NBA Playoffs last April, there is no denying them this season.

Even with Hill missing 24 games, the Jazz own a winning percentage of .610 through 41 games. Derrick Favors missed 15 games as well.

Rudy Gobert and Gordon Hayward are playing at an All-Star level. Gobert, especially, has been a beast of a defensive presence for the Jazz. Nobody in the NBA blocks more shots. Gobert's 104 blocks and league best defensive rating of 97 make him the leading contender for Defensive Player of the Year.

Hayward is scoring 22 points per game and playing his brand of selfless team basketball. Solid contributions from Rodney Hood, and Trey Lyles are part of the equation in Utah as well. Hayward (38% 3-pt.), Hood (36% 3-pt.), and Lyles (34% 3-pt.) all stretch the floor.

Joe Ingles is the deep threat that has to be respected the most for the Jazz. The 29 year-old Australian is shooting a remarkable 44% from 3-pt. range.

Our areas of concern for Utah include a lack of efficient play at backup point guard, and injury woes to Favors. While the team still had success with Shelvin Mack covering for George Hill, there is no doubt that the Jazz need to be stronger at the backup PG position. Dante Exum is still not close to being efficient enough to help an NBA team. Mack is steady but not dynamic.

Favors looks heavy, and his efficiency is slipping. Favors is shooting just 44% FG this season. His sore knees are an ongoing issue. Will he be able to regain his form and get his body into the proper shape?

Are the Jazz in touch with their reality?

Yes. They invested in Gobert with a huge, four-year extension that kicks in next year when Gobert goes from $2.7 million per season to over $21 million in 2017-18. The team is built to win today without sacrificing their future. The Jazz will have two first round picks and two second round picks in the 2017 NBA Draft.

The Joe Johnson signing keeps Johnson on the books for one more year after this season at $10.5 million. That is reasonable. Likewise Boris Diaw (who will turn 35 years-old soon) has one more year at $7.5 million.

Alec Burks, a 6'6" shooting guard in his sixth NBA season, recently returned from injury. He has appeared in just five games. Burks is signed through 2019.

Favors has one more year left after this season at $12 million. At this point we would be inclined to let Favors go after 2018, unless he can be traded to gain an asset. That feeling could change quickly though if Favors can get healthy.

Five most efficient by position

PG - George Hill .630, SG - Rodney Hood .393, SF - Gordon Hayward .620, PF - Derrick Favors .478, C Rudy Gobert .680

Which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg? (players w/ 300 minutes played minimum)

The Jazz TEAM defensive rating is 103.9 (1st of 30). The players with defensive ratings better than the team average: Rudy Gobert 97, and Derrick Favors 100.


NBA related. Trade targets.