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Defense-first Jazz making strides on other side of court

Published December 10, 2016 7:39 pm

Notes • Team ranks sixth in offensive efficiency this season.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Utah Jazz have always prided themselves on their ability to play defense. And once again, they're one of the NBA's top teams on that side of the floor.

But this season, they're making notable strides offensively under third-year Jazz coach Quin Snyder. Entering Saturday, the Jazz were sixth overall in offensive efficiency.

It's an encouraging storyline that has emerged so far this season, since the Jazz have often struggled offensively in the past.



"I like the fact that the players are committed to each other," Snyder said. "I don't want the system to overwhelm the players. I want the system to fit the team. Earlier, we were taking less threes. Now, we're taking more threes and they are coming out of the flow of the offense.

"I want us to maintain the foundation of what we believe. We want to attack the paint and make the extra pass. We want to be obviously unselfish."

Fueling Utah's offensive improvement are Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood and George Hill, who is playing the best basketball of his career.

The rest of the team has followed the lead of that trio, and the pieces have fit seamlessly around them.

Some of the reasons are more subtle. For all of his limitations offensively, Rudy Gobert has turned into a consistent threat. He can now catch the ball in traffic, and he's fast becoming one of the best screeners in the NBA.

Joe Ingles has become a consistent 3-point threat, and the Jazz bench features sound scorers in Joe Johnson and Trey Lyles. The mixture isn't perfect, and Snyder is anxious to see what his team looks like whole. But the Jazz appear to have finally made improvements as a team offensively.

"We just have to stay consistent and true to who we are," Snyder said.

All in the past?

The Jazz lost to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night. On Saturday morning, during shootaround, Golden State forward Draymond Green was still lobbing grenades at Snyder, who reportedly said before the matchup that a gameplan was to leave Green open and see if he can make threes. Green, who scored 13 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out eight assists, had this to say.

"I'm really not the right guy to talk junk to," Green told reporters after shootaround. "You kind of wake up somebody else. Maybe he learned. Or maybe he'll try it again. But I'm really not the right person to do that against."

Coming back

Hayward was back in action Saturday night against the Kings after sitting out Thursday's game due to his previously broken finger. Hood missed his second consecutive game with a strained hamstring, and Hill and Derrick Favors were both out as well.

tjones@sltrib.com twitter: @tribjazz

 

 

 

 

 

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