COMMENTARY | Legendary basketball coach John Wooden said: "I'm not a strategy coach. I'm a practice coach."
Hopefully, Tyrone Corbin is also that kind, because the Utah Jazz have a lot to work on -- specifically pace, shot selection, defensive rebounding, 3-point shooting and finishing strong.
According to 82games.com, last year's Jazz were most effective when they attempted a shot within the first 10 seconds of possession, shooting a combined 54.5 percent from 2 and 3-point territory. After that, the numbers gradually declined: 48.3 percent in 11-15 seconds, 46.9 percent in 16-20 seconds and 42.8 percent in 21-24 seconds.
The Jazz don't have to be the 2006-07 Phoenix Suns, but it wouldn't hurt if they pushed the tempo more in 2013-14. Especially when you consider that they have the personnel for it, e.g., Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors.
2. Shot Selection
In 2012-13, 71 percent of the Jazz's offense consisted of jump shots, about the same amount as the NBA champion Miami Heat (70 percent). Here's the problem: The Heat ended the year with a .501 effective field-goal percentage, while the Jazz finished with one at .433. Accordingly, Miami made 102 more field goals despite attempting 362 fewer shots.
Not re-signing Mo Williams, who shot 43.0 percent from the floor last year, and Randy Foye, 39.7, should help. As should the arrival of Trey Burke, whose pick-and-roll skills could lead to shots closer to the basket.
3. Defensive Rebounding
Despite the fact that the Jazz had 27 feet 3 inches and 1,038 pounds of post power in Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, Utah struggled to grab defensive rounds last season. In fact, it finished 20th out 30 teams, with 30.0 defensive boards per outing.
Here's the good news: Favors -- who collected 7.3 DRBs per 36 minutes a year ago -- should see an increase in PT in 2013-14, though he won't be able to improve the team's glass cleaning by himself.
4. 3-Point Shooting
While the Jazz finished last year's campaign with a respectable 3-point shooting percentage (36.6), they made just 6.2 triples per game. (The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs averaged 8.7 and 8.1, respectively.)
To make matters worse, Utah enters 2013-14 without last season's team leader in 3-pointers made, Randy Foye, who hit 2.2 behind-the-arcers per contest.
5. Finishing Strong
For the most part, the Jazz started games on the right note (no pun intended) last year, but they struggled at the end. That was especially evident during a three-week span in February and March, when Utah went 1-6 in contests that were within five points in the final 5 minutes.
Whether the crunch-time struggles were due to (a) poor conditioning, (b) lack of a go-to scorer, (c) bad luck or (d) all of the above, the Jazz can't allow them to continue in 2013-14.
Jared Bray, a graduate of Brigham Young University's broadcast journalism program, has followed the Utah Jazz since 2008, when he covered the team as a sports correspondent for KBYU-TV's Daily News at Noon.
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