Listening to “Tip off” this morning, David Locke’s morning podcast, inspired me to speak to how the Jazz will play defensively this year. If you’re a Jazz fan that doesn’t listen to Locke’s morning tip off show then you’re missing out because the guy gives you great information and helps keep Jazz talk going all summer when nothing else is going on NBA wise. I’ve posted a link below to this morning’s tip off.
In that video this morning David speaks to the big man play defensively and how bad Millsap and Jefferson were together on the floor. Jefferson was definitely the main guy that hindered this team defensively as the numbers say it all. Favors and Kanter numbers while they are together on the floor are impressive, even though they were mostly against opponents bench it’s still a positive number. While our big men play should be improved on the defensive end, since Favors will get 30+ minutes a night and he’s a defensive stud, I get very excited when I think about the length our team has and how frustrating it could make opposing teams.
Alec Burks is 6’6″ with a wingspan of 6’10”, he’s quick, has great hands and to me seems like he’s the pesky type of defender that everyone hates guarding them. Gordon Hayward is 6’8″ which is much taller then most people think he is. His wingspan is only 6’8″ but we all know that Hayward uses ever bit of it, how many times have we seen Hayward run someone down on a fast break and block the shot. Trey Burke is a question mark on defense. He is fairly long if you look at his measurements since he stands 6’1″ but has a wingspan of 6’5″. We also have Brandon Rush who can be this teams defensive stopper much like Raja Bell was in past seasons. The Jazz can go big with Burks, Rush and Hayward when we play bigger teams or when we feel like we need length to shut other teams down defensively.
When people talk about the Jazz the upside everyone should be looking at is we should be much better on the defensive end. We may have lost Al Jefferson’s scoring late in games and that will be something we relied on him for that we will need someone else to fill do for this team. Defensively this team is going to be better. With Favors getting more minutes, Kanter being much more capable defensively than Jefferson and the length we have with our guards we may see a bunch of games that end with scores on both sides in the 80’s. I personally would love to see that as it felt at times the past few seasons that the Jazz simply could never stop teams when they needed to.
Statistically you need to be a top 10 defensive team to go deep into the playoffs. Last year Miami, Indiana, San Antonio and Memphis were the teams that made their conference finals. Miami was 5th, Indiana was 2nd, San Antonio was 11th and Memphis was 1st in points allowed all season. It goes to show how important it is to be a good team defensively. Every team is going to score points but being able to stop other teams seems to be the key to winning. If the Jazz are going to do better than what they are predicted to do this season it will be on the defensive end of the floor and the Jazz roster looks to have the potential to do just that.