When Tyrone Corbin Friday night starts to stand on the shoulders of Jerry Sloan (as owner Gail Miller said so eloquently Thursday), what will the Utah Jazz look like?
Well, probably not all that different at first. Even if Corbin wanted to overhaul the system — and as a long-time Jazz assistant that’s unlikely — you just can’t do that in the middle of the season. You can tweak the system you are running, but any real overhauls need to be put on hold. So expect a lot of flex sets in the half court.
But look for some differences. For example expect the Jazz to run more.
The Jazz are 20th in the NBA in possessions per game (and if you look at the Speed Index they are a little slower than that, even). Whether or not it was the reason Sloan stepped away, we know for sure Deron Williams wanted to run more and you can expect him to get more of a green light.
Which could be both good and bad, according to the amazing Sebastian Pruiti at NBA Playbook.
The Utah Jazz actually lead the league in points per possession in transition with a PPP of 1.231 on 63.1% shooting (also first in the league in transition). However, despite the positive numbers, the Jazz don’t run all that much, with only 13.1% of their total possessions labeled as “transition” by Synergy Sports Technology, which is only the 11th most in the NBA…
Another reason why Sloan doesn’t want to run is because Deron Williams isn’t a very good point guard in transition. Williams is posting a PPP of 1.16 when in transition which is 164th in the NBA. This is due mostly to turnovers as Williams is turning the ball over on 15.5% of his individual transition possessions which is good for a ranking of 246th.
It’s an oddly mixed bag. But when you watch the video it appears that Williams wants to run so badly that he pushes into places he should not go.
A few seasons back the Lakers were playing uncharacteristically fast for a Phil Jackson team, because he realized he had some good athletes for transition. What he said to the team was basically “you have the first seven seconds of the shot clock to run and improvise some offense, but if nothing is there pull it out and set up the triangle.” I could see something like that working for the Jazz, where they have more freedom to run but with that comes the responsibility to pull out and set it up if nothing quality is there.
Friday night, in their first game under Corbin, the Jazz need to be careful. They are taking on the Suns — there are certain teams you do not want to get into a track meet with, this is one of them. The Jazz need to be careful about pushing any newfound freedoms too far in this one.
Aside that maybe there will be more high pick-and-rolls for Williams to work off of. There are standard NBA sets — double high-post “horns” for example — that virtually every NBA team runs and players are familiar with. Things that can relatively easily be slid into an offense.
But don’t expect Ty Corbin’s Jazz to look a whole lot different from Jerry Sloan’s Jazz. Not this season, anyway.