The Utah Jazz have been running Jerry Sloan’s flex offense since roughly the Cretaceous period, and that continued last season when Sloan unexpectedly resigned mid-season and Tyrone Corbin slid over into the big chair.
But is it time for a change?
In reporting that Jeff Honracek is going to meet this week and re-sign as an assistant coach with the Jazz, Brian Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune put out this interesting tweet.
Hornacek said Corbin could make changes to Jazz’s offensive and defensive schemes, moving to systems that better fit current roster.
It’s an interesting idea. The strength of the Jazz roster right now is a front line of Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap and rookie Enes Kanter.
Favors is a tremendous athlete who, both in New Jersey and in Utah, got a high percentage of his offense off cuts (27.4 percent of his shots with the Jazz) and converted on a high rate of those (he shot 64.3 percent on those shots with the Jazz). Favors got more shots that way in Utah at the expense of being the roll man in the pick-and-roll, a play where he was not as effective in New Jersey when he did it a lot (he shot 46.7 percent with the Nets on that play). (All stats via Synergy Sports.)
Where he was effective was in transition, something the Jazz do not utilize as much. Jefferson got 38.3 percent of his shots in the post and scored a pedestrian 0.89 points per possession out of that (he shot 42.7 percent when posted up). Speed up the game and replace some of those slower post-up plays with transition opportunities for Favors and others and you might have something.
But clearly, the cuts and back doors of the flex offense worked for guys like Favors and you don’t want to get rid of all of it.
The real question the Jazz need to ask is “what kind of team do we want to be?” They have a roster that is in flux as they rebuild in the post Deron Williams years, which adds to the questions. Utah must figure out what kind of team it wants to be then get players that fit the system. That may include an evolution away from the flex offense, but it should be a slow one as it clearly works for some key players in the future of this franchise.
Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.
The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.
The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.
Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.
Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.
Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.
“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”
The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.
Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.
LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.
Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?
Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.
LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.
To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.
It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.
With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.
There were a couple of good ones, however.
Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.
One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.