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.
He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.
Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:
“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”
Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.
“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”
At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.
With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.
Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.
The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.
And so the search goes on.
The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.
With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.