Utah Jazz Revelations: Jazz Wallop Wizards in DC
Welcome to the latest edition of Utah Jazz revelations! The concept is simple. The Jazz play a game, I watch the game, then turn around and give you three key takeaways from said game. Really, it’s a three-step process.
Last night was Utah’s third consecutive game away from home in the middle of a six-game road trip.
It was also Utah’s first win throughout this trip and their first in 4 tries snapping a 3-game skid.
With the 123-108 victory the Jazz move back to .500 on the season at 23-23, good for 10th in the West.
REVELATION #1: The Wizards are an Awful Basketball team.
Utah caught Washington in a very unique spot headed into this matchup.
The Wizards had literally, the morning of game day, informed Wes Unseld Jr, that he was out as Head Coach of the 7-36 ball club after two and a half seasons.
Washington turned their attention to Brian Keefe for the time being as the Interim head coach.
Losers of 5 straight, 4-16 in their last twenty games, the front office in the capital was certainly hoping for a changeup in terms of motivation.
Teams typically seem to perform better after a coaching change, at least in the short term, so I guess it was worth a shot.
The Wizards version of turning it off and turning it on again didn’t work. The Wizards are still broken.
When compared to Utah last night, the Wizards shot three percent worse from the field and a whopping 18.6 percent worse from three.
They had a worse free throw percentage, taking 8 more free throws than Utah, and were outrebounded by 16 total boards.
That’s just statistics however, the eye test itself would be just as confirming if not more:
Despite the coaching changeup and a year of all time lows, the Jazz winning by 15 was the worst loss Washington has taken since January 6th.
Detroit set an NBA record of 28 straight losses, and are two games behind Washington, which tells you all you need to know.
REVELATION #2: Utah’s defense isn’t quite back yet?
Hot take time incoming.
The Defense that has been giving up 51.5 percent field goal shooting and 42.7 percent three-point shooting to opponents in their last three losses isn’t all the way back because they held Washington to 108 points.
Its tough to believe, but I just spent a whole segment above discussing how bad of a basketball team resides in DC.
The Wizards offense has totals of 104, 107 and now 108 in their last three games and have scored less than 110 in 4 of their last 5.
Basically, this translates to “Washington is in an offensive slump.”
For Utah, giving up 108 is a top ten defensive result this season, but let’s pump the brakes. The defense didn’t fix itself overnight, the Wizards just can’t score as of late.
Kris Dunn however, is the one player you can count on each and every single night to deliver the defensive goods, making his role as the starting point man extra essential in righting this defensive ship that was sailing smoothly weeks ago.
I’m not saying this wasn’t a good defensive showing, 108 points is nothing to scoff at for this year’s Jazz team, but watching the game would tell you that it isn’t quite fixed yet.
More competent teams would have capitalized on still prevalent defensive lapses.
We will settle for a step in the right direction however, and tomorrow’s contest in Charlotte should be a great barometer test of how much Utah has patched up, as the Hornets possess a bottom three offense in the NBA.
REVELATION #3: The John Collins trade was worth it in every way.
This isn’t some mind melting new thought, but its fair to say that John Collins has been met with mixed to negative reviews in his short time in Utah.
Some fans expected more, and that’s ok.
With slightly lowered expectations, you can see that Collins has been consistently consistent.
With all the attention on Lauri Markkanen (29 pts, 7 reb last night) and Collin Sexton’s play the last couple of months, we sometimes overlook some of the other players making small strides.
John had a very effective season high of 22 points in the win, and snagged a season high 16 rebounds.
After never scoring more than 20 points 42 games into the year (playing 38 of them), Collins has now done it twice in the last 4 matchups with 21 VS OKC and 22 last night.
In four of John's twenty or more point outings this is the first in which Utah has won, and was his most impactful by far in points, rebounds, shooting percentages (11/15) and turnovers.
Whether we can expect more of this down the road remains to be seen, but even if Collins return to the mean of 14 points per game and 7.8 rebounds, Utah still got a starting forward for Rudy Gay and a 2nd round pick.