Midseason Report Cards 2016-17

2016-17 Midseason Report Card: Utah Jazz

Midseason Report Card: Utah Jazz

Lang Whitaker

(All stats and records through Jan. 15; for report cards for all 30 teams click here.)

Offense: 106.7, 10th Overall

Defense: 101.0, 1st Overall

W-L | Pct. | GB

26-16 | .619 | 9

Conf.: 16-10

Div.: 5-2

Home: 15-7

Road: 11-9

FRONTCOURT: B

The Jazz haven’t been able to play harmonious music for a few years now, as they’ve dealt with a barrage of injuries over the last few seasons. This season has been no different, as both Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward have missed time with injuries. Rudy Gobert’s continued development has been impressive.

BACKCOURT: B-

The Jazz traded for George Hill to upgrade their backcourt, but he’s missed over half of the season with injuries. Rodney Hood has been a consistent scorer and continues to get better. Dante Exum’s expected development has been hampered by injuries.

DEFENSE: A

The Utah Jazz have flirted with having the best defensive rating in the NBA over the first half of the season, which is partially due to their deliberate style of play. It also doesn’t hurt to have Gobert in the back guarding the rim, stifling anyone attempting to drive to the basket.

BENCH: B

Utah’s bench has been pressed into service throughout the first half of the season, with eleven different players getting a shot in the starting lineup. Special shoutout here to Joe Ingles, who has become one of the best 3-point shooters in the NBA, knocking them down at a roughly 45-percent rate. Shelvin Mack and Joe Johnson have also provided quality depth.

COACHING: B+

Quin Snyder arrived in 2014 and has quickly established a system that gives the Jazz an identifiable style. Player development is a hallmark of Snyder and his staff, which should eventually benefit young rotation players such as Trey Lyles and Exum. For now, the Jazz are balancing a win-now approach with keeping an eye on their future.

OVERALL GRADE: B

These Jazz may not play with tempo — they have the slowest pace rating in the NBA — but they have a strong identity and have continued to improve. The Jazz have been the best team in the Northwest Division through the first half of the season, and if they find sustained health throughout the second half of the season, particularly from George Hill, the growth they’ve exhibited may accelerate. Their first playoff appearance since 2012 is nearly certain, although how far they advance remains up in the air.

Lang Whitaker has covered the NBA since 1998. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here or follow him on Twitter.

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