Utah Jazz: Jeremy Lin Torches Jazz Point Guards, Underscores Team's Weakness

Zac WatneCorrespondent IIFebruary 7, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31:  Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks drives past Detroit Pistons Walker Russell #23 of the Detroit Pistons at Madison Square Garden on January 31, 2012 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks went for 28 points, eight assists and two steals against the Utah Jazz in a 99-88 Knicks victory Monday night.

Lin's efforts should be commended. It is always good to see another player make a name for himself in the NBA, and Lin is en route to do so with his recent performances against the Jazz, along with a 25-point, seven-assist night in a 99-92 win against the New Jersey Nets.

The main issue for Utah is that their point guards have been exposed as a serious weakness in recent games, and there are not any signs of improvement on the horizon.

If Lin's performance stood alone it could be viewed as an anomaly, something worth mentioning but not worrying about. That is not the case here.

Point guards have been feasting on the Jazz in recent games. Examples include: Golden State's Stephen Curry dropping 29 points and 12 assists on the Jazz on Feb. 2; the Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul's 32 point, 11 assist night on Feb. 1; and the Minnesota Timberwolves' Ricky Rubio's 17 points and 11 assists on Jan. 21.

Granted these cases are against some of the best point guards in the league, but looking over the course of the season there have been several instances where the point guard play against the Jazz has been outright explosive.

If it came down to merely a war of points, where Utah's point guards were being scored on and scoring on opponents equally this may not be an issue. If you are able to fight fire with fire, well, everyone ends up getting burned.

The Jazz do not have fire on their side. 

The point guard duties for Utah, handled mostly by Devin Harris and Earl Watson (though also marginally by Jamaal Tinsley), currently rank 27th in the league in scoring (13.1 points per game). Though that slightly increases to 26th in the league while playing at home (14.3 points per game, yeah EnergySolutions!), their 10.9 points per game on the road puts them only slightly ahead of Orlando’s league-worst 9.8 points.

Against playoff teams, the Jazz point guards rank dead last in scoring, at only 11.6 points per game.


Using Hollinger's player efficiency rating (PER) metrics, the net production of the Jazz point guards is -4.0, compared to +8.0 for Utah's dominating power forwards of Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors.

The situation in Utah is clear, as is their Achilles's heal. Whether or not anything can be done about it this season remains a question, but the Jazz should make this a top priority come the 2012 NBA Draft.