5 Reasons Utah Jazz Haven't Been Road Warriors This Season
Despite a more than forgetful night in Salt Lake City against the Houston Rockets, the Utah Jazz are once again owners of one of the league's best records at home. For years, the Jazz (24-21, 15-5 at Energy Solutions Arena) have claimed one of the best home-court advantages in the NBA. Everybody knows that when you come to Utah, you're going to be hard pressed to be flying home with a victory in hand.
The Jazz have been one of the league's best home teams for a long, long time. With a roster that's stacked with former lottery picks and young talent, the Jazz are looking to make a playoff push once again. Usually, a strong home court with a deep, talented team is a recipe for success. Or is it? There's one thing the Jazz seemingly can't do.
Win on the road.
Jazz management has added veterans Mo Williams, Randy Foye, and Marvin Williams in hopes that bolstering the team's experience and outside shooting would put a rest to the franchise's road woes. That hasn't worked thus far this season.
"Big Al" Jefferson is the Jazz' highest paid player, go-to-guy, and the man whom the offense is run through. Jefferson, who isn't much of a defender, compensates his lack of defense with good offense which the Jazz tend to rely on. Jefferson's offensive production decreases dramatically when Utah hits the road.
Jefferson is currently averaging 18.8 points per game at home. On the road, however, the anchor of Utah's offense is averaging 15.7 points per game. His lack of offense on the road can be, well, offensive.
The Jazz are 9-14 overall (4-11 on the road) when "Big Al" doesn't get at least 10 points and 10 rebounds. Utah is 14-5 overall (5-4 on the road) when he does get a double-double with points and rebounds.
As "Big Al" goes, so go the Jazz.
The possession killer. Turnovers seem to be one of the primary causes of the Jazz' problems on the road.
The Jazz have turned the ball over at crucial times on the road this season. What's even worse is how often they're coughing up the rock.
Utah turns the ball over 15 times per game. They are averaging 13.9 turnovers at home and 15.6 on the road.
The uncanny ability to give the ball away in opportune moments has cost the Jazz dearly, especially the turnovers on the road.
A team with Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter shouldn't struggle with rebounding, right?
Well, the Jazz manage to do just that, somehow.
The Jazz currently sit in 25th in the NBA in defensive rebounding. Most of this isn't the Jazz bigs' fault. The guards and wings have been lacking in the rebound department, especially away from Salt Lake City.
The Jazz have been out-rebounded by their opponents 11 times on the road this season. Their record in those 11 games is a dreadful 2-9.
The Jazz average 2 fewer rebounds per game on the road than they do at home. Some of the leading culprits in this stat are Kanter, Gordon Hayward, DeMarre Carroll, Randy Foye and Jamaal Tinsley, all of whom rebound less on the road than they do at home.
Utah's defense this year has often times been questionable, especially on the interior. With Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap seeing the majority of the minutes down low, the Jazz have lacked a true defensive force on the inside.
This lack of interior "D" has led the Jazz to allow 44 points per game in the paint—the second highest amount in the NBA—and left many fans in "Jazz Nation" clamoring for a youth movement that would include playing and/or starting Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter more often. With the Jazz record at 3-14 when outscored in the paint on the road, it seems that Jazz fans can make a pretty good case for their youth movement.
The Jazz have given up 100+ points on 22 different occasions away from home this year. They are 7-15 when they do so.
Tyrone Corbin, who many consider to be a defensive-minded coach, will certainly need his team to step up their defensive game in order for the Jazz to have more success on the road.
The free throw line has caused issues for the Jazz in multiple ways this season.
The Jazz shoot 78% from the charity stripe at home. That number, however, drops to 75% when on the road. While 75% isn't a horrible number and a drop in percentage is usually expected on the road, Utah has had other issues with free throws.
The Jazz tend to give up more free throws on the road than they actually shoot.
Utah is 5-11 on the road when the opponent shoots more free throws than the Jazz do.
Free throws have cost the Jazz dearly this year. The Jazz will need to change this trend in order to get on the right track and start winning their road games.