Brad Stevens compares the Utah Jazz to the ’14 Spurs
"The ball doesn't stick"

Brad Stevens compares the Utah Jazz to the ’14 Spurs

Brad Stevens was full of praise for the Utah Jazz after their 122-108 victory over the Celtics on Tuesday night.

During his post-game interview, Boston’s head coach talked about the variety of ways Utah can beat you and how challenging it is having to continually adapt and switch things up on the fly — both offensively and on the defensive side of the floor.

If you look at how they play against traditional coverages from a pick and roll standpoint against blitzing, against even in isolation, they still end up getting what they ultimately want, which is you to commit two to the ball, overhelp, be late to help, and then that thing gets spraying around.

Brad Stevens

Quin Snyder’s system, predicated on the ball finding the open man, goes perfectly with team-oriented personnel on the Jazz roster. Guys know their roles and no personal agendas overshadow the goal of the collective. As a result, the Jazz have the No. 1 record in the NBA (20-5), playing at the level closest to a championship team from the ’10s, according to Stevens.

They’ve got excellent one on one players in Mitchell, Bogdanovic, and Clarkson, and they’ve just got a tonne of guys that shoot it, move it or drive it. As I said today in my radio deal, I think It’s the closest team to the ’14 Spurs that we’ve played with the way the ball moves and how quickly the right decision is made. The ball doesn’t stick.

Brad Stevens

The Jazz are 2nd in the NBA in Average Point Differential with 8.76. They have the 4th best offense (117 points per 100 possessions) and the 4th best defense in the league (108 points allowed per 100 possessions). Shooting-wise, Utah is also elite — No. 1 in 3PAr (.483), and No.4 in eFG% (.561).

Rudy Gobert is having another DPOY-worthy NBA season, helping the Jazz hold their opponents to the league’s lowest eFG% (.499) and 2P% (.483). They are also doing a great job on the perimeter, closing out three-point shots, having great defensive rotations, resulting in the fifth-lowest opponents’ 3P% in the entire association.

Just for a comparison, the 62-win San Antonio Spurs had the 7th best offense in the NBA and were an elite defensive team (3rd in DRTg, 4th in opponents eFG%). They also had a dominant big in Tim Duncan, who was the focal point of the team’s defensive setup, surrounded with two-way all-around contributors who had one thing in common — they all could shoot the ball.

Based on stats, as well as roster constructions of both teams, the parallel between the two can easily be drawn. The ’14 Spurs proved they had the recipe for winning a championship, and now the Jazz are trying to do the same thing. And they are on the right track.

Tuesday’s win against the Celtics was Utah’s fifth straight. Rudy Gobert is playing at an elite level defensively. Mike Conley is looking more and more like Conley from his days in Memphis. Bojan Bogdanović is averaging 23.6 PPG over the last seven games. Jordan Clarkson is the frontrunner for the Sixth Man of The Year Award. All that’s left is for Donovan Mitchell to get the Jazz over the hump.

That’s what Kawhi Leonard did for the ’14 Spurs, and it resulted in a Larry O’Brien. Now Spida will have to do the same for the Jazz. Otherwise, all the comparisons between the two teams are in vain.