Utah Jazz Defensive Rating’s Meteoric Rise


Mar 10, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) battles for a rebound with New York Knicks center Cole Aldrich (45) and guard Shane Larkin (0) during the second half at EnergySolutions Arena. The Jazz won 87-82. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a thing we’ve been tracking all season long. But the rise of the Utah Jazz defensive rating has been downright meteoric. I’d dare say no team has turned around the NBA’s worst defense as fast as Quin Snyder has in Utah (if you can find a quicker turnaround, please let us know).

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The Utah Jazz defensive rating was dead last to finish the 2013-14 NBA season, and stayed in the cellar for several weeks into the 2014-15 NBA season.

"Through their first 11 games of the 2014-15 NBA season, the Jazz are merely 28th in defensive rating, according to NBA.com Stats.–The J Notes, November 16, 2014"

14 weeks later, the Utah Jazz defensive rating was still bobbing on the bottom of the barrel, if moderately better, showing signs of life for the first time a little over two weeks ago.

"It’s no secret that it takes defense to be a legitimate contender in the NBA, a Quin Snyder and Jazz brass mandate that’s been paid lip service without any real results to date.In holding the Portland Trail Blazers to a season-low 76 points, the Utah Jazz moved up an entire spot in NBA defensive ratings, to 25th — no small feat for being 54 games deep into the season — threatening to climb out the defensive cellar for the first time in two years.With that in mind, let’s start a little exercise where we track the defensive ratings of both the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder for the remainder of the 2014-15 NBA season to see if Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert truly do make all the difference the narratives purport.Using the magic of filters, before the Rudy Gobert era began in earnest, the Utah Jazz were 26th in NBA DRtg, the Thunder 10th. The Jazz are now 25th.–The J Notes, February 21, 2015"

What’s happened in the ensuing ten games is the stuff of legend. One team in ten games has scored over 90 points against the Jazz, and that now feels like a fluke. Since sending Enes Kanter to Oklahoma City, Utah is allowing a picayune 83.3 points per game to opponents.

It’s not like little glimpses of potential. The Utah Jazz defensive rating is a real, tangible thing that inspires terror on the court

On the season, the Memphis Grizzlies have allowed the least points per game, 95.5. With one more stingy performance, the Utah Jazz will pass the Grizz, currently sitting at 95.8 points allowed per game.

The leap forward in holding opposing teams back has been so dramatic it will make your eyes water. The Utah Jazz defensive rating has been like pulling the G-forces of a vertical takeoff by an F-22 Raptor, gaining momentum as the thrusters are manipulated, then… BOOM!

The vapor cone as the Jazz climb into the stratosphere of the NBA’s defensive elite is a sight to behold.

The Utah Jazz defensive rating is climbing faster than an F-22 Raptor – Photo credit, Deb Mann

"When we last looked in, a scant four games ago, the Jazz had just climbed an entire place in the NBA defensive ratings after a single game — again, I can’t stress enough how unusual that is this deep into the season — from 26th to 25th.Four games later, the Utah Jazz defensive rating has made another leap. As noted in the latest edition of The Gobert Report, for the month of February, the Utah Jazz defensive rating was the NBA’s best. As in numero uno. Elite.The Utah Jazz are gaining a remarkable 0.5 defensive rating spots per game. Meanwhile, the Thunder slid one spot since Enes Kanter began starting for Scott Brooks.–The J Notes, March 3, 2015"

The Utah Jazz defensive rating has shot up to 17th overall in the NBA.

Obviously, the Jazz’s DRtg has been mach years ahead of any other team in the league in this span. It’s a sample size that we can count on at this point. It’s not like little glimpses of potential. The Utah Jazz defensive rating is a real, tangible thing that inspires terror on the court.

Utah Jazz defensive rating rise in ten games, since February 20, 2015

In ten games, the Utah Jazz defensive rating has risen nine spots. This just doesn’t happen this far into an NBA season. It’s barely believable. Yet there it is.

There are few things faster than the Utah Jazz defensive rating rise. Maybe a Hennessey Venom GT.

Maybe Ben Dowsett cramming four hours of radio into two on ESPN 700’s Salt City Hoops Show.

But not many other things are faster than the prominent and exceptional Utah Jazz defensive rating rise.

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