Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets: Keys to earning first road victory

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 08: Rudy Gobert (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 08: Rudy Gobert (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Utah Jazz Rodney Hood Ricky Rubio
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – OCTOBER 30: Utah Jazz guards Ricky Rubio and Rodney Hood (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /

Key #1 – The backcourt must get going

Without question, the most disappointing aspect of the Utah Jazz’s offense of late has been none other than Rodney Hood. Although becoming a true Gordon Hayward replacement was never really all that realistic of a possibility in my mind due to their differing skill sets, Hood was largely heralded this offseason as the new Utah Jazz go-to guy on offense.

Perhaps Rodney Hood can still become that, but I must say that even in the early stages of the 2017-18 season, my patience in him is wearing thin and my belief in him being cut out as that type of player is rapidly shrinking. As much as I’ve tried to believe in Hood’s ability to be a major impact player for this team, he unfortunately seems to fall short time and time again.

In the win over Portland, Hood might as well have not even suited up as he had an absolutely dismal showing. He went 0-for-11 from the field without taking a single trip to the line and truly had next to no positive impact on the game. Down the stretch, Quin Snyder opted to sit the fourth-year player on the bench in exchange for Donovan Mitchell who, even at his young age, has already proven to be a more reliable option for the Jazz.

That’s exciting for Donovan, but very much discouraging for Hood. Rodney would go on to follow up his dismal showing against the Blazers with a better, but still not encouraging performance against Toronto as he finished with 17 points on an inefficient 6-of-19 (31.6 percent) shooting night. He’ll have to step up and be much more prolific offensively if he hopes to get into a rhythm and propel the Jazz to victory over the Rockets.

But by no means will he, or any other Jazz player for that matter, be able to do it by himself. Hood will need plenty of help from his team to be successful and one of those guys who will have to step up is Ricky Rubio. Rubio had been playing amazing ball and it culminated in his clutch performance against the Blazers which saw him log 30 points including 11 in overtime, but then he quickly returned to his reputed shooting woes in the loss to Toronto.

Ricky went just 3-of-12 from the floor in that contest including 0-of-4 from deep. While it’s nice to see Rubio get his shot to fall at times, such as in the win over Portland, he doesn’t need to feel like he has to carry the scoring load by himself. Instead, Rubio needs to focus on getting his teammates involved and being as efficient as possible.

If Rubio can help make Hood and the rest of the Jazz better, while having an intelligent and efficient shooting night (not necessarily racking up a bunch of points), that will be the recipe for success for Utah’s struggling backcourt and team as a whole.