Utah Jazz: One area of improvement for every player on the roster

Utah Jazz (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neale (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

Royce O’Neale: Shot creation 

First, a caveat: Royce O’Neale is unlikely to add a great deal of shot creation to his game for the 2021-22 season. O’Neale has carved out a role as a superb 3-and-D wing as a member of the Utah Jazz and elsewhere throughout his NBA career, and it’s fair to assume that if he could create shots for himself, he’d be doing so by now.

That’s fine: 3-and-Ds of O’Neale’s caliber are in high demand across the league, and for good reason. His 38% accuracy on 3.9 three-point attempts per game coupled with his stout 108 Defensive Rating will be more-than-enough to stay in Coach Snyder’s good graces.

Nonetheless, if you’re looking to identify a potential area of improvement for O’Neale, the ability to create shots for himself and others could elevate him from solid role player to a player with higher esteem.

Miye Oni: General improvement

Another rookie-or-sophomore who has languished on the back of Coach Snyder’s bench, Miye Oni is a raw, soon-to-be third year player with a ton of potential. In the meantime, a perusal of his per-36 numbers reflect a number of areas in which improvement is critical for the young guard/wing.

His 4.2 fouls per 36 minutes seem like a good place to start. They’re much too high for any player, yet along a non-big. His 35.4 FG% needs to jump by at least 5% for him to become a viable rotation option. Furthermore, he’s flashed very little skill in the realm of playmaking with 1.9 assists per 36 minutes.

Oni is a quick, explosive athlete with the necessary physical tools to make an impact in the NBA. However, if he’s going to do so, he’ll need to develop a lot of important skills first.

Eric Paschall: Defense

We’ve already covered Paschall’s need for defensive improvement at length, but it warrants a repeated mention.

A bruising combo forward, Paschall is a player with significant offensive utility, as demonstrated by his career 18.7 points per 36 minutes across two seasons with the recently dynastic Golden State Warriors. Paschall can drive to the basket with great effectiveness, and made significant strides in his three-point shooting in his two seasons in the Bay Area, jumping from 28.7% to 33.3% accuracy. The kid, without question, can score the ball.

Still, his DBPM of -1.5 leaves much to be desired. It’s possible that Paschall’s ceiling on that end is limited as a “tweener”: he may be too short to consistently protect the rim, and too hefty to consistently guard the perimeter.

If he can progress on the defensive end, he has an opportunity to become a key acquisition for the Utah Jazz this season.

MaCio Teague: Playmaking 

Teague will be entering his first season with the Utah Jazz, and in all likelihood, it may more closely resemble his first season with the Salt Lake City Stars. Nonetheless, making strides in the playmaking department could do wonders for Teague’s chances of seeing playing time in the big league.

The 1.9 assists per game he averaged during his time at Baylor demonstrate his need for improvement on that end. Teague has exceptional scoring chops, but at 6’4 and 195 pounds, it may be difficult for him to earn a role as a featured scorer at the NBA level. If he was a player who could set up teammates on a consistent basis, his likelihood of finding success at the NBA level would increase significantly.

Hassan WhitesideDefensive consistency 

Whiteside is an enigma. Assessments of his defensive impact are as divisive among NBA fans as identity politics are on an American College campus. Nonetheless, advanced stats indicate that his doubters have a stronger case than his supporters. Last season, Whiteside posted a negative DBPM of -2.5.

Whiteside can block shots in bunches. For proof, look no further than the obscene 3.7 per game he blocked for the Miami Heat in 2015-16. However, he has often been accused of “chasing” blocks at the expense of maintaining proper defensive positioning throughout his career.

Next. How Donovan Mitchell can compete for MVP. dark

The Utah Jazz can provide the veteran big man with an opportunity to break this bad habit in the 2021-22 season. If he can, he should function as one of the best backup bigs in the NBA behind the always-in-position Rudy Gobert.