NBA analyst mistakenly calls the Utah Jazz ‘one wing short’

Utah Jazz (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz (Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports) /

Utah Jazz top 3 wing defenders: Royce O’Neale, Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanovic

Average DBPM: 0.5

The Utah Jazz, the team allegedly short a defensive wing, provide two bench marks in this exercise. They’re the first team with two plus wing defenders, in O’Neale (DBPM: 1.7) and Ingles (0.7). They’re also the first team with a positive average between their top 3 wing defenders.

Still, if Dan Favale was right, it’s because he was directly referring to Bojan Bogdanovic and his -0.9 rating.

Bogey is comfortably a rotation-level player: in fact, that statement undersells his value to the Utah Jazz. His 0.7 Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) from 2020-21 tells us part of that story, and his 17.0 points per game on a 58.8 True Shooting % (TS%) tells the rest. Nonetheless, that DBPM is consistent with the marks he’s posted throughout his career. He is simply not a presence on the defensive end.

Still, it’s hard to justify the position that the Jazz are a short a defensive wing when at least two of the NBA’s top 5 teams roster exactly zero positive wing defenders according to DBPM, and they host two. Furthermore (spoiler alert), the next team on this list didn’t exactly blow Utah out of the water, with an average DBPM of 0.6. For those who struggle with math, that’s 0.1 more than the Utah Jazz.

That’s as close to nothing as something can get.

Maybe the Utah Jazz could use a third defensive-minded wing behind Royce O’Neale and Joe Ingles, but they’d have to be comfortable with a small piece of Quin Snyder’s rotational pie. Bojan Bogdanovic offers too much spacing and secondary shot creating to sacrifice his spot in favor of ramping up wing defense. The Jazz are probably better off living with his (relatively modest) defensive deficiencies and keeping the quality wing rotation they already have.