Hard defense creates easy offense.
It sounds like a stereotypical high school basketball motto that is sometimes true. But does that turn a Jazz offense that lost their top two scorers into the Golden State Warriors? Not so fast.
The Jazz have hovered around a top 5 defensive team the last few years in the league thanks to the emergence of rim protector Rudy Gobert. This offseason the Jazz front office has almost been building a Great Wall of Utah to keep opponents from scoring over it.
Take a guy on the Boston Celtics who wasn’t afraid to get in the face of the defending champions. Then take a long Swiss player who closes on holes in the defense quicker than a cheese lover closes on holes in Swiss cheese. Then take a guy from Europe who was Euro League MVP and is a monster on defense who sometimes scores crazy shots on offense.
These are the moves the Jazz have made since free agency began. Jonas Jerebko, Thabo Sefolosha and Epke Udoh. These guys might not start for the Jazz but they will provide enough defensive energy off the bench to tire out the opposing team while letting the starters rest.
Jonas Jerebko shined in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals in the lone win the Boston Celtics got over the Cleveland Cavaliers. He scored 10 points, grabbed 5 boards and dropped a dime and a swat. He even called out Kevin Love for flopping. He is one bad dude and recently tweeted that he has always been a Jazz fan since he was younger.
Thabo Sefolosha was a key player on the 2012 Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder. He is a long guy who mostly defends and will fit well into a system that is known for developing its players.
Epke Udoh added a new move to his offensive repertoire. Former Aggie great Jaycee Carroll played the star in Euro League recently and said he initially thought Udoh was only good on defense until he started putting up several money 15 foot shots. This can spread the floor and provide the Jazz with a stretch four spark that has still been yet to be provided with the current Jazz defensive Specialist bigs.
The Jazz look like they will keep making moves this offseason to try and inch their way into the upper echelon of the Western Conference but fans can’t help but be pleased with what they’ve seen so far. The Jazz look like a mid tier playoff team that could move into upper tier if they sign one more key player. Many key players have already been taken in this wild offseason so look for Dennis Lindsey to try until the trade deadline to pull a mataphorical rabbit out of a Jazz hat.