“Shoot the fucking ball”

The innovation that made the Utah Jazz the best team in the NBA

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BY TOM HABERSTROH

In 2014-15, Quin Snyder’s first year coaching the Utah Jazz, he brought a certain offensive style. Utah led the league with 364.1 passes per game. The next season, the Jazz sat atop the pass leaderboard once again. This was a team about ball movement and utilizing all 24 seconds of the shot clock. With a young roster lacking downhill attackers, it made sense.

But it didn’t do the trick. The Jazz were good, at times excellent. But they kept losing in the playoffs, especially to the Mike D’Antoni/James Harden Rockets, who almost never passed and often seemed to simply launch 3-pointers the moment they got the ball. 

Coach Snyder had cooked up a beautiful and intricate offense—the Rockets almost seemed to mock it.

So, on a road trip about a year ago, the Jazz made changes. Profound changes. 

Jazz forward Georges Niang specifically remembers a game in Boston last March: “I do remember Coach telling me: Shoot the fucking ball!

What they do now is fascinating, brilliant, and pr…

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