NBA: 8 trends to watch post-All-Star break

NBA Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
NBA Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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NBA Utah Jazz Rudy Gobert (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The identity change of the Utah Jazz

On November 22, exactly one month into the season, the Utah Jazz sat first in the NBA in defense. However, despite exchanging Ricky Rubio and Derrick Favors for Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic during the summer – effectively trading defense for offense – they were still sputtering offensively to the tune of 105.5 points scored per 100 possessions (22nd in the league).

The identity of the Jazz has since completely flipped upside-down. After November 22, Utah has been shockingly mediocre defensively. They have more than made up for it by shooting the living bejeezus out of the ball. Their 56.6% eFG% during this stretch is basically a peak Kevin Durant-Warriors level of shooting. Here’s how the two teams compare:

2016-17 Warriors: 38.3 percent from 3, 55.7 percent from 2, on a 35.9 percent 3-point attempt rate

2019-20 Jazz (since Nov. 22): 39.2 percent from 3, 55 percent from 2, on a 41.3 percent 3-point attempt rate

This hot streak has powered Utah to the second-best offense overall during this span. Can they maintain this obscene level of shooting? And will they be able to rekindle their defensive magic from past years and earlier this season? Time will tell what these answers may be.

The offensive and defensive shot distributions say that both trends should regress a bit back towards the mean. But the fact that we are even asking these questions illustrates just how formidable the Utah Jazz will be in the playoffs should they reach their potential.