Jazz Storyline: What Makes a Good Road Basketball Team?

Anyone who reads this blog knows I’m a loyal LockedonSports follower.  I think what David Locke is doing with his podcasts and bringing the players to the fans is a great thing.  His new Storyline series I think it going to be excellent.  They got me thinking though how I would answer some of these questions were Locke to ask me so I am going to utilize his questions to the team to keep in touch with the Jazz team on a personal level.

What makes a good road basketball team and can the Jazz be a good road basketball team?

The more and more I observe sports in general, the more convinced I am that, except in the case of football (and really only in the most die-hard of locales), there does not exist a true home court advantage.  Sure, it has to be exhilarating to play in front of tens of thousands of screaming people all who want you to win and I’m sure that it provides a boost to many people but I don’t think that quite consists of an advantage.  But on the road, there are often many factors that detract from one’s ability to play at his or her full potential.  You don’t get to sleep in your own bed the night before, road food, long hours, and flying thousands of miles are just a few of the distractions. But I think that is where a good road team makes its case for being a great overall team.

In the past four seasons, the Jazz haven’t really been road warriors (in fact, of those four, they only have one winning record – 2009.)

Utah Jazz
Overall
%
Home
%
Road
%
W
L
W
L
W
L
2011
36
30
55%
25
8
76%
11
22
33%
2010
39
43
48%
21
20
51%
18
23
44%
2009
53
29
65%
32
9
78%
21
20
51%
2008
48
34
59%
33
8
80%
15
26
37%

But since championships are usually won by some measure on the road, the Jazz have to figure out how to improve their road record.  So how do they do that?  The best solution I can give is several-fold:

  • Play as a team and for the team always.  You can’t go off script and try to be a hero because we don’t have a super star on this team.  The moment someone goes off script, the more likely the plan is to derail.
  • Stay focused.  Crowds will get rowdy and the opposing team will make runs.  Keep in mind that in basketball, both teams will usually make runs during the course of a game.  The key is to absorb their run(s) and not let them get out of control.  Limiting the amount and duration of a run and then countering with one of your own is the key to keeping home fans from screaming like lunatics while you attempt to right the ship.
  • Play defense.  The best offense always starts with good defense.  Play the passing lanes, keep your hands up and be opportunistic.  When you can make stops on the defensive end, quick transition buckets result on the other end.
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