ATLANTA — For most of Quin Snyder’s two years as Utah Jazz coach, his team has ranked at the bottom of the NBA in “pace” — the number of offensive possessions per game.
Last year, the Jazz were dead last at 92.8 possessions per game, and this year they are 28th at 95.8.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, according to Snyder.
“It’s interesting about pace, because there’s nothing positive associated with being slow,’’ Snyder said. “When you say something’s slow, we don’t see how that’s great — it’s slow. But pace isn’t necessarily bad in this case.’’
Snyder uses the analogy of football, saying his team is one that runs the ball rather than passes a lot.
“I wouldn’t say it’s fashionable to play with pace,” he said. “But we’re not Golden State. For us we’re not focused on playing slow, we’re focused on getting high percentage shots and the way that our team is made up, sometimes that involves grinding it out in the halfcourt.’’
He says it also ties into Utah’s defensive style.
“It also involves making people play against our defense so if we’re playing good defense and getting back, someone’s not going to shoot the ball in the first seven seconds of the shot clock,’’ Snyder said. “That has an impact on the pace of the game as well.’’
One thing’s clear, Snyder is not about to change his team’s style just to be fashionable.
“As a coach you try to let your guys be successful any way they can, whether it’s getting shots they can make or playing a style that fits them, and for us right now that happens to be the way we play,” he said.
SNEAKY FAVORS: Usually NBA steals leaders are guards, such as the league's all-time leading steals leader John Stockton or Steph Curry, who ranks second in the league this year.
But not power forwards.
That’s why it’s surprising to see Utah’s Derrick Favors among the league leaders in steals. He ranks fourth in the NBA with 2.44 per game, behing Boston’s Jae Crowder, Golden State's Curry and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry.
Favors has at least three steals in six of Utah’s games this year and is a big reason why the Jazz rank second in the league in points allowed and fourth in field-goal percentage defense.
JAZZ NOTES: After shooting 45 percent from 3-point range in their previous three games, the Jazz have managed just 28.6 percent (12 of 42) in the last two games. Against Orlando, the Jazz had all 12 players score, and nine players scored at least six points. The Jazz had 24 assists against Orlando with rookie Raul Neto leading the way with a career-high seven assists. After Sunday's game here, the Jazz play Atlanta at Vivint Arena on March 8.