Jazz Bench Must Improve



Some of you may have noticed that Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has leaned heavily on his starters so far this season, more so than years past.

Sloan rarely plays guys for 40 minutes-a-game if he doesn't have to, but this year Deron Williams and Al Jefferson have both logged two games of at least 40 minutes, while Paul Millsap has been required to play three of 38, 38, and 39. Both Williams and Jefferson are averaging better than 36 minutes-per-game.

It's been out of necessity, however, as Utah's bench has struggled. Sloan wants to win and his starters give him the best chance to do so. He knows an entire season can come down to one game, i.e. Phoenix last April.

The average set of NBA starters plays 67% of the game, with the second-stringers logging 30%, and 3% being what we'll call "deep stringers," who play out necessity of injuries to starters/rotation players, or "gastric distress," or what have you.

Not so for the Jazz.

Through five games the Jazz bench has accounted for only 25.8% of the total minutes played (and interestingly enough also 25.8 points-per-game).

The good news is that in that 1/4 of the available time they have produced 1/3 of the team's total points production (indicating that the starters are also slacking), but that's not nearly enough.

After leaning heavily on the bench in the first game against the Denver Nuggets, to the tune of 41% of the total available minutes, Sloan apparently didn't like what he saw and has cut the pine players' time to an average of 22% since, oddly coinciding with the Jazz's bench rank of 22nd in the league.

Yes, rookie Gordan Hayward looked good for a couple games, but I have to think his shining was due mostly to how dismal the rest of the team showed. C.J. Miles has been the most/only consistent force off of Utah's bench, and his game comes and goes with the ebb and flow as well.

The Jazz bench is currently -4.6 in defensive efficiency, one of the worst in offensive efficiency, and nets an extremely un-Jazz-like, anemic five assists-a-game among them.

They're being out-scored, out-rebounded, and out-assisted.

We knew the new faces, starters and role players alike, would need some time to get into the game, but what we didn't realize was that the when the backups did they'd be this bad.

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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