We did this once before, back after 10 games. In a perfect world I would be posting another one after 20 games, 30 games, 40 games, 50, games, and so on until 82 games. Sadly, we live in a world where Darko Milicic makes more than all of us put together. So, without much more fanfare – here are the stats after 22 total games.
Click on for a bit more analysis...
Words! Horrible horrible words!
I’m not going to go and do a major ‘who did what after 10 games vs. what are they doing now after 22 games’ write up here. No one wants to read that. I’m going to try something different here, and if you guys like it, then we can work with it going forward.
As Stockton was in his day, Deron Williams is the engine that drives this team. Matt Harpring has started to call him the D-Train, and I think that’s better than "Slick Willy". It’s probably more apt as well. Nicknames aside, Deron is dominating. He’s still playing a lot of minutes, probably more than we’d want, but he remains effective when he’s on the floor. His Go Rating is out of sight, at 144.551. By comparison, Earl Watson is clocking in with a 17.759, and Ronnie Price (not really playing much point now-a-days) has a Go Rating of 7.591. Go Rating isn’t the only thing we should look at (obviously).
Deron paces the Jazz with 21.82 ppg (while shooting Stockton-like), and he gets to the line 6.5 times a game (which isn’t quite Malone like) – which all adds up to a very impressive 1.395 points per shot. (aka Shooting worth) He’s also diming nearly 10 times a game, but his assist : turn over ratio is under 3 : 1. We’ve seen some ugly turn overs this season so far. Thankfully, Deron has some help (for the first time since Derek Fisher and Dee Brown were on the roster). Earl Watson isn’t going to impress you with his work in the boxscore, but his hustle and direction speaks volumes. Earl is sporting a 2.89 assist to turn over ratio – which is way better than anything we were getting from Brevin Knight or Jason Hart.
More than anything, our ‘Point guards’ have stepped it up on defense. Ronnie Price and Earl Watson (as the leaders of ‘The Swarm’) aren’t making all their jumpers – but they are going nuts on defense. Defensive Gambling shows which guys on the team make the smartest gambles on defense. Who’s second best on the team in DG? Earl Watson. Who’s fifth? Ronnie Price. What about Pure Hustle, which is the most self-explanatory of all my stats, then? I’d be lying if I said Watson and Price were leading the team in this too – but they aren’t. They don’t get enough offensive rebounds to displace the number of bigmen who are doing their bit on the offensive glass this year in the team rankings. Outside of the world of statistics, though, it’s obvious that few guys are working harder on defense than Watson and Price. They are doing so much Deron’s improved defense is overlooked.
Deron is also killing it as a shooting guard this season, and Price’s work has been admirable. I already talked about them, so here I’m going to focus on Andrei Kirilenko, Raja Bell, and C.J. Miles. I’m writing a post on Gordon Hayward that’ll be put up as soon as he can play in 20 games, so I’m not going to write much about him today. Doe, AK-47, and Raja are our 4th, 5th and 6th best offensive players by Go Rating. On average, this trio gives the team 31.33 points per game, 5.65 assists per game, and 10.85 rebounds per game. That’s not great, but it’s not horrible either. They use up about 89.2% of total 96 total available minutes on the wings. The main problem with their production is that they are ALL averaging less than 43 fg% right now individually. They make up for it by going 92 / 84 / 80 at the free throw line, and 36 / 33 / 41 from deep respectfully. You may have noticed that this season teams are shooting horribly against us from deep. Credit has to go partly to these guys who are playing defense together at a very high rate right now.
They all play differently (Bell is a spot up shooter, CJ isn’t as good as Raja is at that, but he also has a floor game, while AK can post up and is pass happy on drives) – but the one common factor for them is that they are all inconsistent. Yet, they appear to be rounding into form (save for AK’s current cold streak), but I think we can expect more from them going forward. One example would be my silly little theory that C.J. could be getting to the free throw line more than 2 times a game. Andrei gets there 4.6 times a game, as a point of reference. As he continues to be scouted this season, I’d like for him to add a pump fake on some of his catch and shoot attempts, which should allow him to try to draw a foul on a defender in the air. He’s a good free throw shooter, it would be advantageous to get him to the line more than 1.17 times per game more than Fesenko does.
Let’s be honest, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap aren’t where we want them to be just yet. Naturally, they’ve only played 22 games with one another, right? Well, I think they could be playing a little bit better than they are together. When one of them is on the bench, the other one seems more comfortable. We’re going to need them working in concert together when they are on the floor together though. Two problems exist immediately, one is floor spacing and the other is the Al Jefferson Solar System. Floor spacing isn’t going to improve until we either get more consistent shooting from our wings, or Mehmet Okur returns. What should be improving now would be the Al Jefferson solar system. There still isn’t enough off the ball movement when the ball goes into Al. I can remember only three times all season long where the two have been able to pass to one another that resulted in a good score. The solar system needs to evolve in order for this pair to be working well together. (Take a look at the Jazz offense when Karl Malone and Antoine Carr were in the game together, or Karl Malone and Armen Gilliam were in the game together, or Karl Malone and Tom Chambers, or . . . )
That said, a front line that goes 17 / 9 / 2 and 17 / 8 / 3 is a pretty darn good front line. Millsap is in a funk right now, and Big Al has a shooting worth that’s Sub-Iverson at this point. Our dominant post scorer is supposed to be efficient as well. Al is shooting 48 fg% right now, which may have been okay in Minnesota when he took all the shots while being double and triple teamed. It’s not going to get the job done in the Jazz precision offense.
Defense is another story all together – yes they are both in the Top 5 on the team in both Defensive Gambling *and* Pure Hustle, but sometimes real ‘bigmen’ can score easily against them. When he was actually allowed to touch the ball on offense, Marc Gasol was looking like Pau Gasol against this defensive tandem last night. Alternatively, Zach Randolph couldn’t get any more offensive rebounds if he was in the gym by himself. It’s sad, especially so because I’ve been a long-time proponent of the Defensive Rebounds =/= Defense religion for a while, but we need more defensive rebounds from these guys. I don’t need to explore this too much, they just need to do a better job. They are our best rebounders on the team. They need to be getting them.
Mehmet Okur has yet to play for us this season. He’s a scoring big. He’s going to add something to our team, and all I want for Christmas this year is a healthy Money Man for the playoffs.
Swarm members Francisco Elson, Kyrylo Fesenko, and Jeremy Evans are fan favorites. This isn’t just because they are (traditionally) end of the bench guys who don’t get much playing time. They are fan favorites because of their play on the court. Elson is tough, not afraid to foul, can hit an unguarded 18 footer, and leads the team in FT% at 93.3%. Fes is humongous, getting better on defense, and getting beat up out there on the floor. When he ‘dove’ into the crowd to save a ball in a recent game I knew that he was willing to put the team first, over his body. Jeremy Evans is super skinny, yet dunking on everyone. Statistically they aren’t much to talk about. I’m not just going to write good things here though.
Elson doesn’t have the most reliable hands on the team. Passes, potential rebounds, and some lose balls elude him – despite being a 10 year NBA veteran. Fesenko is shooting his worst fg% since his rookie season and has set a career low at the free throw line. Focusing on defense isn’t bad, but it would be nice to see him put both sides of the game together like a McDLT. Evans, well, he’s not playing for the Flash. I don’t have a valid criticism of him besides weighing way too close to my weight for my liking.
These are updated results for 22 games. On Sunday I put out some GO Ratings which were for only 21 games. (YES, I do extra work for you guys!) Watson, for example, went down from 20 to 17. Also, if you want to read the definitions / formulas for GO Rating / Pure hustle etc . . . click here. If you want a frame of reference for Go Ratings, then click here. Lastly, links to the tables can be found here and here.