Be Nice to Ty (oh, and KOC too) - The Downbeat - #864

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The Jazz roster is unbalanced, to be sure. But what can be done to solve it? Also, a Raul Lopez and Karl Malone appearance (Disappointingly, not in the same place).

This team is just ridiculously difficult to coach and GM. The problem of last year (too many minutes for bad players) has been significantly rectified by Kevin O'Connor and Dennis Lindsey's moves. For evidence, take a look at John Hollinger's projections for the Jazz this season (though you'll need Insider). As a result, the team now projects to have for next season:

  • Two star-level players in Millsap and Jefferson
  • One significantly above-average player (Favors), who, by the way, plays the same position as the star level players.
  • Five players who project to be within 1 point of the average PER (15): Mo Williams, Gordon Hayward, Marvin Williams, Alec Burks, and Enes Kanter.
  • A player who's just slightly below that projection (Foye)
  • A veritable cavalcade of players who are fun, good to be around, deserve minutes, could be backups on other teams, and Ty Corbin will want to find minutes for (Watson, Evans, Tinsley, Carroll, Murphy).
So what does Ty do? Ideally, in the playoffs, he builds an 8 man rotation around the first three groups, but even that poses significant problems: there's no backup PG there (other than possibly Burks, but he had a significantly lower assist percentage last year than Al Jefferson), and in a reduced rotation, the team is even more skewed to be big. I guess you could always throw out Mo/Gordon/Millsap/Favors/Kanter-style big lineups, but if the team you meet in the playoffs has speed, any big lineup the Jazz play would be in significant trouble.

Normally when a roster has a balancing problem like that, rather than going to the coach for resolution, the natural response would be to ask for personnel changes from the General Manager. But even then, the execution gets really questionable. With a roster like this, it would make sense to either:

  1. Consolidate a couple of the average players into one better player.
  2. Trade a star big for a star wing.

The big problem with these approaches, especially right now, is that there simply aren't any good-to-great wing players on the trade market right now, ones that you'd want to trade for in trade styles 1 or 2. Smaller problems include:

  • Consolidation means that you'd have to play one of the lovable-but-bad players more. Many of the gains acquired by trading for an excellent 1, 2, or 3 would be sacrificed by the influence of playing a below-average player many more minutes per game. If we trade a big, our 4th PF/C becomes Brian Butch. That's a problem.
  • The star bigs we have are either far more valuable to us than to any other team (Favors, Kanter), due to the ridiculous amount of expectation we've built around them, or
  • The star bigs are expiring contracts and therefore provide no long-term value to the team that acquires them.
  • You would have to pay the star wing/PG player you would receive. This could interfere with successful extensions of the core players in 2-3 years.
That's why it doesn't make sense to make trades right now, and I would expect player movement on the Jazz to be limited this season: in short, the time isn't right. This puts a lot of pressure back on the coach, who has to deal with an imperfect but weirdly Pareto-optimal roster for the time being.

The moral of the story: be nice to Ty and KOC this season, guys. Short of just dumping talent and therefore losing more games, there's not much they can do to balance the roster.

Here's a picture of a Jazz player on a video game cover!

Nba_live_2004-dvd_medium

He could not possibly look more intimidating.

(By the way, if you follow me and already saw that I posted this picture on Twitter, I apologize sincerely. I hope that tomorrow's article featuring fresh new Andy analysis will make up for this repetition, and resulting content deficit, in your life. If you don't follow me, follow me on Twitter at @andyblarsen for significantly less analysis than you expect here at SLCDunk due to the 140 character limit. I am nothing if not upfront.)

I found this in Real GM's excellent Pic/Gif thread. If you're a fan of basketball hilarity and or incredibleness, you should visit that thread on a regular basis. You may have to click the photo to play.

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I wanted to end this Downbeat by giving you all a sincere thanks for making the Clark and Andy Show (the formerly named SLCDunk.com podcast) a success. While the data is a little bit fuzzy, largely due to me having installed it just 1 week ago, we've had roughly 350 people listen to the podcast in the last week. If we extrapolate that out to the short life of the program, about 1,500 individuals have listened to the podcast since its inception!

If you haven't heard the latest episode (or haven't heard any of them at all), you can give us a chance here:

Clark and Andy Podcast #6 - Financial Planning the Utah Jazz

Or you can always subscribe to us at iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

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