Feb 22, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) drives against Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) in the second quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
I have been accused of a lot of things since blogging. I've been accused of never proof-reading. Guilty. I've been accused of writing too many words on a subject no one cares about. Guilty. I've been accused of writing a blog post from a specific point of view. Guilty, but hey, this is a blog -- not the news. If you want boring junk that's the facts with no analysis read a non-biased newspaper. Oh wait, there are none. (Welcome to reality) One thing which I don't think you can ever accuse me of is not doing my homework. (Shut up!)
What do I want? I want the Jazz to win a title. I'm bringing this up now because of the communication some have been having with me. (Sorry if you think the timing is wrong, during our playoff push) Just because I'm not happy with certain aspects of the team now doesn't mean I'm still not rooting for the team to win the ultimate goal -- a title. I love the Jazz. If I did not I would not be critical of what the Jazz do on and off the court, and in the front office. Period.
I want the Jazz to win the title. To win the title you need to win a number of playoff series'. In order to do that you need a lot of things to happen, you need to be able to win at home and on the road, and you need to be able to win close games. Both of those things are never easy to do -- but they become infinitely easier if you have good players on your team. You need All-NBA players. NO team that's won the title has won it without All-NBA players (guys who have been regarded as such before or during their title season). It doesn't matter how much you love your players, if they aren't All-NBA players your team is not going to advance far in the playoffs.
Let's take a look at what makes an All-NBA player . . .also excuse the excessive Socratic method in this post
What we're working with, identification if we have All-NBA players, and how to get them:
My ultimate goal is to win the title. To do so, you need the right players. Right now our team is led by one former all-star (Devin Harris), and two guys who have never been All-Stars. These are not All-NBA players. We're a .500 team, and we're at a very good risk of 'giving it our all' and missing the playoffs. This thing that the Jazz are doing here, this is not succeeding. And this is not working towards the end goal of a title.
To win a title you need All-NBA players. How do teams get these players? They get them in three ways: the draft, via trades, or via free agency.
Is Salt Lake City a place that a Top 15 player is going to want to sign with as a free agent? No. It is silly to suggest it. We have to overpay to get 3rd year Carlos Boozer to come over. The Jazz are not a place where we can honestly get an All-NBA player via free agency. This means that we only have the other two options available: via trades, or via the draft.
In order to trade for an All-NBA player you need the right parts. The Nets rented Deron Williams (an All-NBA player who was twice on the All-NBA second team) for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and a draft pick that became Enes Kanter. Using the conservation of mass and conservation of energy rules we do have the pieces to trade for an All-NBA player. How likely is it that we do? I don't know. A conservative estimate is that we have a 20% shot at actually doing it. I'm basing this upon the frequency of the Jazz to let guys play out their contracts here and then sign somewhere else as a free agent (Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, Andrei Kirilenko, etc). The Jazz give up on the assets they have for cap space. We've got a lot of trade exemptions right now. I've never seed a trade exemption be awarded an All-NBA honor before though.
I guess this honestly leaves it up to the Jazz to find an All-NBA type via the draft.
That's why the draft is important. KOC has done a great job of getting draft picks. I hope time is on his side about how great the players he picks turn out. The other side of the problem is developing these picks. The more you play a young guy the more you learn about him. The more you learn about him the better. Why? Because it gives you, the team who drafted him, a head start on knowing if what you picked is 'keeper material' or someone you should trade away. Oklahoma City cleared house and played their young guys a lot. They learned that Jeff Green wasn't the real deal and sent him away. They learned that about Jeff Green by actually playing him. And they traded him away (and asset) for a defensive big who had just recently won an NBA champion as a starter. That's amazing.
Draft picks are good because they are valuable. They are valuable because they can get you a good player directly from drafting him, or indirectly by trading the pick (or if after the draft, the player) away for someone else. This is why draft picks, especially lotto picks, are valuable. More valuable than renting a rotation guy only to see them walk away when their contract is done. (Like, again, the Jazz did with Kyle Korver who wanted to return to the Jazz, btw)
The sooner you figure out about a lotto guy the better: is he a keeper, someone with value to trade, or a lost cause?
It's hard to figure it out if you don't get a chance to see who that guy is. And it just retards the rest of the system.
The bad news is that in a lockout shortened year there is less available time. Training camp was shorter. There were fewer preseason games. There are less months to the season. There are less practices. Less film sessions. There are even (obviously) less games. Going down from 82 games to 66 means that there are 768 less actual game minutes this season.
Playing a guy 10 mpg for a season is not a big deal. But When there is 800 less minutes in a season, that means in the off chance of a blow out he would have gotten twice that time on the court. Because there are less minutes (or 12.8 less hours) this season in just games alone everyone is at a disadvantage.
The Jazz don't know who they have. And the guys they have don't know where they fit.
And we've seen it all season long.
And we need to see what we have. Why? Because we need to see if the only one available form of the Jazz getting an All-NBA player type actually GOT us an All-NBA type.
If you are honest and want to win the title, you need an All-NBA type. If you want to be a playoff contender you need an All-NBA type. If you want to have good attendance, and sell merch, you need an All-NBA type. It's in the Jazz best interest to have an All-NBA type -- even if they aren't going for the title (what I want).
And we can only get one through the draft.
And we've gotten 4 lotto picks in 2 years.
We need to find out who they are.
What is an All-NBA Type?
Since the 2000-2001 season there have been 52 All-NBA Players. There are three five man teams each year, so that's a Top 15. These are All-NBA Types. The Average All-NBA Player from 2000-2001 to 2010-2011 was a 1st round, pick 10 player (Lotto guy), who also played 28.3 mpg as a rookie.
Out of all 52 guys only 11 were NOT lotto picks:
- Ben Wallace - undrafted;
- Carlos Boozer, 2nd round;
- Gilbert Arenas, 2nd round;
- Jermaine O'Neal #17;
- Manu Ginobili, 2nd round;
- Metta World Peace #16;
- Michael Redd, 2nd round;
- Sam Cassell #24;
- Steve Nash #15;
- Tony Parker #28;
- and Zach Randolph #19
And of all 52 guys who made an All-NBA team, only 13 did not play at least 24.0 mpg as a rookie:
- Baron Davis, 18.6 mpg as a rookie --> 38.9 mpg as a soph
- Ben Wallace, 5.8 mpg as a rookie --> 16.8 as a soph, 26.8 in 3rd year
- Dirk Nowitzki, 20.4 mpg as a rookie --> 35.8 mpg as a soph
- Jermaine O'Neal 10.2 mpg as a rookie --> did not play more than half until 5th season
- Kobe Bryant, 15.5 mpg as a rookie --> 26.0 mpg as a soph and Lakers got rid of Eddie Jones
- LaMarcus Aldridge, 22.1 mpg as a rookie --> 34.9 mpg as a soph
- Manu Ginobili, 20.7 mpg as a rookie --> 29.4 mpg as a soph
- Michael Redd, 5.8 mpg as a rookie --> 28.2 mpg in his 3rd year
- Peja Stojakovic, 21.4 mpg as a rookie, 23.6 mpg as a soph, 38.7 mpg in 3rd year
- Sam Cassell, 17.0 mpg as a rookie, 23.0 mpg as a soph, 27.6 in his 3rd year
- Steve Nash, 10.5 mpg as a rookie, 21.9 mpg as a soph, 31.7 mpg in 3rd year
- Tracy McGrady, 18.4 mpg as rookie, 22.6 mpg as a soph, 31.2 mpg in 3rd year
- Zach Randolph, 5.8 mpg as a rookie, 16.9 mpg as a soph, 37.9 mpg in 3rd year
There are a few groups of players here: guys who immediately got a huge boost in their 2nd years; guys who were stuck behind really good players (which was the case for Steve Nash, Cassell, Zach Randolph; and guys who were on the "slow development plan" (which is like Jermaine who was a HS player when drafted).
Dirk and Kobe didn't play half the season in their rookie years . . . but Kobe's MPG went up by +10.5 mpg in his soph year. Dirk's went up by +15.4 mpg in his soph year.
The teams played those guys, and saw that they were good and gave them all the minutes in the world. A guy like Dwyane Wade came out and played 34.9 mpg as a rookie.
What about our guys?
Derrick Favors is playing 20.5 mpg, which is up +0.3 mpg from last year. Gordon Hayward went up from 16.9 mpg to 29.6 mpg. So in the case of our sophs, only one of them is getting the right amount of minutes. Rookies? Enes Kanter is playing 13.2 mpg this year, and Alec Burks is playing 15.7 mpg. Time will tell about all four of those guys. But the Jazz are only giving playing time to one of those four. There's so little you can learn about a player by watching the older guys who aren't even All-Stars.
What is going right and what is going wrong?
The Jazz are doing Gordon Hayward right by playing him 29.6 mpg. If young players were prone to over-dunking as cookies are apt to do in milk, then WHY THE HECK DOES YOUR OWN DUMB A** FOLKSY DRILL BABY DRILL ANALOGY BREAK DOWN WHEN YOU LOOK AT YOUR OWN STARTING LINE UP? If only SOME players are prone to not being able to handle big minutes then don't waste lotto picks on them. (Oh and you prob only find out if they can't handle it by actually playing them, shocking.) This isn't hard -- I'm just asking for internal consistency here.
And I'm asking for a championship. And you're not going to get one without at LEAST ONE All-NBA Player on the team. And we can only get All-NBA players through drafting them and then developing them. And right now we're only developing one of them. Maybe Kanter is one of the many many Lotto Picks who never become a star. That's fine. We don't know if he doesn't play though. Alec Burks? The Corner Pimp with Swagg for days? Even in this slump he's as effective at scoring as our main meal ticket big Al Jefferson. For the record, though, he IS more efficient over the course of the season than Al in scoring (with the metric of points per shot (PPS)). He's only started getting minutes now because Raja Bell and Josh Howard are both searching for their spirit animal guides. He needs more mins next year (but we'll just then validate my "why didn't we play him THIS year" issue).
The big problem is Derrick Favors. He's the only one of our bigs with the length to be a defensive force inside. He is playing good defense. And while he has a lot of flaws to his game -- he plays with power in the paint. And from his rookie year to this year his MPG is only +0.3 mpg. That's wrong.
Especially since for his age, talent level, and potential -- he could be an All-NBA player later on in his career.
I can understand not playing him because of Al and Sap -- but it's not like they are leading us to rings, they can't even lead us to the playoffs in a year where we catch so many breaks (Rubio going down, etc).
What about the cookie analogy? The AVERAGE All-NBA player from over the last decade has played 28.3 mpg as a rookie. Maybe this is all opinion -- but those are cold hard facts. And it's another fact that the players who did not play half a game as a rookie shortly did in their next season. And it's another cold hard fact that we're not winning anything without an All-NBA player on our team.
You can hate what I have to say, but it's cognitive dissonance to pretend what I'm not saying is not also the truth. Or, I dunno, you could just be flat out paid to say the opposite is true as your job. Either or, really. To-may-toe / Toh-mah-toh.
|All-NBA Teams||Rookie Season|
|All-NBA Teams||Rookie Season|
|All-NBA Teams||Rookie Season|
|All-NBA Teams||Rookie Season|
|Metta World Peace||1||1||1||16||1999||31.1|
|All-NBA Teams||Rookie Season|