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"Sometimes the only sane answer to an insane world is insanity." - Fox Mulder (The Walk)

When you enter Fox Mulder's office, one of the first things that jumps out at you, besides clutter and a variety of books, is a poster of a UFO with the words "I WANT TO BELIEVE" written on the bottom. This poster helped Mulder stay focused; you see, Mulder's ultimate goal was to uncover what he believed to be a government conspiracy to hide the truth about alien life, and to find out what happened to his sister who had mysteriously disappeared in his youth.

Almost as mysterious as the disappearance of Mulder's sister is the extent Ty plays his vets. This mystery is almost to X-File levels (queue X-File theme song):

Consequently, I decided it was time to investigate this weird phenomenon. First, I pulled out my NBA 2K12 game and traded Al Jefferson for Richard Jefferson (yes, NBA 2K12; I bought it for $7 a month ago - what can I say, I'm cheap.) I changed Richard Jefferson's role from "Bench Warmer" to "Star" and then allocated 45 minutes a game to him. Instantly RJeff's player mood went from "Ecstatic" to "Stupid Jubilation"...interesting.

Next, I went snooping around Ty's office. First thing I noticed was the lack of technology - no iPad, no computer, no telephone, just a can tied to a string and an abacus. I found a sticky note on his abacus that read "Beware of the numbers game". Looking around, there were a couple of things that struck me as odd (beside the half eaten banana tuna fish sandwich wrapped in tin foil that came from the Banana Stand restaurant). So I pulled out my old school, black, three inch by one inch private detective camera I bought from Boys Life in 1988 and snapped a couple of pictures.

I've reproduced the first picture below:

Year Returning Players Years With Team Wins
1980-81 5 20 28
1981-82 8 23 25
1982-83 6 27 30
1983-84 9 31 45
1984-85 10 43 41
1985-86 9 37 42
1986-87 9 38 44
1987-88 10 51 47
1988-89 9 50 51
1989-90 10 55 55
1990-91 8 54 54
1991-92 8 52 55
1992-93 8 49 47
1993-94 8 46 53
1994-95 12 50 60
1995-96 10 49 55
1996-97 12 56 64
1997-98 11 62 62
R-squared 54.63% 84.66%

First of all, this table was found on green graphing paper. Secondly, I'm not sure Ty prepared it because it includes a calculation of R-squared (the coefficient of determination). R-squared is used to indicate how close data fits to a regression line. An R-squared of 1 or 100% indicates that the data fits the line perfectly. I assumed the column that states "Returning Players" meant players returning to the team from the prior year. The next column "Years With Team" I took to mean the number of combined player years with the Jazz. The final column "Wins" looked like it represented the number of wins the team had. I was instantly intrigued - there seemed to be a very high correlation between number of years players were on the Jazz and wins. Okay, let's look at the next picture:

It's a Vet Thing

Looks like whoever gave Ty this chart is on to something. While this data doesn't show a "Vet" in terms of years in the league equates to wins, it does show that the time a player spends in the Jazz system equates to additional wins. Very intriguing.

What if you factor in the number of returning players? The R-squared jumps slightly from 84.66% to 86.96%.

How does this data relate to our current Jazz team? The 2013-14 Jazz team has a combined number of player years with the team of 32 (I included Jamaal Tinsley in his third year with the team, and all the new guys got 1 year this being their first year with the team), and there were 7 players returning to the 2013-14 team from 2012-13 (again included Jamaal Tinsley).

Looking at the table in the first picture (above) that seems to place the team between the 1982-83 Jazz and the 1983-84 Jazz. The 1982-83 Jazz had 30 wins and the 1983-84 Jazz had 45 wins.

Let's look at that 1982-83 team. That team featured Adrian Dantley (SF - 6 years experience and in his 4th year with the team), Rickey Green (PG - 4 years experience and in his 3rd year with the team), Darrell Griffith (SG - 2 years experience and in his 3rd year with the team), and Danny Schayes (C - 1 year experience and in his 2nd year with the team). That team also had a rookie center named Mark Eaton and three other rookies (four total rookies). The draft following the season, the team drafted Thurl Bailey with the 7th overall pick and Bob Hansen with the 54th overall pick.

Our 2013-14 team features Gordon Hayward (SG - 3 years experience and in his 4th year with the team), Derrick Favors (PF - 3 years experience and in his 4th year with the team), Enes Kanter (C - 2 years experience and in his 3rd year with the team), and Alec Burks (SG - 2 years experience and in his 3rd year with the team). We also have rookies Trey Burke, Rudy Gobert, and Ian Clark (three total rookies).

Now I have another mystery. It doesn't look like we should be losing as many games as we have this year (isn't that just like an X-File, go looking for an answer and get another question.)

In fact, the data suggests this year's Jazz team should win between 32 and 35 games. That's not going to happen. We are under-performing.

Clearly, I have gone down the wrong path on trying to figure out why Ty plays vets as much as he does, and may never know why, much like trying to figure out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

As my sleuthing skills are obviously lacking, can you help me understand this new mystery?

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

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