Are the young guys getting shafted?: additional analysis

By now most of you probably regard me as a Corbin apologist. Maybe this will seem like more of the same -- or maybe not.

Last week I gave some playing-time comparisons for the Jazz's youngsters, comparisons that, in and of themselves, were clearly limited (though I hope they were useful in widening the picture we have of Ty). I want to give a few more stats today with this primary question in mind: Are the Jazz's C5 (or whatever we're calling them) playing too little this season in comparison with their peers? In other words, based on comparison with NBA players elsewhere, are the Jazz's young guys being shortchanged in playing time?

Let me give a few caveats first.

I'd rather this not turn into a discussion on:

  • Last year (I think I know the opinions on that)
  • Vets vs. youngsters minutes (I believe Ty prefers vets like almost everyone else does, though I don't believe the strength of that preference is as strong as most people here seem to think it is; I also don't believe the the fact that vets gets minutes automatically means that youngsters aren't developing as they could; and I strongly reject the idea that having two vets in the 27 mpg range has cheapened the Jazz's accomplishments/development this year)
  • C5 playing time as a group (I think Corbin clearly could/should have been playing them more together; nevertheless, they won't really begin to hit their peak for another four years or so--there's plenty of time for them to develop chemistry. If Lindsey doesn't think Corbin is giving them enough opportunity to show what they can do together, the onus is on Lindsey more than Corbin to fix that.)
  • Who starts and who doesn't.

It seems to me that while these other types of issues have some significance, the far more important issue this year and for the long run is whether these guys are getting enough time to develop in an absolute sense. While I don't think that the relationship between playing time and development is a simple relationship (more playing time generally goes along with more development, I agree, but more playing time isn't always the answer to produce better development), I do think it's worthwhile to ask whether the young guys are getting the playing time they "deserve" (though I dislike that phrase because it's usually spoken from a too-narrow point of view).

To add to the assessment of that, I think it makes sense to compare what the Jazz's guys are getting with what other NBA players in similar circumstances are getting. So I comparatively examined their playing time in three ways:

  • Starter vs. reserve minutes. 30 teams with 5 starters means 150 NBA players getting starter minutes. The top 30 mpg-ranked players can be considered Starter 1 minutes, ranks 31-60 are Starter 2, and so on. Players 151-180 are Reserve 1 minutes, and so on.
  • Production rank vs. mpg rank. In all my stats here, I used For production I used PER. I realize it's a very imperfect measure. But it's a much, much more favorable stat for each of C5 overall than WS/48 is, for example, and it is also more favorable to the C5 than WS/48 is in relation to both RJ and Marvin. (For player PER ranks, I omitted any players who have played less than 100 minutes so far this year.)
  • Number of players their age or younger that have worse PERs but are getting more mpg (those getting a better deal than our guys in minutes -- I'll call this A); vs. number of players their age or younger with better PERs but fewer mpg (those getting a worse deal than our guys in minutes -- I'll call this B). So B>A is "good" for Jazz players, while A>B is "bad." I excluded other Jazz players from this calculation.

I've never figured out how to produce nice tables on this site like Amar and others do, so I'll just give the summary statistics. It's not to hard to search through to figure out the details.

  • Hayward: Starter 1 minutes; 20th mpg rank vs. 80th PER rank; A: 1, B: 11
  • Favors: Starter 3 minutes; 81st vs 51st mpg/PER rank; A: 2, B: 0
  • Burke: Starter 4 minutes (though just barely, almost Starter 3); 91st vs. 147th mpg/PER; A: 2, B: 2
  • Burks: Starter 5 minutes; 138th vs. 151st mpg/PER; A: 6, B: 3
  • Kanter: Reserve 1 minutes; 158th vs. 168th; A: 5, B: 0

A quick summary: Except for Favors, all our guys get more NBA minutes this year than their NBA production would seem to justify. (Are Favors's fewer minutes due to foul issues, perhaps?). On the other hand, only one of our guys (Hayward) seems to be getting a particularly good deal in terms of minutes when compared specifically to other players. Corbin's preference for vets shows through here. Burke's minutes according to this measure, are about right, while Favors, Burks and especially Kanter could be getting more. On the other (third?) hand, it seems possible to argue that all our young guys are getting enough minutes to develop. Even Kanter is only 0.8 mpg away from the Starter 5 category.


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

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