Utah Jazz Roster Primacy: Who gets to say "I'm kind of a big deal" on this team?

"Wait . . wait . . . I'm Ron Burgundy?" - Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

Amar breaks down roster primacy through 8 factors and then uses math to tell you what you already knew!

Okay, so the Utah Jazz have played 24 games so far and are a lofty 5-19. The team has had a few ups and a few downs. It isn't that fun all of the time, but specifically 20.8% of the time, it's kinda fun all the time. (That's our winning percentage this year) The front office assembles the team. The Head Coach is supposed to get them ready to play. And the players themselves need to police one another, encourage one another, and play together. Of course, in any 'office setting' egos do come into play. Some of the guys who have been there longer don't take to the 'new guy' that quickly. Or sometimes older employees don't get along with the younger ones who just got out of school. Maybe one guy is known in the office as being 'the funny guy' and doesn't like it if a new guy starts making jokes. There are always things are willing to be passive aggressive about in life. Especially at work.

In the NBA another factor that affects ego are things like draft position and contract length. Some guys come into their teams with a big head because they were a lotto pick. And some other guys plan ahead for their season based on it being a contract year. This season the Jazz have 9 / 15 players as former lottery picks, and 4 / 15 are guys who actually went undrafted.(How do they feel about their team mates who were lotto guys?) Furthermore, 8 / 15 players are on expiring deals or non-guaranteed deals for next season. These ARE significant factors for normal coaches, but we've heard that head coach Tyrone Corbin has a Kim Jong-Il like record when it comes to keeping teams together, players upbeat, and managing the lockrooms. For example this season he hasn't had to change his rotations based upon the whims of player's agents even ONCE so far! He's a big boy! (NSFW - Southpark clip)

Beyond Big Boy Corbin, players always try to find out who is the Big Dog. This is not just for NBA teams, but it's classic mammalian social organization. You have your Alpha male, your Betas, and then the rest follow along. So who is the Big Dog on this team? Who gets to say "I'm kind of a big deal" to any new females that happen to be invited to news reporter's pool parties? (NSFW - Chest hair alert!)

Well, I tried to figure this out by what the numbers say. I selected what I think are the eight most important factors for primacy and ranked the players by them. After all eight factors were tabulated, I found the average, and there, Bob's your uncle. The factors I chose were:

  • Games: This is total number of games played this season. Almost immediately I feel like this should be changed to total games played with the Jazz franchise, but hey, this gives me something to fiddle with later on during the All-Star break I guess. The players who have played in the most games feel more like they are important to the team than the guys who don't play.
  • Minutes Per Game (MPG): It's one thing to get put in during garbage time, it's another thing to be playing the big minutes every time you step on the floor. You can't be the Alpha if you play Kyrylo Fesenko style minutes.
  • Player Efficiency Rating (PER): PER is far from per-fect, but it is a good enough approximation of on court performance. The players don't really look at PER, but they know when they are having a good season or not. PER helps me rank that in one simple stat.
  • Salary ($ USD): If you are getting paid the big bucks you think you are better than people who make millions of dollars less than you, for the most part, if you have the same job and are in direct competition for minutes with them. If you make the big bucks you have people telling you that you deserve all of that money, and the finer things that come with that income. Money does affect how players interact with one another, even the Seattle Supersonics almost self destructed because of Jim McIlvaine's redonkulous contract.
  • USG%, AST%, TOV%, TRB%: These are advanced (nerdy) stats that attempt to see how each player does with the ball in their hands. If you are frequently the guy pulling down boards when you're on the court you know it, and your team mates know it too. Similarly, if you are frequently the guy turning the ball over, when you're on the court, everyone knows about that too.
So let's look at the first four factors: Games played; MPG; PER; and Salary

N.B. Drafted in the 3rd round, pick #61 is my internally consistent code for going undrafted

NBA Draft Games MPG PER Salary
Player Pos Age Exp Rnd # Year Value Rank Value Rank Value Rank Value Rank
1 Richard Jefferson 3 33.5 13 1 13 2001 24 1 28.0 5 10.6 10 $11,046,000 1
2 John Lucas III 1 31.1 6 3 61 2005 19 6 19.7 9 6.2 13 $1,600,000 11
3 Mike Harris 3 4 30.5 4 3 61 2007 17 7 12.6 12 14.0 7 $884,293 13
4 Brandon Rush 2 3 28.4 6 1 13 2008 5 14 15.0 11 7.3 12 $4,000,000 6
5 Andris Biedrins 5 27.7 10 1 11 2004 5 14 8.4 15 2.3 15 $9,000,000 2
6 Marvin Williams 3 4 27.5 9 1 2 2005 14 10 26.1 7 15.8 4 $7,500,000 3
7 Jeremy Evans 4 3 26.1 4 2 55 2010 11 12 21.7 8 20.2 1 $1,660,257 10
8 Diante Garrett 1 2 25.1 2 3 61 2012 15 9 15.9 10 11.5 9 $473,604 15
9 Gordon Hayward 2 3 23.7 4 1 9 2010 24 1 36.4 1 15.0 5 $3,452,183 7
10 Ian Clark 2 1 22.8 1 3 61 2013 8 13 8.8 14 4.3 14 $490,180 14
11 Derrick Favors 4 5 22.4 4 1 3 2010 22 5 31.8 2 18.8 2 $6,008,196 4
12 Alec Burks 2 1 22.4 3 1 12 2011 24 1 27.0 6 14.2 6 $2,202,000 9
13 Enes Kanter 5 4 21.6 3 1 3 2011 23 4 29.2 3 13.7 8 $4,505,280 5
14 Rudy Gobert 5 21.5 1 1 27 2013 17 7 10.7 13 10.0 11 $1,078,800 12
15 Trey Burke 1 21.1 1 1 9 2013 12 11 28.0 4 16.1 3 $2,438,760 8

This is ranked top to bottom by oldest to youngest because for the two tables I wanted guys to be in the same spot each time. I was going to order it by contract but that is mean as Beans is #2 in contract, but #14, #15, and #15 in the other three factors presented here. If you were picking a Big Dog out of these four factors it would be hard to go against G-Time who gets a #1 (tied), #1, #5, and #7 team ranks here.

What about USG%, AST%, TOV% and TRB%?
NBA Draft USG% AST% TOV% TRB%
Player Pos Age Exp Rnd # Year Value Rank Value Rank Value Rank Value Rank
1 Richard Jefferson 3 33.5 13 1 13 2001 17.9% 7 10.6% 8 15.0% 11 6.1% 10
2 John Lucas III 1 31.1 6 3 61 2005 16.2% 9 12.8% 6 9.6% 3 3.5% 15
3 Mike Harris 3 4 30.5 4 3 61 2007 16.0% 11 3.8% 13 14.5% 8 8.1% 7
4 Brandon Rush 2 3 28.4 6 1 13 2008 11.7% 14 14.3% 5 30.9% 14 4.6% 13
5 Andris Biedrins 5 27.7 10 1 11 2004 6.0% 15 0.0% 15 35.5% 15 22.0% 2
6 Marvin Williams 3 4 27.5 9 1 2 2005 16.8% 8 8.9% 10 8.8% 1 11.2% 6
7 Jeremy Evans 4 3 26.1 4 2 55 2010 16.0% 11 10.5% 8 11.8% 4 15.2% 4
8 Diante Garrett 1 2 25.1 2 3 61 2012 16.2% 9 31.6% 1 23.3% 12 4.3% 14
9 Gordon Hayward 2 3 23.7 4 1 9 2010 24.6% 1 22.3% 3 14.9% 9 8.1% 7
10 Ian Clark 2 1 22.8 1 3 61 2013 20.1% 6 11.9% 7 12.8% 5 5.8% 12
11 Derrick Favors 4 5 22.4 4 1 3 2010 20.3% 5 7.3% 11 14.9% 9 17.1% 3
12 Alec Burks 2 1 22.4 3 1 12 2011 23.4% 3 16.7% 4 13.0% 6 6.1% 10
13 Enes Kanter 5 4 21.6 3 1 3 2011 21.6% 4 5.7% 12 14.3% 7 12.2% 5
14 Rudy Gobert 5 21.5 1 1 27 2013 15.7% 13 2.5% 14 29.9% 13 24.7% 1
15 Trey Burke 1 21.1 1 1 9 2013 23.5% 2 29.2% 2 9.1% 2 7.6% 9

Well, here we see slightly different things. In fact in some cases they are surprising. Did you know that G-Time has a larger AST% than Alec; Alec has a smaller TOV% than Trey; and Trey has a larger TRB% than Alec? Also strange is that Enes is pulling down slightly more boards than Marvin is. Barely any more, even! Ultimately though just looking at four of these factors at a time isn't helpful at all.

The Whole Shebang:

If you add up all the ranks and find the average you get something that we all kind of expected anyway from the 'eyeball' test.

NBA Draft Prima
Player Pos Age Exp Rnd # Year Avg
1 Gordon Hayward 2 3 23.7 4 1 9 2010 4.3
2 Derrick Favors 4 5 22.4 4 1 3 2010 5.1
3 Trey Burke 1 21.1 1 1 9 2013 5.1
4 Alec Burks 2 1 22.4 3 1 12 2011 5.6
5 Enes Kanter 5 4 21.6 3 1 3 2011 6.0
6 Marvin Williams 3 4 27.5 9 1 2 2005 6.1
7 Richard Jefferson 3 33.5 13 1 13 2001 6.6
8 Jeremy Evans 4 3 26.1 4 2 55 2010 7.3
9 John Lucas III 1 31.1 6 3 61 2005 9.0
10 Mike Harris 3 4 30.5 4 3 61 2007 9.8
11 Diante Garrett 1 2 25.1 2 3 61 2012 9.9
12 Rudy Gobert 5 21.5 1 1 27 2013 10.5
13 Ian Clark 2 1 22.8 1 3 61 2013 10.6
14 Brandon Rush 2 3 28.4 6 1 13 2008 11.1
15 Andris Biedrins 5 27.7 10 1 11 2004 11.6

I rank Trey higher than Alec here because his Primacy score is only going to increase as his team rank for games played increases. Right now Trey is ranked #11 in games played because he missed the first month of the season. As each month goes by his score will also go up. Congrats to everyone, and I think we like our Top 6 guys being G-Time, Fav, Trey, Alec, Enes, and Marvin. I think that's what our coaches want as well.

And of course, Gordon is the biggest deal around Jazzland this season based upon the average of these eight factors. And that's what we already all knew even if I put up a Dick pick as the cover art.

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