What if: the Utah Jazz season actually started when Trey Burke started playing?

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz have played 39 games this season. The first few weeks were a trainwreck with 5 rotation players out. Since Trey Burke's return the team has started to play a completely different game. What would their record look like if the season started with Trey?

I think it is fair to say that the fortune of our Utah Jazz franchise changed in a positive direction when the front office moved up to trade for Trey Burke on draft night. Ideally he wouldn't have gotten injured and the potential Rookie of the Year would be farther along in his NBA career at this stage. Still, things are looking good. Things didn't look so good when he fractured a finger in his shooting hand back during the preseason. We tried to figure out how many games he would miss for this injury, and guess what the Jazz record would be as a result. Post op, Burke was on the mend, and I think we all felt a little bit better about things off the court.

It wasn't until he started to really get his feet on the NBA courts that Jazz fans started to feel really great about our young point guard.

The team started to play better with him on the court (no offense to Jamaal Tinsley, Diante Garrett, and John Lucas III); and as a direct result the team started to win games. There were other factors as well, like the return of Marvin Williams and Jeremy Evans -- but injury recovery was just one part of it. The main part I think was having an actual point guard help direct this team and make this a team; not just a collection of Gordon Hayward pick and rolls with Derrick Favors.

So after 39 games the Utah Jazz are 13-26. That's not a good record. But you know what? Since Trey started playing the Jazz have been 12-15. So, using the magic of math pre-Trey the Jazz were a whopping 1-11. It's not just the point guard spot, or lack of any depth with five rotation players out to start the season (Trey Burke, Marvin Williams, Jeremy Evans, Brandon Rush, Andris Biedrins -- and don't even lie to yourself, if Rush and Biedrins were healthy they would have been rotation guys at the start of the season).

But I can't help thinking "what if" the Jazz season started with Trey Burke. Let's take a look at the games they played and their performance in them.

Date Good Guys The Bad Guys Result Record
1 Nov 20 2013 Utah Jazz 98 @ New Orleans Pelicans 105 Loss -7 0 - 1 0.0%
2 Nov 22 2013 Utah Jazz 93 @ Dallas Mavericks 105 Loss -12 0 - 2 0.0%
3 Nov 23 2013 Utah Jazz 71 @ Oklahoma City Thunder 95 Loss -24 0 - 3 0.0%
4 Nov 25 2013 Utah Jazz 89 vs Chicago Bulls 83 Win 6 1 - 3 25.0%
5 Nov 29 2013 Utah Jazz 101 vs Phoenix Suns 112 Loss -11 1 - 4 20.0%
6 Nov 30 2013 Utah Jazz 112 @ Phoenix Suns 104 Win 8 2 - 4 33.3%
7 Dec 2 2013 Utah Jazz 109 vs Houston Rockets 103 Win 6 3 - 4 42.9%
8 Dec 4 2013 Utah Jazz 86 vs Indiana Pacers 95 Loss -9 3 - 5 37.5%
9 Dec 6 2013 Utah Jazz 98 @ Portland Trail Blazers 130 Loss -32 3 - 6 33.3%
10 Dec 7 2013 Utah Jazz 102 vs Sacramento Kings 112 Loss -10 3 - 7 30.0%
11 Dec 9 2013 Utah Jazz 94 vs Portland Trail Blazers 105 Loss -11 3 - 8 27.3%
12 Dec 11 2013 Utah Jazz 122 @ Sacramento Kings 101 Win 21 4 - 8 33.3%
13 Dec 13 2013 Utah Jazz 103 @ Denver Nuggets 93 Win 10 5 - 8 38.5%
14 Dec 14 2013 Utah Jazz 84 vs San Antonio Spurs 100 Loss -16 5 - 9 35.7%
15 Dec 16 2013 Utah Jazz 94 @ Miami Heat 117 Loss -23 5 - 10 33.3%
16 Dec 18 2013 Utah Jazz 86 @ Orlando Magic 82 Win 4 6 - 10 37.5%
17 Dec 20 2013 Utah Jazz 85 @ Atlanta Hawks 118 Loss -33 6 - 11 35.3%
18 Dec 21 2013 Utah Jazz 88 @ Charlotte Bobcats 85 Win 3 7 - 11 38.9%
19 Dec 23 2013 Utah Jazz 94 @ Memphis Grizzlies 104 Loss -10 7 - 12 36.8%
20 Dec 27 2013 Utah Jazz 105 vs Los Angeles Lakers 103 Win 2 8 - 12 40.0%
21 Dec 28 2013 Utah Jazz 90 @ Los Angeles Clippers 98 Loss -8 8 - 13 38.1%
22 Dec 30 2013 Utah Jazz 93 vs Charlotte Bobcats 80 Win 13 9 - 13 40.9%
23 Jan 2 2014 Utah Jazz 96 vs Milwaukee Bucks 87 Win 9 10 - 13 43.5%
24 Jan 3 2014 Utah Jazz 99 @ Los Angeles Lakers 110 Loss -11 10 - 14 41.7%
25 Jan 7 2014 Utah Jazz 112 vs Oklahoma City Thunder 101 Win 11 11 - 14 44.0%
26 Jan 10 2014 Utah Jazz 102 vs Cleveland Cavaliers 113 Loss -11 11 - 15 42.3%
27 Jan 13 2014 Utah Jazz 118 vs Denver Nuggets 103 Win 15 12 - 15 44.4%
Jazz 2624 Opponents 2744 +/- -120
Avg 97.2 Avg 101.6 +/- -4.4

Yes, this is a much better winning team. The average for these 27 games has the Jazz scoring 97.2 ppg (up from 94.3), while allowing 101.6 ppg (slightly up from 101.1). The margin of defeat during Trey's tenure is only -4.4, and not -6.8 (which it is for the season). If you plot the win % on a graph you get this.

2013_2014_trey_burke_win_effect

This looks like a trend, if you ask me.

So kudos to the Utah Jazz and head coach Tyrone Corbin. You guys have a great player in Trey Burke. Stats aside, the team is performing well under his control. You can't measure how much of a winner you are in a draft combine. But the Jazz look to win a lot with him in the lineup and ready to play.

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