The Downbeat #1206: The "Wow, November is almost over" edition

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sport

So the Jazz lost again. It's not the last time we lose this season. It's going to be fine because we're paying the piper this season in order to focus on development. That means there are going to be nights like last night where the vet team at home gets all the calls and we're fighting an uphill battle. This is what Kevin Durant and company had to face. This is exactly what Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant had to get through - OUR Utah Jazz teams of the late 90s - if they wanted to get a title. This is the normative process that great teams have to follow. I couldn't care less about "going for the win" except in the case it's our young guys and older guys playing good enough basketball TO win. (Earned wins) Regardless of wins or losses this season is a big win already because Trey Burke is back from injury. I think some fans forget what a good point guard can do. Early in last night's game Trey played a high pick and roll with Jeremy Evans to perfection where all the defense wanted to stay on Jeremy and stay 'home' on the shooters. Trey didn't hesitate and drove the lane and finished with his left hand on the left hand side of the basket. These are fundamental instinct plays that are a product of repetition. Operant conditioning tells us that with enough practice mastery can form. And Trey Burke, even though he's an NBA rookie who missed a few games to start his regular season career, is still way better than everyone else we have on the roster at these inherent point guard things.

He is so good that Dennis Lindsey, the GM, didn't even want to sign another point guard -- Jamaal Tinsley only joined the team after Trey's surgery and time table was set.

Burke has classical point guard teachings and experience. I like the idea of Alec Burks playing spot defense on point guards because of his size and athleticism, but he continues to demonstrate that he's not a full time point guard on offense. (I do like him playing PG over sitting on the bench though, when the alternatives aren't Trey Burke) I love the storyline of Diante Garrett, but at the end of the day he's not going to be that next great NBA player who got his start in the NBA-DL. He's not even going to be the next Matt Barnes (former NBA DL guy). Jamaal, bless his old soul, is out of the league already. And I love the idea of John Lucas III being a guy on the bench who is that fun, glue guy. He's essentially Dee Brown, but without the neck injury.

Trey is the man. And he's going to continue showing it. (More on this in the next post later on today...)

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Have you been reading Andy Larsen's Salt City Hoops? There's new content there daily and it's very well polished. I like it when people put in effort, and we're seeing that this year across the Jazz blogosphere, but we're seeing it most at SCH. I guess you could arge that Spencer Ryan Hall was tanking all those years in order to get Andy "Wiggins" Larsen. Jokes aside, check out these posts from there:

Of course, when Andy writes you need to listen, er, read.. He is a future analyst, and shouldn't be burdened with administration. I hope more Jazz fans are visiting SCH now, they have a good team of Jazz fans who are writing about the team they love. (And yes, I'm going to break down each Jazz blog over the next few weeks in my downbeats. I'm not playing favorites.) (Well, maybe a little.)

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Okay, so the Jazz offense is managing only 89.6 ppg. That's 29th in the NBA out of 30 total teams. The Jazz play at one of the slower spaces as well, 92.7 possessions per game, which is 23rd. The idea of a slow pace is to minimize the disparities of talent. We endeavor to play a precision game where every possession counts. Is this the right thing to do? I don't know. Despite the idea of playing with precision the Jazz have turned the ball over 249 times this season (29th). That's not good on its own, as that's turning the ball over 17.8 times a game. It's worse when you see that the team only has 266 total assists on the year (14th most), 19.0 times a game. The team is treading water here. Let's look at the whole team and see what's what.

[Ranked from youngest to eldest, just for kicks]
Player Pos Age G Min Ast TO MPG APG TOPG AST:TO
1 Trey Burke 1 21.03 2 32 4 2 16.00 2.00 1.00 2.00
2 Rudy Gobert 5 21.41 11 123 1 16 11.18 0.09 1.45 0.06
3 Enes Kanter 5 4 21.51 14 453 16 27 32.36 1.14 1.93 0.59
4 Alec Burks 2 1 22.35 14 377 34 29 26.93 2.43 2.07 1.17
5 Derrick Favors 4 5 22.36 14 480 24 36 34.29 1.71 2.57 0.67
6 Ian Clark 2 1 22.72 7 59 3 2 8.43 0.43 0.29 1.50
7 Gordon Hayward 2 3 23.67 14 519 69 46 37.07 4.93 3.29 1.50
8 Diante Garrett 1 25.05 6 106 27 11 17.67 4.50 1.83 2.45
9 Jeremy Evans 4 26.08 2 29 1 3 14.50 0.50 1.50 0.33
10 Marvin Williams 3 4 27.43 8 181 8 11 22.63 1.00 1.38 0.73
11 Brandon Rush 2 3 28.38 1 10 1 2 10.00 1.00 2.00 0.50
12 Mike Harris 3 4 30.44 12 154 4 8 12.83 0.33 0.67 0.50
13 John Lucas III 1 31.01 14 315 25 13 22.50 1.79 0.93 1.92
14 Richard Jefferson 3 33.42 14 412 26 24 29.43 1.86 1.71 1.08
15 Andris Biedrins 5 27.64 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 Jamaal Tinsley 1 35.73 8 110 23 9 13.75 2.88 1.13 2.56

Okay, so the idea is that younger players with less experience are the sloppier players. They make "rookie" mistakes on offense, and turn the ball over more. This is specifically the case with our young bigs of Favors, Kanter, and Gobert. Our young guards, Burke, Burks, Clark, and Hayward, do not seem to be turning the ball over too much in relation to their assists. They're all diming more then they are crimin'.

Still, turn overs are a team problem that's solved with team work, and not pointing fingers. Also, I miss Jamaal, but wish he could hit a three. Also, Rudy Gobert has hands like a trebuchet has mobility.

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We're not mailing it in here at SLC Dunk; even if at times some parts of the organization we cover are. (Seriously, that mailboy who works at the Draper office . . . once took 6 minutes off during his 5 minute break.) So here's everyone's favorite 7'2 European Bigman not named Rudy Gobert:


BEHOLD THE PASSES THAT CAUSE ATOMIC REACTIONS!

Yes, that's none other than Utah Jazz, uh, hypothetical player Ante Tomic. He's still . . . um . . . he's still a thing that does things. The Tim Duncan of Dubrovnik is having an okay season over there in Spain. In 21.0 mpg he's averaging 12.25 ppg (65.6 fg%, 75.0 ft%), 5.83 rpg, 1.92 apg, 0.50 spg and 0.50 bpg. What do those numbers translate to if he was playing 24.0 mpg, but with a reduction of his stats by 30% because of league disparities? Well . . . that's a stat line of 9.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.4 spg, and 0.4 bpg. Not bad. But I don't think he's Coming to America anytime soon. Not even for the Soul Glo.

What about Raul Neto? Well so far in Spain he's playing 22.8 mpg, and averaging 8.33 ppg, 2.00 rpg, 4.00 apg, 1.50 spg, and no blocks. He's sporting a 3.82 : 1.00 assist to turn over ratio. That's ideal. If we perform the same calculation as we did with Ante (boost him to 24.00 mpg, but reduce by 30%) we get a line of 6.7 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 3.2 apg, and 1.2 spg.

We're more likely to see Raul, but c'mon, you just KNOW Booner (and others, like our coaches) would pronounce Tomic's name as "Dante".

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The Jazz are now 1-13 to start the season. There are now only four more games remaining in November.

The Thunder and the Bulls are supposed to be contenders this year. The Suns are not supposed to be. The first two teams have the star power, but Phoenix is playing like a team. It's impressive that they have a 6-6 record after 12 games, but also impressive how rookie head coach Jeff Hornacek has them playing. They're 10th best in the Western Conference this season, they have the 13th best offense (in PPG), and the 9th best defense (in opp PPG). While their actually offense is below the water line, their pace and actual defense are doing it. Their defensive rating is 6th best in the NBA.

Seriously. We're worst, or close to it, in both offense and defense. Jeff Hornacek has gotten the Suns to play defense this year. Their top players in minutes played this season are (from most to least) are P.J. Tucker, Miles Plumlee, Gerald Green, Eric Bledsoe, Channing Frye, Goran Dragic, and the Morris twins Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris. You give Tyrone Corbin that lineup and they start taking wins away from previous seasons. By direct contract our top minutes players this season are Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Richard Jefferson, Alec Burks, John Lucas III, Marvin Williams, and Mike Harris. By far perception suggests we have more players that are good.

So the question isn't how is Jeff able to do this. The question is how many games do the Jazz win to finish October/November?

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