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Sunday Syncopation #7

Wow, did you guys ever think we'd go 4-0 on a road trip this year, let alone an East Road trip? I thought that with all the back to back games, and general inability to get anything from the bench would have doomed us. Shows what I know. What I *do* know is that we're getting a lot of press right now - between winning and Millsap going nuts, it's hard not to smile as a Jazz fan. Hopefully we're this happy next week too! To start things off, here's the Sunday Syncopation:

  • Some of us may know the song by Meatloaf "I'd do anything for love (but I won't do that)". If anything, one could swear that the song was an analogy about the inability of Carlos Boozer to dig deep, play big, and bring something to both ends of the court on the road. Paul Millsap will do what Meatloaf/Boozer won't do, for Love/Wins. And that's resulted in wins on a crazy Eastern road trip. 
  • Millsap's 46 points was a game for the ages, obviously. Now, some time down the road maybe Millsap is asked to score 40+ again, but that's not how our offense runs. What makes it more special was coming back from big, and him hitting timely threes. We are, honestly, unlikely to see anything like this again for a very long time. While I don't want to go too crazy about this game, and I don't want to minimize how great this game was (it was against the Heat, and we won the game in OT with Ronnie Price as the PG) -- what's 46 points over an 82 game season? That's +0.56 points per game. What if 'Sap averages 20 ppg this year, how much 'extra' was the 46? Well, it's only an extra +0.32 points per game. Still, it was enough to win the game. and that counts the most.
  • Well, it counts for some people more than others. Dimemag's online component only appears to exist to write crazy stories (that piss off certain fans more than others) and generate ad revenue through page views. They've been publishing (online) incomplete articles by interns who have no clue about the NBA. (Heck, they even posted something by me once, and it was very poorly written) Well, this time one of their main writers and head honchos Austin Burton (@AustinBurton206 on twitter, if you want to spam him there) wrote a piece on The NBA's Top 10 Power Forwards. This was published on Friday. Millsap doesn't make the list, and he's not even mentioned in the Hon mentions. We know that Dime is homer for a couple of guys (T-mac, Z-bo, C-booz, basically anyone who'll give them regular interviews), but this is just messed up. Burton clarifies the next day (after Sap got worked over by Josh Smith) that "When I said the best PF’s today, I’m not just talking about the 8-9 game sample of this season alone. It’s the whole picture of how good a guy is period, plus how he’s playing now." By that measure, Sap still makes it, don'tchathink?
  • Conversely, Slam's online site had a poll asking about which of the following teams are the "Real Deal": the Atlanta Hawks, the Dallas Mavericks, the San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Hornets, or our Utah Jazz. The results can be found here, and they are more commiserate with reality. (Not unlike Slam vs. Dime in general)
  • A new-ish blog we all should be following is the NBA Facts & Rumors blog at editor is someone a lot of us have tweeted with, and a number of the other authors on the blog are posting under their real names; but are all very impressive and dedicated bloggers who helped make our hobby (be you a blogger or reader) what it is today. It's fun to watch the evolution of the consensus opinion of the Jazz over the course of this road trip: was it a fluke against Miami?; Giant killers or smoke and Mirrors? after beating Orlando; respect after knocking off the Hawks; and lastly, abject astonishment and major props for our amazing week.
  • Who's the editor? It's @HPbasketball -- who may challenge our rationality at times, but is also man enough to recognize how good we can be. Don't believe me? Read this.
  • Over the last few days Clintonite33 and I have been engaging in some really good convos on twitter, the main point/counterpoint has been about how a young player gets playing time in our system. One thing that we both can agree upon has been that you need to get Jeremy Evans on the floor, he gives the Jazz a whole new look (one that frequently involves easy baskets in the half court!).
  • Looking back, here's how the previous rookies fared under Jerry Sloan


  • Clearly we can see a few interesting things here . . .the average number of wins the Jazz have over this time span is 49.07 +/-9.16 wins. That's a lot. So on average you can't say "oh, the team was gunning for playoff position here . . . that's why this rookie didn't get much playing time". That's always been the case for all of these guys. For example, Jarron Collins (#6) got all those minutes (and starts) on a Stockton and Malone team trying to get back to the NBA Finals. The average number of Rookie minutes is 770.17 +/-651.70. This is a pretty huge standard deviation. Most everyone fits under the normal distribution, except for Andrei Kirlenko and Deron Williams who are above two standard deviations from the mean.
  • The mean data reminds me of a player I've always hated, Eric Leckner. He was a rookie in Sloan first season with the Jazz (which he picked up after Frank Layden stepped down midseason). The Jazz had 12 man rosters back in the day, and on a team that had the following bigs: Mark Eaton, Thurl Bailey, Mike Brown, Marc Iavaroni, Jose Ortiz, and this Karl Malone fellow; this Leckner dude still managed to play in 779 minutes. That team won over 50 games and was coming off their first big playoff year. How did Jerry Sloan manage to play a rookie that much time -- while completely forgetting some of his own rookies today? That was back when Stockton and Malone were YOUNG! Where did that Jerry go?
  • I am upset most at the way the Jazz avoid playing guys who just, by luck, happen to be in the long term future of the team -- and their value (to the team, and on the open market) remains lower than it should be because the Jazz never played them / developed them properly in their first few seasons. C.J. Miles is a great example as the Jazz kept finding guys to take away any available playing time from his waiting hands. Derek Fisher, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, and yes, even Matt Harpring are all gone. All of them slowed C.J.'s development by preventing him from even getting on the floor. Miles only played 203 minutes as a rookie. Jarron Collins played 7x that much. Don't even get me started on the mismanagement of Fesenko's development . . .