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"Al's" well that ends well

Big Al is having his fair share of troubles so far this season. This isn't me dumping on Al Jefferson. He's only 11 games into his first season with the Utah Jazz, and he's trying to find his spots still. The long road trip also was trouble because a) there's even less practice time, and b) when he did good (4q vs. Orlando Magic giant Dwight Howard) he was 'doing him' by posting up and scoring. I'm very patient with Jefferson who is coming off some health issues, and well, coming from the one team in the NBA that has less of a plan than a 16 year old pregnant girl who hasn't told her parents yet.

That said -- he's a significant factor in both our wins and our losses. He's pretty good (for all the inherent problems of changing his game to fit in our system) in the wins. But the losses, man . . . he's something else in the losses. I'm sure many of our players play better in the wins than the losses, but there are a few things that we can see here - easily - in just the past 11 games.

I've taken the time to watch our losses closely, in those games the main difference on offense isn't effort, or executing, it's just making shots. In the games that we win, the Jazz usually finish a play with a score, in the losses good shots - open shots even - are missed within the flow of the plays Jerry calls. Jefferson is guilty in this department because in the wins he's finishing plays. But in the losses, he's missing a lot of shots that he would make 8 out of 10 times. I'm not going to speculate on this, but it's there. He's getting good shots within the offense, but he's just missing them.

In wins he's shooting 48.571 fg%, in losses it's down to 40.385 fg%. In wins he's also hitting 85 ft%, but losses it's only 70%. In wins his shooting worth (how many points he gets, on average, per shot he takes) is below average - 1.22 is average and he's at 1.190. In losses it plummets to 1.038. Obviously he's scoring less as a result - and the Jazz are getting four less points a game in the losses. Let's be clear here, he's going to get better, feel more comfortable in the offense, and his consistency will improve. The shots he's missing aren't end of the shot clock heaves from deep, these are shots within the offense where he's in scoring position. But wait . . . there's more!

In losses he's assisting way less as well. When the Jazz win Jefferson is getting over 2 assists a game (at a solid assist to turn over rate as well). When we lose he's only getting 1/4th of an assist a game. His blocks take a dip as well, as does his hustle rating -- from 1.388 down to 1.026. Also note, his GO Rating is more than halved in losses.

If you add it all up, it means that Jefferson's play is worth more over the course of the game than the other team getting a call here or there, or a missed layup with under a minute to play. After 82 games if we look at this again we'll see less of such a disparity. It is, essentially, going to end well with Al.