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Sunday Syncopation #9

Please note . . . we have a really early game today. What's the deal with that?

  • I really wanted to hold off on this till after today's game vs. the LA Clippers, but well, I'm not certain that I'll be able to get it done tomorrow as I will be busy traveling from my parents place back home. So you get it now . . .
  • What we really want to talk about, besides how awesome Gleb Dok is, is our bench. There are a number of names for this group that is 'headlined' by Earl Watson, Ronnie Price, and the resplendent Francisco Elson. I like calling it the "Double Trouble" line-up because it's two PGs and two Cs (+ Kyrylo Fesenko, or even more absurdly, sometimes Al Jefferson). This is, honestly, a crazy line-up. Two point guards. Two centers. It's essentially an 'eff you Don Nelson / small ball agenda' line-up. In a way, it's part desperation. In another way, it's NBA Power Gaming. (really, click on that wiki link, it's surprisingly thorough) The result is a lineup that's both bigger *and* smaller than the starters. They are also quicker and slower at the same time as well. Both point guards are better around the rim than they are from outside. Both bigs don't block shots. Somehow C.J. Miles is in this group of guys, and really, this line up should be horrible. Yet -- it's precisely this lineup that's bringing the Jazz back into games. More than anything else, this line-up is like a self-aware unit that understands both their own inherent limitations, and the obvious limitations in how long Jerry can actually roll this unit out. They play hard, and die hard, because they aren't going to be playing long.
  • A quick trip to tells us that the Watson-Price-Miles-Elson-Fesenko lineup isn't outstanding. However, you don't have to be outstanding to get back into the game. You just have to be better than the guys you are matched up against. And they have been. Check it: the Jazz are a net +23.3 points with Ceejay on the floor; +17.8 with Fes; +8.7 with 'Cisco; +4.3 with Ronnie; and +7.4 with the Earl of Watts on the floor, independently. Would it shock you to know that these are the BEST net values for on the court / off the court for the whole team. Yes, the top 5 guys are the same 5 guys who help us get back into games. It's not rocket science. Or at least, when you attempt to apply rocket science things don't immediately break down (if you put it together in excel, that line up is still supposed to suck, but they do not.)
  • You're going to have to scroll down to the #16th 5 man unit in the second chart here to see this group. You know what's cool? They get 68.5% of the potential rebounds that are available when they are on the floor. (2nd only to a line up of Watson-Miles-Evans-Kirilenko-Fesenko that gets 69.0% of all boards) This lineup also manages to be a +15.0% in turn overs. Not too shabby. This group isn't breaking any scoring records, but they are doing what they have to do to help us get in position to win games. My hat is off to them.
  • Of course, if we're going to be a contender this season, when Memo comes back we also hope to be getting something out of The Precious (Hayward) before the playoffs start. Those are two guys that, obviously, aren't part of his balls out / die hard lineup. Will integrating them help / hurt what we have going on right now? Will a larger shake-up happen as the season goes on when we get something out of Hayward, and Mehmet Okur comes back (hopefully) strong? Perhaps this is something to look at down the line, but a 1st and 2nd group of Deron / CJ / AK / 'Sap / Jefferson, and Watson / Bell / Hayward / Okur / Fes or Elson should be good, right? This moves Price out of the equation, and I'm not entirely happy with that. Why?
  • Because Ronnie Price is amazing. He is the most intense guy on this team not named Deron Williams. He hustles like crazy, and - honestly - out of our entire team, he's had both the best blocks and best dunks this year.

  • That doesn't make him better for the Jazz, but it does display that he never gives up, and that is more than anything, the mantra of this current Jazz team.
  • Do you remember the crazy November Schedule? We've got two games left (@LAC, vs. a struggling Bucks), and right now we have 11 wins this month. Here is it again, if you forgot:

  • I thought that we'd go 9-7 that month. We've already won 11. Good thing I'm not quitting my day job! Of course, anyone who thought we'd sweep the East Road Trip of Hell is clearly working on a higher divination level than I am. They could use your help in the radiology department, if you wanted to show up to help them out.
  • Probably the craziest stat this season, as a team, is that we're totally shutting down the other team from deep. Opponents are shooting 28.7 3pt% against us. That's really low, both for the NBA average, and for the Jazz. Is this going to last forever? I hope so, but I doubt it. If you look back at the small margin of error for some of our wins, you notice that other teams aren't hitting their normal % vs. us, and that we've been killing it at the free throw line. One of those two factors are in our control. No matter how good we've been at closing out and defending threes this season -- a major component has been the other team just flat out missing shots they make. (Case in point: Matt Bonner [21 3pt made, @ 58.3 3pt% this season] doing his David Benoit impersonation a few games ago) I think that our offense needs to step it up, because we can't rely on the other teams shooting poorly for the rest of the 60+ games this season.
  • Later on this week, I'm going to write about Gordon Hayward. He's a good kid, I like him. I want him to succeed. I'm glad he's on the Jazz. He's going to get better and better. I think we'll all be happy with him as we progresses. Remember these points when reading my post, because I'm not going to go easy on him. He's a lotto pick in the NBA who is both young and inexperienced. But he's still an NBA player. I'm going to expect him to be one in return.
  • Adam Keefe started 75 games for an NBA Finals team, our Utah Jazz from the good old days. He has only one 20 point game in his entire Jazz career. (Regular season and Playoffs) Wow. Gordan Giricek has 12. Matt Harpring has 68 in the regular season, and added 1 more in the playoffs.Andrei Kirilenko has 85 in the regular season, and 3 more in the playoffs. Again, Adam Keefe, who was one of our starting wings in an NBA Finals team has only 1 for his entire Jazz career. Wow, we were playing something like 3 on 5 on offense that season, and still got to the finals!
  • How about a Sunday Syncopation tag BBJ?