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Stat Stars – Game 1

Paul Millsap – in the vacuum of individual stats it’s hard not to like what Millsap did. He came off the bench and played 27 minutes. While on the floor he finished with 18 and 8, with a block, and six free throw attempts. He did not shoot 50 fg%, but he could have, had he not taken a three point attempt. (It wasn’t really the best shot at the time, with how down we were on the scoreboard) He scored from all over the floor, save for the three, and was at times the only one playing hard even though the game was decided. When he was on the floor the Jazz were +3, but that’s like putting a sponge in a swimming pool, when your team is behind by nearly 20-30 points for most of the night. He finished the game with a usage rate of 30.8.

Enes Kanter – in his first ever game the big Turk came in and used his body well enough to grab 11 boards in a single game. Kyrylo Fesenko has only done that once before in his career, and same with Kosta Koufos. Both played major minutes in the games where they equaled that feat. Enes did this against the LA Lakers, and did it in barely 21 minutes. Yes, a number of those were offensive rebounds off of his own misses, but the kid did not quit. His total rebound percentage was 27.3%, which means that while he was on the floor, he had his hands on over a quarter of all the rebounds there were. Period. The next best Jazzman in this game was at the 1 : 4.8 ratio, and Kanter was at the 1 : 3.6 ratio. Okay, I should have just said around 1 to 5, and 1 to 4 there, but it’s just not as precise. Kanter was a man on the glass. As a result, I do expect him to become a man all over the floor as well. Kanter also got to the line 4 times against the Lakers – something our starting bigs usually cannot do. And he made 75 ft%, which is more than we’re used to from the center spot. (Memo excluded) I was encouraged by his play. He led the team in Defensive Rating as well. THE TEAM. In a game devoid of bright spots Kanter deserves to be a Stats Star.

Gordon Hayward – The kid shot poorly, and didn’t make anything from any distance, but he was still productive enough to do good things on the floor. Derrick Favors had a solid, but limited game, going 8 and 6, while shooting a high percentage, but he was a -26 in the +/- stat. Gordon Hayward, who also started, played 5 more minutes and was a -18 in the +/- stat. And Gordon did more on the floor than just board and score. He finished the game with a very pedestrian 7 and 3 . . . but he gets the stat star over Favors because he played good defense, finished with two assists, only 1 turn over, and 1 block. He also took more difficult shots. Favors will finish this season with plenty of spots on this list, so I’m not worried about him. Hayward gets the last Stats Star for this game.