NUMBERS! HORRIBLE HORRIBLE NUMBERS! Yes, more stats today. I’ve been trying to keep us updated on what our team is doing after every ten games. (Review: 10 games, 20ish games, 30 games – I did not do any, but I need to go back and figure this out later, and lastly 40 games)
Fifty or so games into the season gives the fans a chance to see some trends – namely: who is holding their own; who is getting better; and who is getting worse. I’m going to try to ascribe a quality grade to our players here. If you agree or not is up to you. I’m going to be looking at the ‘normal’ stats; but I reserve the right to make an argument for why the ‘normal’ stats do not tell the whole picture at a later date. Without much fanfare, here are the normal statistics . . .
The numbers to words ratio of this post drastically changes after the jump . . .
Holding their Own:
This category is filled with the players who have been, relatively, consistent this season. You can almost count on them to play at a certain level every game and do their job. The nerdy way is to look at this as a category of players would be to see who have the smallest standard deviation of individual stats between the previously recorded data (10 games, 22 games, 40 games, and now, after 51 games). Thankfully I did not do that. This is just a ‘guess’ based on looking at the change in stats.
- Deron Williams is more than holding his own, but I don’t want to make this extra complicated. He’s scoring more, shooting more efficiently, and making smarter decisions on defense than he used to. Yes, he’s down 2 rebounds a game from the 10 game mark, but I can live with that, especially since he’s nearly up 20 points in Go Rating. Being ‘The Man’ is something we expect from him, and he’s doing that every game he plays in.
- All Hustle team legend Ronnie Price is also holding his own. Some parts of his game have regressed from earlier this season while other parts have improved. He’s shooting better from the field now, but he’s still not shooting well. He did manage to improve his GO rating by 1 points, which isn’t enough to really make up for his limitations. He still leads the team in floor burns. And that’s why we love him.
- It should come as no surprise that super-duper veteran and consummate professional Francisco Elson is holding his own this season. He doesn’t shoot much, and he’s not terribly good at scoring – but he’s remained very awesome at the free throw line. He plays a little more than 10 minutes a game, and doesn’t do anything good, and doesn’t do anything wrong either.
- Before you say something, understand that dude was ballin to start the year – but Jeremy Evans, as great and as exciting as he is now, was always this way. He’s gotten better, but he’s still holding his own. Yes, he’s shooting 74 fg% and has a shooting worth of 1.70 points per shot. Yes, he has the second best defensive gambling on the team. And yes, these are all improvements – but to put him in any other category would be dishonest because his improvements are mitigated by his previously amazing 5 ppg (he’s down to 3.3 now) and GO Rating of 30.7 (now down to 17.9). Evans is awesome, but this isn’t a new development.
Easily, this is the part of the post to be happiest about. You don’t change half your roster and plug in the new guys without any hitches. It takes a while to really learn the offense and learn the tendencies of your new team mates. For a number of these guys it has taken about 50 games to get there.
- Al Jefferson is the poster child for improving as the season goes on. His rebounds have gone up, slowly but steadily, over the course of the season. His defensive gambling and pure hustle values (which were not bad) have jumped up and his GO Rating (which looks at all offense) has gone from 58 to 59 to 61, and now is at 63.5. These ratings are cumulative for the whole season, so his improvement is even greater than what these stats show. He’s even passing more now!
- Continuing on the slow and steady train we have Andrei Kirilenko who is playing less, shooting less, but more efficiently than before. Now he’s almost averaging 1.5 spg and bpg each, and his defensive gambling has surpassed the +2 threshold. That means that he’ll get more than two combined blocks or steals before getting called for one foul. For a point of reference, Fesenko’s subtlety and rep has him clocking in with a 0.27 defensive gambling rating – by far the worst value I’ve ever seen in my life. Andrei’s defense is coming along, and he’s still shooting 37.5% from three. If he was used more, at these levels, he’d be one of the best players on any given game. The game against Minnesota is evidence of this.
- Our favorite tweeting Jazz player C.J. Miles has also improved. He’s playing much better (nearly a +20 GO Rating), scoring more than 2 more points a game, without appreciably jacking up more shots. He’s upped his efficiency by +6 FG%, and +8 eFG%. Those are not easy to do as these are cumulative values. He’s also fouling way less, and we can see his defense is much more improved. I think part of it is that he’s playing with a lot more confidence than ever before. He knows that he has work to do that, the team relies upon; and he does it.
- Surprisingly, Raja Bell is playing much better now as well. He went through a prolonged slump where he turned a lot of fans off of him. His percentages are better across the board, and he’s not taking appreciably any more shots than he shoot. We’re okay with CJ taking 12+ shots a game, but here are their respective percentages: CJ – 42 / 79 / 35 / 49; Raja – 42 / 91 / 36 / 49. They are virtually the same. Raja’s not doing much else in the boxscore, but he’s here instead of in the ‘Holding their own’ category because to start the season he was shooting 35.9 fg% and 28.0 3pt%. He worked to get that up.
- Clearly, our record would be way worse if it wasn’t for Earl Watson. He’s bringing 3.6 ppg and 3.0 apg; somehow playing mostly with guys who are way worse than he should be playing with. I’m going to write more later in it’s own post, so let’s just look at the GO Rating improvement of 3.9 to 19.9. Amazing.
- Obviously, Gordon Hayward is playing better as well. Hayward no longer sucks, and he’s playing like a benchwarmer now. (A huge step up from before) (Before you call me a hater, look back – he was shooting 14 3pt%, getting 0.1 apg, and so on . . . )
Naturally, if I write about the guys who are playing better, I have to write about the guys who are producing worse than what they started off giving our team.
- Paul Millsap happens to be playing worse with each passing set of 10 games. That’s what the stats show, but more than that, I think the reason for his decline isn’t that he’s necessarily playing poorly now – it’s just that he was playing out of his mind during the first 10 games of the season. After the first 10 games of the season he was averaging 22 ppg (61 fg%), 9 rpg, and 3 apg. Those are 40 year old Malone numbers from a guy who had only previously come off the bench in his career. Now he’s averaging 17 ppg (52 fg%), 8 rpg, and 2 apg. He’s not ‘bad’ at all – he’s just not as Mega-Millsap form anymore.
- It’s not really fair to say it, but according to the books, Mehmet Okur got worse. Who knew that averaging 6.2 ppg and 3.0 rpg would be high points for his season. I really want him to get healthy and come back as an effective player for the Jazz. Right now, though, he’s far from that. The lone bright spot is that his season assist to turn over ration is 2.7 – which is second best on the team. He needs to get healthy and on the floor. He deserves and incomplete, but because I’m sticking to three categories here, this is where he belongs.
- On the flip side of Memo’s slide is Kyrylo Fesenko. I love this kid. This is not a secret. But he’s played in less than 40 games so far, and the Jazz team has played in 51 so far. He only plays 8.8 mpg at that. It’s hard to look great with such limited time. His minutes went down, and his previously awesome assist to turn over ratio (of 2.0) is now down to 0.8. His per game averages aren’t great, but he still gets to the line (for a guy who doesn’t get playing time this is evocative of his play style), fouls less, and his ft% is scraping 40% right now. With this kid you’re either in the camp that he lacks a brain and a heart, or the camp where he lacks playing time and confidence. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between with this frustratingly inconsistent player?