Part of me is sad that after this part 1 and part 2, there’s probably only going to be one more major stat breakdown this season from me; the one that’ll come after the regular season is finished. Where the heck did this season go? Honestly, this has been both the quickest and slowest season for me as a fan in recent memory. We’re a few playoffs removed from playing till June (like we did back in the salad days of our "Big Three" being Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams, and Mehmet Okur). Now, more than ever, it appears like our season is going to end in another few weeks.
Anyway, part 1 of this Game 70 edition will focus on GO Ratings only. Why? Well, I think that it’s a handy number that we can use to evaluate our players by on the offensive side of things. Our offensive system is complex and rewards complete players. The formula for Gestalt Offense is complex as well. If for no other reason, this way we can see the different tiers of players by looking at the whole team. Without further preamble . . . here’s the Go Rating stats:
Point guards, Shooting guards, and Small Forwards:
Deron Williams, and his amazing value, remain towering reminders of what we’ve lost. I’m not going to get into that again, but it’s hard to avoid noticing how his numbers almost eclipse the cumulative value of everyone else. (Deron, back when he was in killer mode, was a hair under 150; everyone else not named Devin adds up to 153.) Devin Harris has had a setback. The main culprit is that he’s now averaging 3 less assists a game than he did during the stat break down for the 60 game mark. His drop off in a Jazz uniform between these two data sets is LARGER than the difference in assists per game between him and his backup: Earl Watson. That’s not very inspiring, but it’s just looking at stats at the micro level. A drop off from (essentially) the 90s to the 70s in GO Rating is hard to ignore. Especially since Go Rating is somewhat skewed towards point guards (who get more opportunities to get assists).
Andrei Kirilenko has moved back up into the 45+ range, which is where he was to start the season when he couldn’t miss a shot and played really well. CJ Miles’ stock continues to rise as well. These are both very solid players – rotation players on a contender – and with a more expanded role (now that Deron isn’t around), we would only see rises in their GO Ratings. They are, without a doubt, the most versatile players on the team now. Andrei still gets to the line more than any skinny white guy has even gotten before in the modern NBA, and CJ can be a lights out player in this league when he’s rolling.
Earl Watson is steady and unspectacular – he’s been under 20 all season long. He has a healthy 2.4 assist to turn over ratio for a back up point, but for the season he’s shooting 39 fg%. I think Earl is a good player but Derek Fisher he isn’t. Normally I’d be more upset about a guy on our team getting regular minutes and handling the ball as much as he does when he only shoots 39 fg% . . . but Ronnie Price is shooting 36 fg%. Price is a hustle guy. He’s able to excite the crowd. He went to college in the area (I’m assuming, how big is Utah anyway . . . like the habitable parts?). He’s hurt right now, but each passing week makes me think we could pick up a better guard in the draft at some stage. As an aside, I wouldn’t mind Eric Maynor right about now . . .
Raja Bell is doing slightly better than Earl on offense, all things considered. He’s able to make the mid range jumper, but it’s not like his defense is helping us win games. All things being equal, if his defense isn’t helping us, then there is no excuse to keep guys like C.J. and even Gordon Hayward, behind him on the depth chart. At least they have upside.
Speaking of Gordo, Hayseed, OG-Time, The Preccccioussss, well, his rookie season is ending shortly. He’s getting better, even if he’s not getting lottery pick type of minutes. I don’t think a championship caliber team could have three or four rookies get big minutes and still win; but we’re not a championship caliber team right now. And it’s okay to admit it. Similarly, I think it’s okay to admit that the Jazz didn’t help themselves by keeping this kid on the bench so much this season. It’s not like he was sitting out of games, learning from watching a guy like Ray Allen or Caron Butler work on the court. It was Raja Bell. I have all the reason in the world to love Raja Bell, but I think he’s better suited as a mentor now, and not a big minute guy. We don’t need to recreate the Matt Harpring Farewell Tour all over again – where he continued to get way more playing time than his body could handle, or his talent deserved at the end of his career at the expense of developing younger wings. Call me a hater if you want, but I kind of see that happening here as well.
Power forwards and Centers:
The inverse relationship of Paul Millsap’s declining Go Rating and Al Jefferson’s inclining Go Rating is something we’ve all see over the course of this season. Sap started out with guns a-blazing, but as the season wore on, and his body wore itself out, he went from being a potential All-Star to a guy that someone like me thinks could be moved to the bench next season (while still playing 30+ mpg). Jefferson is the slow and steady, "I think I can . . . I think I can," locomotive that will power our offense for the next incarnation of this Jazz team. One hiccup around game 30 aside, he’s raised his CUMULATIVE Go Rating from 58 all the way up to 79. Centers are at a disadvantage in Go Rating because they don’t take or make a lot of threes, and they don’t get a chance to pad their assist stats. An 80+ Go Rating for a center is first option territory. The only thing really holding Jefferson back is his efficiency (doesn’t have an absurdly high fg%, nor does he get ‘free’ points from the free throw line). Sure, Karl Malone had a career average Go Rating of 135+ -- but we’re never going to get a Karl Malone players again. They only made one of him. And then he flexed, and broke the mold. (As an aside, Malone’s average of 135 only shows how GREAT Sap was playing at the beginning of the season, when he had a 125 Go Rating)
Derrick Favors is going to end up killing Jeremy Evans’ development. I had to say it. But Evans is never going to be good enough to deserve playing time over Favors. I love Evans. Before the Deron Trade he was the 3rd best big (PF or C) that played for us this year. Favors needs all the playing time he can get, and getting enough is going to be hard on this team unless Ty plays Sap at the 3 a bit more next season. Favors dropped 15 points from 60 to 70, but as we’ve all seen, he has the tools to produce for us in the ways that we want our bigs to produce: on the boards and on the low block.
Everyone else, well . . . everyone else hasn’t been much of a ‘threat’ to the other team on offense. Francisco Elson’s main weapon is his ft%, but he doesn’t get to the line. Kyrylo Fesenko teases us with one great offensive move and strong finish, and rewards his supporters with a week of stooge ball after. Mehmet Okur is shut down, and really should have just sat the entire season out. Marcus Cousin? Well, dude played WORSE on offense than Memo did when he first came back from what was previously a career ending injury.
Great stuff Amar, but, what the heck is GO Rating again?
Gestalt Offense attempts to put a numerical value on how much pressure a player puts on the other team (the defense). It gathers up all the stats related to shooting, scoring, efficiency, passing, turn overs, offensive rebounds, and a whole lot more. I wish the NBA kept stats on setting screens, because then I would be able to make it a little less guard centric in formula. If you search the internet you may find a few things I wrote about it here, here and here.