Wow, that was stinker, wasn’t it? Not many ‘bright spots’ last night. Our Jazz quintet performed with such a cacophony that I couldn’t even watch the game my usual 3 times. (Yes, I watch every game 3 times – especially the losses) I have a ton of posts to do today, so . . . let’s get this over with . . .
Al Jefferson: This is, essentially where we start to deviate from ‘good stats’ and ‘good play’. Dude came back from injury and dropped 21/11/2 on Tim Duncan and the Spurs. Of course, he was barely efficient while doing it. He shot barely over 50%, missed 9 shots, and only got to the free throw line once all game, despite playing 35 minutes. He scored at the rate of 1.10 points per shot. As a point of reference, last season Kyrylo Fesenko was going at the rate of 1.06 – and last season was one of his worst seasons for efficiency. We’re giving Al the Big Man on Campus number of touches, but he’s scoring a little bit better than a 3rd string center who can’t even get the Golden State Warriors to sign him. I think Diana is right in her assertions, perhaps we should call him "The Hollow Man" ? It’s unfair to totally bag on the guy who just got a 20/10 game, but 20/10 in a win is better than 20/10 in a loss. His strengths are not the strengths of the rest of the team, and there is a distinct asynchronicity when he’s on the floor. It’s a shame because he seems like a great guy besides that point.
Josh Howard: Howard was the other big "scorer" in this game, finishing with 18 points off the bench off of blisteringly poor shooting – 6 for 16. His nearly 33 fg% was still more efficient than Big Al in terms of points per shot because his value was 1.13. This is partly due to Howards affinity for getting to the free throw line; he got there 6 times last night – tops on the team. He also had 7 rebounds (augmented by a three shot in a row sequence at the rim where he tipped his own shot twice), 2 steals, and 1 block. He’s not a big assists guy (for far this season only 6 in 92 minutes played), but I think that’s because he has a tendency to shoot the ball as soon as he gets it. Last night he shot it 16 times in 26 minutes of action. That means he shot the ball once every 97.5 seconds he was on the floor. As a point of reference, this season Paul Millsap (who has been our MVP this season like last) shoots the ball once every 139.1 seconds. Howard was straight up ‘volume shooting’ last night. Big Al and Josh Howard are the first two ‘stars’ of our quintet for last night because they got theirs. They also displayed the type of efficiency that all great lottery teams need. Encore! Encore! All that said, he did less freelancing in this game than in others, but still missed a break away layup. His second of this season.
Paul Millsap: It becomes increasingly clear to me that Paul Millsap is getting too old for this sh*t. And he’s only 26 years old. Despite not being in serious foul trouble he only played 25 minutes in this game. He still finished with 8 and 7, with 2 assists and 3 steals to boot. Big Al had zero assists in 10 more minutes. Then again, I guess it’s Al’s (and Josh’s) prerogative to shoot it, and not pass it. I think we can see that ‘Sap is maturing into a really solid supporting piece, but his talents are probably squandered on this current Jazz squad. He doesn’t want to ‘settle’ for being a guy who gets good numbers on a bad team. Jefferson suggests the same, but we all know he’s most familiar with that role.
Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter: These guys, the erstwhile twin towers, played 36 minutes last night. That’s one more minute than Big Al played, by himself. They also had as many fouls as he had combined (2 for Favors, and 3 for Kanter – Al had 5). So I don’t think we can use the "foul trouble" excuse for last night. Were they overmatched? Yes, Favors did get blocked by Tiago Splitter – but that doesn’t mean you bench him. It was a poor follow up game for both of these guys. Favors finished with 6 points and 7 rebounds, and Kanter finished with 7 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist, and 1 block. Also they BOTH got to the free throw line 4 times each, in their combined 36 minutes per game. Big Al had 1 FTA in 35 minutes, and he ball in his hands a whole lot more. So, yeah, I’m glad we traded Memo instead of Big Al . . .
Oh, and just an aside, you may have noticed that none of our PGs or Wings (save for 6 for 16 Josh Howard) made this list. And you wonder how we got torched. Our non-bigs sucked it up bigtime last night. I'd tell you to ask Manu about them, but he wasn't even sure they were on the court when he was.