Paul Millsap – Al Jefferson – C.J. Miles – Devin Harris – Raja Bell
The Utah Jazz played 15 games last month, and it was a month of ups and downs for sure. We went over how the team fared way back in the January Review / February Preview post. Now let’s look at the guys who accumulated the most "Jazz Quintet" points over the month. (And yes, I stopped posting the Jazz quintets, but I did still keep track of which guys were showing up) Here they are:
After the jump – a breakdown of their play over the last month!
Paul Millsap: Paul Millsap has been a member of the Jazz Quintet for every game. Not just this last month. I mean it, every game. This season, and most likely last season as well. Dude still manages to do something good on the court even if his shot isn’t falling. (I wish we could say the same for other members of the team as well) Seeing how each game this last month was a great game (more or less) for ‘Sap, let’s just look at his January averages: 18.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.9 bpg. Probably the most impressive thing is that against the Murderer’s Row of bigmen he has played against he’s averaging about 4 free throw attempts a game. I don’t think we’ve ever see him get ‘that much’ respect from the refs before. It’s not much, but it’s a start. One can only wonder what would happen if he lucked into becoming an All-Star? Like a solid 4.3 free throw attempts a game maybe? Great season so far Paul. Keep it up!
Al Jefferson: Big Al hasn’t had the best season so far, missing a game here or there with injury – or some early games where his inefficiency was used against him. However, in January he averaged 18.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.8 spg, and 1.7 bpg. Essentially is the type of Utah Jazz center we’ve always dreamed of. A legit back to the basket big who does things like rebound and block shots. And score. It’s our first option. He’s not so hot on defense still, but when a guy like Devin Harris gets torched every night, I don’t think Jefferson is really the reason why we lose some of the games we do. He had 6 double doubles in the month, and went over 20 points 6 times as well. I don’t love Al Jefferson, but I like him very, very much.
C.J. Miles (@CJMiles34): Would you believe that this guy was one of our top 5 players in 60% of our games last month? I look at the advanced stats so, yeah, I see C.J. His deep shot isn’t a sure thing so far this season but he has started to attack the basket with the regularity that we all know he’s capable of. Andrei Kirilenko’s shot wasn’t falling every night, but he would still get to the free throw line. We’re seeing the same thing from C.J. now. In +0.6 mpg from December to January he improved all across the board. Probably the biggest thing we need from him is bench production. In that very small increase in playing time he’s responded with a +2.3 ppg jump. Also of note: C.J. Miles shot 81.9 ft% last month. For a guy who is making a living getting to the line right now, that’s something he has to keep up. Over all his averages are average, but it’s the volatile C.J. that our team sometimes leans on for a spark.
Devin Harris: Wow, Devin. I know this isn’t easy for you – and to your credit you really are trying to be what the Jazz need you to be right now. You get all the ‘good boyfriend points’ or whatever it is someone earns when they are sublimating their needs for the greater good. Harris is a speed guy who is a volume shooting, scoring point guard. He’s not a slow it down, pass-first type. In January he managed 4.9 apg, and on the other side of the offensive ball, took less than 7 shots a game. For his career (not his peak, mind you), he averages 10 shots a game. During his peak he was taking more than twice as many shots. His 4.9 apg don’t look hot, but when you adjust it for playing time, and bump it up to if he was plying 36 mpg, then they are a hair shorter than his best seasons in New Jersey. He’s not playing great game to game, but he did manage 7 good ones last month – and he gets on the list. Just throwing this out there . . . he would be GREAT on another team that wanted him to do the things he’s great at.
Raja Bell: Remember when we all hated him – and then his wife delivered a baby boy, and he got his shot back, and helped us win games (like the one against the Warriors where he prevented Monta Ellis from getting a game winner)? Yeah, that has been Raja’s season so far. He had 7 good games last month also, and we needed every inch of what he’s been stretched to do this season (which is more than just riding off in the sunset being a vet shooting corner jumpers on a contender; instead he’s head (if Earl is the heart) of this youth plagued team that is fighting for the playoffs). Bravo on the comeback Raja. I did not think you had this in you.
Jazz Quintet Full Season Score (Up to Game 22):