I noticed two things while up all night with insomnia earlier this week.
First, I still enjoy the TV show Firefly and way more than is healthy or than it probably deserves. Feel free to judge me for that.
Second, the end of the Jazz season has sparked an influx of excellent FanPosts. It's a good feeling, to finally be done with this year and moving on from the Ty Corbin era. (And I don't mean that to disparage the departed; it just feels good to look forward to something new and unknown.) Clearly, you guys have felt that, too, and it's shown in your writing.
So this week's Wednesday Downbeat is all yours, Dunkers. Shiny? Shiny.
First up: You may have noticed friend-of-the-Dunk @bjcseven's tweets during the season about which referees were assigned to each Jazz game. He's been keeping track of all the stats, and now that the Corbin Era is over, he's ready to publish his findings:
I was fortunate enough to exchange e-mails with a high ranking NBA team official and he mentioned some of the things that his team would be interested in finding out: which official is making the most foul calls, where on the floor they are calling them from, and which team are they making the most calls against. The idea is that they should be close to even during a game (depending on the team's style). Peroidcally throughout the year I would track such cases (you can find the recap from opening day against OKC here).
The conclusion I came up with after all of this? The Jazz probably weren't good enough during the Ty Corbin era for the officials to impact many of the games.
Not surprising, but the data is interesting to check out, so click through for that.
This year's playoffs have already seen a number of questionable refereeing decisions, some of which the league has even acknowledged already. It's led me to wonder if the NBA under Adam Silver will be more transparent and willing to own up to mistakes than the iron-fisted, at times Orwellian regime of David Stern.
Do you think there's been a change in how referees treat the Jazz since Jerry Sloan retired? Will it improve with our new coach? Interested to hear your thoughts, if you have any.
One of the biggest questions heading into this offseason is what the Jazz will do with Gordon Hayward. And the biggest aspect of that uncertainty is his market value, and whether Dennis Lindsey will be willing to match it.
Combojazz speculates in this FanPost that Hayward, thought to have been seeking something in the neighborhood of $50 million last offseason, may be looking at less now:
The point is, with the CBA changes, teams these days are much more reluctant to pay big money to unproven players, or guys with holes in their games. I don't think G-Time is 5-6 million dollars better than Monta Ellis, or 3 million better than Mr. All Star Paul Millsap.
But wait! You might say that Hayward is 24 and thus as a young guy(tm) will only get better(tm). Not so fast, he hasn't really gotten better(tm) over the last three years. In fact, his shooting went through a significant decline this year. I hope he'll get better(tm), but he has given teams no evidence that he actually will.
Look for Hayward to get offered something around 9,000,000 per year give or take 1.5 million by another team this off season, and watch the Jazz gleefully match.
While Combojazz backs up his analysis with interesting comparisons to Monta Ellis and Paul Millsap, I personally would never underestimate the willingness of some NBA GMs to throw money around in free agency. It's true that restricted free agents usually see less action than their unrestricted counterparts. But there will be plenty of buyers this year, and a bidding war isn't out of the question even after Hayward's somewhat lackluster season.
Let's just hope nobody pulls a Portland and tries to screw us over with a toxic offer sheet again.
It's hard for me to watch too much of the early rounds of the playoffs when the Jazz aren't in them. That's the price we pay for tanking, I guess. (Or rebuilding, or reloading, or not skipping steps. Pick your buzzword.)
You may have seen this Bill Barnwell article on Grantland with a thought on how to shorten the first round of the playoffs. Well, this FanPost from Dunker mulrich goes a step further, reorganizing the latter portion of the regular season in addition to re-seeding for the playoffs and determining draft position:
Divide the season into three parts (not counting preseason): qualifying, seeding, and playoffs.
Part I: Qualifying The regular season would be 56 games The top fourteen teams (or seven from each conference) then qualify for the playoffs, the remaining 16 become lottery teams.
Part II: Seeding The remaining 26 games would have each of the playoff teams play each other once at home and once on the road. Playoff seeding will be based on a teams record during this 26 game schedule. Tie-breaks would be based on head-to-head then qualifying season record. The 16 lottery teams would also play each other, the top two teams qualify for the two remaining playoff spots. The draft order is determined by the best remaining record of the 14 lottery bound teams (best remaining team gets the top pick, and so on). Tie-breakers would be based on head-to-head records then regular season record.
Part III: Playoffs Basically the same as we currently have it. Playoff seeding is based on record from previous 26 games. Best record gets top seed. The shorter seeding season would discourage teams from resting players in advance of the playoffs since teams are unlikely to get a large lead in the W column over 26 games.
Color me intrigued, mulrich. What do you think, folks? It'd definitely take some getting used to...
Hardwood18 is working on a series of posts looking at who the Jazz might draft according to different criteria, especially outside the top four. Here's his take on shooters and scorers:
I would get hung if I proposed trading back in the draft rather than up and moving our 4-7 pick in exchange for 2 mid teen picks so that we can get Doug McDermott and Trey Burke's former Michigan teammate Nik Stauskas. These guys can flat out shoot the ball. McDermott is a cross between Kyle Korver and Dirk Nowitski. Yes, the 10th leading scorer of all time, Dirk Nowitski. I can't stomach letting another team nab the 5th leading scorer in NCAA history, For those who say "but he is slow and can't play defense" (which contradicts my post - draft for....athleticism, speed and defense), McDermott actually is a very willing defender and runs the floor surprisingly well for a lanky white kid. (keep in mind, 3 of the best players in Utah Jazz history were considered skinny white kids that lacked athleticism- Maravich, Stockton and Hornacek). In the instance McDermott can't beat the new and improved up tempo Jazz team of the future down the court, one of his signature plays is to have the ball handler attack the rim and kick it back out to him for a 3 ball Steph Curry style.
Frankly, though, I don't even want to think about not getting a top-four pick. That way lies madness.
Clark already gave you a fantastic Downbeat yesterday with lots of thoughts on potential coaches to replace Ty Corbin. Chowda follows that up with a post arguing that a change in philosophy can be a good thing:
There's no doubting that Ty is a good person--he's just not a good head coach. I also believe Jim Boylen is a good person--he visited a friend of mine at Huntsman Cancer Institute as he was living his last days with a gliablastoma. But, I don't believe that Jim Boylen is or will be a good head coach at this level. The Jazz need a head coach with proven results as a head coach, whether that be someone from the college ranks (I'd be careful with that, though) or a Stan/Jeff Van Gundy or a Lionel Hollins or whomever. Yes, there are Hornaceks, Thibodeaus, Vogels and other assistant coaches who prove to be very successful when transitioning from assistant to head coaching positions, but those coaches successes, I believe, are attributable to who THEY are and the ideas they bring rather than assuming that they will produce similar results to Coach X because they were an assistant to Coach X for Y number of years.
Perhaps reinventing the wheel is the wrong metaphor, but my point is that sometimes assuming that one type of wheel will work on all cars because it came from the same factory is pure fallacy.
So Clark contends that the next Jazz head coach will be a "savvy assistant," while Chowda sides with proven winners. What do you think?