I don't have a ton to say about last night's game. The Jazz played well, for the most part (except for that stretch in the third quarter (and by that I mean pretty much the entire third quarter)). To hang with the Warriors for as long as they did is no mean feat.
And pretty much every core Jazzman had a decent game. The balance in the box score is impressive: 22 points for Derrick Favors, 17 for Gordon Hayward, 16 (!) for Rudy Gobert, 15 for Trey Burke, 13 for Enes Kanter and 12 for Joe Ingles. On most nights, six Jazzmen scoring 12 points or more would spell a win for Utah. The Warriors are just that good. I'm okay with that for now.
Really, I'm just glad the results of the Jazz's many trades are finally bearing real fruit. Derrick Favors (acquired from the Nets) is blossoming. Gordon Hayward (a draft pick acquired via the Knicks) is justifying his new contract. Enes Kanter (a draft pick acquired from the Nets) is back from injury and striving to keep his starting spot, while Rudy Gobert (acquired via trade with the Nuggets) is the surprise of the season. Even Trey Burke (acquired in trade with Minnesota) has bounced back from some poor performances.
Of course, these improvements haven't led to a great many wins yet. But the Jazz have unquestionably been more competitive in the last few weeks. Whether that means the Jazz have "won" any of the trades mentioned above remains to be seen.
1320's Ben Anderson, writing at KSL, took a crack Tuesday at rating the trade that brought Favors and Kanter to Utah and shipped out Deron Williams:
In total, the haul is impressive, as four years since the deal, the Jazz have ended up with three starting-caliber NBA players in place of Williams.
However, three starters in the NBA don't add up to one All-Star level player, especially one that at the time of the trade was a top five player at his position in the league.
Until recently, the winner of this deal seemed to hinge on the health of Williams, now in Brooklyn with the Nets. The point guard missed 11 games in his initial season with the team, four the following year, and 18 last season. This year, Williams has been forced to sit out five games for the Nets.
The further the Jazz get from the trade, the clearer the picture gets. O'Connor made the right trade. While Kanter and Burks have contributed mixed results, Favors' growth has given the Jazz the most promising young piece in the deal, if not the best player overall.
We'll get to the Nets in a bit. But what's your impression of the Jazz's progress at this point? Did they make the right decisions in acquiring the current roster? Is it still too early to tell? I feel like the Jazz rebuild has taken longer than I hoped or expected, but there may be light at the end of the tunnel.
Speaking of rating trades, our frenemy Andy Larsen has begun rating every trade in Jazz franchise history. This week's entry is the purchase of Mel Counts from the Lakers.
I...did not know a person named Mel Counts ever played in the NBA. But here's a description from Andy:
Mel Counts had been a backup center for essentially his entire career, and the "future considerations" mentioned above seem to have been just cash: while New Orleans Jazz VP Bill Bertka "did not disclose what the future considerations were," Sports Illustrated reported in an article later in the season the Counts was acquired "by purchase". Another source reported the same.
This makes sense, because Counts was 33, a career backup, and had played for five teams before the Jazz. He played just 1.5 seasons for New Orleans, being waived on February 17, 1976.
Click through for more info on Mr. Counts, and the verdict on the deal, inconsequential as it may have been.
FanPosts! Two for you this week. pacoelcid, always with the interesting stats and charts, takes a look at estimating PER:
The problem with PER is that it's creator, John Hollinger, never meant for it to be calculated on a one game basis. Rather, PER measures a player's efficiency over the course of a season. In fact to calculate PER you are required to include such things as league totals for points, field goals, free throws, tree throw attempts, offensive rebounds, rebounds, turnovers, and assists (see calculation).
Knowing the foregoing, I set out on a quest to find a way to estimate PER, and, after much internet research, I found a couple of formulas that purported to estimate Hollinger's PER. The estimate I found to be most reliable was created by Wayne Winston from The Wages of Wins Journal, and it is Wayne's formula that I utilize to estimate PER.
And Hawkeye199, a visiting Celtics fan, has a trade proposition for you to consider. (But it involves giving up Derrick Favors...):
Well lets face it you have amazing big men and terrible guards. you have two young guys who can replace favors in kanter and gobert. Eric bledsoe signed to a five year deal will help tremendously. you have 3 stars, one in bledsoe, one in hayward and one in gobert. You still have plenty of playing time to develop kanter and exam. With a lottery pick this year I think you guys can be serious contenders. Not to mention the addition of a first round pick.
Click through for the deets. And be nice to the filthy, dirty thief who wants to steal our Derrick. (Kidding. Promise. Mostly.)
Speaking of the Nets -- remember, earlier, when we were speaking of the Nets? -- this isn't Jazz-related, but rumor has it that Brooklyn owner Mikhail Prokhorov, frustrated with throwing good money after bad for aging talent, wants out. Via SBNation:
Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is looking to sell the team, according to Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick.
Prokhorov has reportedly hired Evercore Partners - an independent investment banking advisory firm - to help with the sale.
Prokhorov purchased an 80 percent stake in the Nets for about $220 million in 2010, and he also owns 45 percent of the Barclays Center, the team's new arena that opened in 2012. As of right now, only the team is for sale.
If nothing else, the Jazz certainly seem a more stable franchise than the Nets after the Deron Williams trade. The Millers have always been smart about spending money on the team, and I don't think we need to worry about a fire sale any time soon.
Meanwhile, it seems unlikely that the Nets would leave Brooklyn (if Prokhorov is indeed selling). The NBA likes having two teams in the New York area, and the Knicks are even more of a dumpster fire. Much as I'd like to see the league return to a market like Seattle, I don't see it happening soon.
Alec Burks was at shootaround on Tuesday, sporting an arm and shoulder sling while shouting advice to his teammates. @DJJazzyJody noticed...and got a little dramatic:
(My first Vine credit! I'm so proud.)