The Utah Jazz didn't have their best week of the season, but you can argue that so far it was one of the most impressive ones. The Jazz, way back last weekend, played their last game on their East Road Trip #2 and defeated the Atlanta Hawks 97-96 (Recap). After some days to recuperate, they played the Toronto Raptors at home and won 93-89 (Recap). And on Friday night they went out on the road again and sadly fell to the Dallas Mavericks 102-93 (Recap). The team went 2-1, and the wins were really close. The loss, not so much. Still, a 2-1 week isn't bad, especially with wins against two East playoff teams (well, top-ish order playoff teams). The loss to the Mavs looks bad on a preseason predictive poll; however, I felt like they were supposed to be okay. And their record, third in the West, indicates as such. Anyway, enough about the team -- how did the players do? Are the stars rising for the Jazz Big Three of , , and ?
Let's check it out:
Gordon continues to resurrect his offensive game, and his shooting percentage has risen from game to game to game .3333, .4000, and last game .5714. The team is going to need more of that going forward, especially from one of Utah's main offensive threats. Unlike his scoring, his rebounding was there all week long as he pulled down 6, 7, and 7 boards. He continues to be one of the main focuses on defense for opponents, and thus he was harried into a 1:1 assist to turn over ratio. That's not great, but his assists would be up if more guys were making shots. G-time also bounced back from his 0-4 shooting from deep against the Hawks to go 4-9 over the rest of the week. All in all, a okay week for him. But this is the type of week we've seen over his entire career up to this point. Gordon has another gear to his game, and I think he can reach it on a more consistent basis. All star players do have that, and we've seen him get there before. We'd love to see him have a star-like game more than a 15 points per game going forward.
While we hope he scores more and at a higher rate, the team still does will with him in the game, according to the popcorn game flows and the simple +/- values.
This Week's Performance: 15.33 ppg (.4474 / .3077 / .7273), 6.67 rpg, 2.33 apg, 0.33 spg, 0.33 bpg
Star Meter: I don't think Gordon's star is rising, as seen from his play. He gets interviews after the game, he's on radio shows. His visibility is there locally and nationally; however, I just don't think that he is going to be an All-Star this year. He has gone over 20 points just three times this season, despite taking 15 or more shots in a single game numerous times. This is an offense-first league, and there's a huge bias towards scoring. Especially with the rule changes and dynamic shift towards more wing oriented gameplay.
This guy is, easily, our best player. We've felt like he had the potential to be that and it's nice to know that he is reaching his potential. Over the week he ended up playing 99.63 minutes (3rd most on the team), and took 43 total shots. That's like half a game for, but for our buried on the bench big, it's a step in the right direction. His 14.33 shots just aren't enough, especially because he is shooting an astounding .6279 from the field and getting all kinds of defensive attention. He's not getting the respect from the refs though, and part of that is due to the fact that he was buried under the bench for so long. But that is a topic for another day. Derrick got to the line 7 times against the Raptors. But only once against the Hawks, and zero times against the Mavericks. I don't know if this situation is ever going to resolve itself, but man, he's only a hair off of being a legit 20-10 guy. And that hair is either a faster tempo played by the Jazz, some easy buckets in transition, or some freebies at the line.
His amazing SPG+BPG values didn't match up this week, but hey, he's doing everything he can.
This Week's Performance: 19.67 ppg (.6279 / .0000 / .6250), 9.00 rpg, 2.00 apg, 0.33 spg, 0.67 bpg
Star Meter: I think that his star continues to rise as people around the NBA recognize him -- almost for the first time -- as that guy who was drafted 3rd overall in 2010.
The bigman in the middle had a tough week as there were terrorist attacks back home. It is tough to go to work when your loved ones as so far away. Gobert had to do it, and he did well. On offense he is becoming a dominant bigman. When he gets the ball he either finishes it, or gets to the line where he shot 70% last week. The problem, of course, is that his teammates are having trouble getting him the ball. He only shot it 4.00 times a game over the last three games. In pick and roll situations some of our ball handlers are trying to force the issue and that has resulted in turn overs. (By now people know to scout Gobert on those.) Other times he runs the floor in transition, but he doesn't know how to run the floor yet in a way that results in him being open and in scoring position. While Favors is a 20-10 guy, it's likely that with better co-hesion with his team mates, Gobert, can be a double-double guy. It would be nice to see that happen, but again it may end up being a pace of play issue. Unless our guys can average the "big divisible by 5" numbers they will not be seen as true stars.
Quin Snyder may not overtly care about that, though Gobert does. What they both want is wins, and when Rudy is on the floor wins usually happen. Winning does, as he was a +11 in +/- over the two wins and one loss. The wins were of the smallest of margins both times, and in those cases it's clear that he's a big factor.
This Week's Performance: 8.67 ppg (.6667 / -- / .7143), 9.33 rpg, 1.67 apg, 1.33 spg, 2.00 bpg
Star Meter: I don't think he's reached a star level plateau at the age of 23, but more people nationally seem to be infatuated with Hassan Whiteside. He gets the stats. Rudy appears to make a bigger impact in determining if the team wins or loses.
This team continues to impress, with a very solid "Top 6" players.had some big scoring games this past week, is finally getting to the line again, and continues to be solidly effective off the bench.
- Rodney Hood: Rodney played the second most minutes on the team over the last week (107.40), and is really finding a groove on offense. He averaged 16.33 ppg (yes, more than Gordon), while taking 13.67 shots a game (.4390 / .3529 / .8750). Hood's shooting numbers would be even more impressive if he didn't go 0/4 from deep in the last game. In the first two games he was bombing from deep at a 6/13 rate. He also dished out 3.67 apg, grabbed 2.33 rpg, and stole the ball 1.0 times a game. His versatility is sorely needed with the starting group.
- Alec Burks: Off the bench Alec is returning to form as the Alec that we know. He went to the free throw line 13 times in the three games and made 11 of them, 84.62 FT%. Only Rudy's 14 FTA were greater, and Rodney's 87.50 FT% was better. If our main three guys aren't getting to the line appropriately for how much they play it's nice to know that Alec can still do that. One thing he had trouble with was making threes at his excellent rate while taking many more of them. Alec went 1/3, 1/4, 1/5 over the week, and those numbers aren't impressive. That brought his entire shooting scores down to 41.03 FG% for the week. Distance shooting aside, he still averaged 15.33 ppg, 4.33 rpg, 1.33 apg, 1.00 spg, and 0.67 bpg.
- Trey Burke: Trey is playing the fewest minutes of his career this season and this past week played only 21.26 mpg as the "Wing T" gets more burn. His minutes are down, but his play is still effective. The Michigan guard averaged 9.00 ppg (.4286 / .4545 / .6667), 3.00 apg, 2.67 rpg, and 1.00 spg this week. That was not his most impressive week this season, but if he averages 10/3/3/1 he'll be the first person in team history to average that off the bench.
Honorable mentions:had a very good week and in particular had two really good games in a row, finishing with 5.33 ppg, 1.33 apg, 1.00 rpg, and 0.67 spg while shooting 50.00 FG% . . . averaged 6.33 RPG this week . . . averaged 0.67 BPG in three games, in only 5.27 mpg . . . is seeing less and less of the court, but finished the Raptors game strong, and while he didn't score his 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal were all hustle / all heart plays that help your team win the game . . . seems to have beaten out in the pecking order, Chris played in all three games this week, while Eli did not . . . and in a surprise was 3rd best on the team in over-all +/- this week with a +6. I don't get it either.
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