Okay, let's go look at some Utah Jazz basketball topics in an all-over-the-place, but suspiciously planned way. This week's Syncopation looks at the roll of the dice with roster transactions. Sometimes you win, but you don't always win. Players blossom, don't get a chance, get hurt, or never figure it out. We also look at the shot distribution data for this team. You will be shocked! Also: Video games, checking up on ex-players, and a somewhat impassioned rant.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
On June 27th, 2013, the Denver Nuggets drafted center Rudy Gobert. He was then traded later on that night to the Utah Jazz for cash, and second round pick point guard Erick Green. Since that time Gobert has become a fundamental part of the Jazz' league leading defense. Green hasn't been that important for the Nuggets. He played the 2013-14 season with a team from Siena, Italy. The next season he played 43 games for the Nuggets. This season he played in 3 before getting waived on November 5th, 2015. He was moved to make room for Jazz killing forward Kostas Papanikolaou. Ironically, he was waived right before the Jazz @ Nuggets game. So he didn't even get a chance for a "revenge game".
Grant Jerrett was drafted 40th in the 2013 NBA Draft. He was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers, and then traded that night to the Oklahoma City Thunder. He spent most of his time in his rookie year with their NBADL team. But on February 19th, 2015 he was traded to the Utah Jazz. He played in three games and then the season ended. He then got injured in the first half of the first game of the Utah Summer League. It was a serious injury that would keep him out of both the Utah and Las Vegas Summer Leagues, all of training camp, and all of the preseason games. He was cut on October 15th, 2015.
The Utah Jazz also lost starting point guard Dante Exum during the summer, and point guard has been a funny thing. Before he was injured Olivier Hanlan was drafted in the second round, though he didn't impress in summer league. He signed for the season to play in Latvia, and that's fine. Bryce Cotton was cut during training camp. But on October 25th, 2015, Phil Pressey was claimed on waivers by the Utah Jazz. Pressey spent a few hours with the team (on paper) before being waived with the purpose of him steadying the Idaho Stampede's roster. Such that the Jazz-run Stampede passed on a number of good point guards in their NBADL Draft. (Jimmer Fredette, a point guard, was clearly on the board with the first pick.) Of course, on November 4th, 2015, he signed a contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. And the flash are now without a legit starting NBADL point guard.
Sometimes you win . . . other times you trade Rudy Gobert for garbage.
That's a boring title for some really nerdy stuff. Here is the distribution of the shots for each player on the team. Of course, this data alone isn't perfect. We'd want to also see the time on the shot clock, if the shot is an open one, or what type of play resulted in this shot (pick and roll vs. post up, for example). Still, the data is fun to look at.
Point Guards: Mostly just three pointers, which is what we saw of Dante Exum last season. Other point guards on other teams, like Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, or John Wall, get to the rim. That's not the case for our guys. That's fine. They should be dumping off to a bigman when they get that low. And they do. Trey Burke is shooting at least 1/3 of the time "close-ish", but Raul Neto is really outside only at this point.
Wing Players: Here you see some crazy variety. Elijah Millsap is almost all about shooting close to the rim. Joe Ingles is mostly just shooting from deep. Our three main wings, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, and Rodney Hood, are pretty diverse through the five shooting distances.
Bigmen: Go big, or go home. Or Rudy Gobert just needs to shoot the ball as close as possible. I think we're all fine with that. Tibor Pleiss has only taken one shot, guess where it was from. Derrick Favors is pretty much where you'd want him to be -- but it's clear that Trevor Booker and Trey Lyles are not real stretch bigs.
What do you think of this data? Too many shots from no-mans-land for Burke, Burks, Ingles, and Lyles?
Are you playing NBA2k16?
Are you playing this game? Are you playing it on PC or a console? Are you also playing the mobile app? If you said "yes" to any of those things, reveal yourself in the comments section so I can add you to my friends list. I pretty much only play the "MyTeam" version of the game. It's a collectible card game where you play games with a roster you are given, and the better you play the more currency you get to purchase player packs. These packs sometimes have good things in them. Very rarely do you find Utah Jazz players in them. My goal in "MyTeam" mode is to exclusively play with Jazz players. You can't do that and also win against the best teams out there, so this also includes historical Jazz players, and former Jazz players. I also include Jazz draft picks as well, so my man Erick Green was my back up point guard for a while as I was climbing the ranks.
My Current Roster is:
- PG: Deron Williams '09, Mo Williams '16, Trey Burke '16
- SG: Pete Maravich '71, Jeff Hornacek '98, Kyle Korver '16
- SF: Dominique Wilkins '86, Gordon Hayward '16
- PF: Paul Millsap '16, Derrick Favors '16
- C: Rudy Gobert '16, Al Jefferson '09, Kyrylo Fesenko '16
(Fes is on there to keep my overall rating lower than it should be.)
Also, if you are a MyTeam player, how the heck do you get Jeff Hornacek's shots to go in the basket?
Checking up on your Exes:
Apparently this is something that is both creepy and fascinating. Even moreso this season because, well, some of these guys are having interesting seasons. Will former point guardbounce back with more structure and authority? Is going to break out, or be psychologically crushed on the bench? How crazy are and ? How crazy is it that is still in the league? Let's check up on everyone.
Over the last five seasons (2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15) there have been a number of guys who have played for thethat are not on the team this time around. It's a tidy number of 40 total players. Some you love. Others you like. Still others that you are curious about. And perhaps a few that you didn't have any strong feelings for.
Here they are:
|Former||Last Five Seas||2010-2011||2011-2012||2012-2013||2013-2014||2014-2015|
Here are the guys on the lower hemisphere of playing time:
|Former||Last Five Seas||2010-2011||2011-2012||2012-2013||2013-2014||2014-2015|
Only 16 of them are on NBA rosters this season, and here are their current season stats:
Okay,so this is like a fully roster. That's kind of funny. Only four guys are playing 30+ mpg, Sap, MoLo, Mar-v-p, and DeMarre. Most of them are scoring 10+ ppg, while nearly half are all regular starters. C.J. is playing some defense, but Sap is still the man. Biggest surprise? Marvin is a double double threat?
Of course, the one guy we probably wish was on the team the most is, who doesn't fit into the last five season range. Which is crazy. What was Kevin O'Connor thinking? Kover's been gone for so long. What a bad move . . .
Still, though, the only reason for this section was to post this Jeremy Evans video:
Don't call it a come-back. (Okay, call it a come-back.)
I really want to bring these back -- back in the good old days these were the things I used to do at this site besides one-off stats pieces. (Gather round young Utah Jazz fans, back when we were a playoff team winning nine games a post-season, and our offense used to dominate teams, while our defense was passable . . . ) The Sunday Syncopation is a place where I'll get a chance to let down (what's left of) my hair, and editorialize a little bit more. I really love this team. I love this Jazz team so much because it's a mix of potential, and learning, and growth, and most of all, Jazz basketball.
It's really Jazz once again. Now, I know Jazz isn't as cool with millennials as it is with people Clint Eastwood's age, but bear with me. Jazz is co-operation. Jazz basketball under Quin Synder is returning to it. Back in the John Stockton / Karl Malone / years there were two really great players and a bunch of questionably useful background players. The music they made was great, but because of greatness within. Bereft of those two stars Sloan still conducted a winner, and had to evolve the playbook accordingly. But there was TOO MUCH balance, such that even the worst players got an equal share (think: running plays for instead of knowing where points actually came from).
That's not really a valid criticism of the later Sloan years, but after so long that cowboy wanted to hang it up. (Also, I don't think Jerry Sloan listens to much Jazz music.)
made some fans sing the blues.
Now we have Quin Snyder. There's passing. There's moving without the ball. There's co-operation. But this is something we haven't seen in a while -- we also have solos. Players can break off in this offense and stay within the offense, while showcasing their elite skills. The plays start off with perimeter passing and dribble hand-offs. But it can move organically into a back-screen leading to a post up, or a side pick-and-roll, or even a player taking the ball to the rim on his own. It's a high skill game that I don't think or Adam Keefe could keep up with.
It's sheet music you don't put out in front of novices.
It's a great collection of students brought together by Dennis Lindsey, and conducted by Quin Snyder . . . and damn . . . at times this offense looks really like they are on the verge of breaking out.
I do feel like in time the offense will not just improve, but eclipse the defense. Defense was the bigger worry, and almost all of the first training camp (last season) was on defense. Most of this last training camp was focused on defense as well. Right now the team is the best defensive team, and it shows. The defense is the rhythm section. That sets up the beautiful music that's the offense.
And I do think the offense is going to be fine. Maybe not this year. But with a return of, a more confident , and a role-focused . . . we have a lot of great music to play in the future.
The pace is slow, in an era where everyone wants to push the tempo up. And with the slow pace there's just less music around for those who have low attention spans. It's not Top 40, it's Jazz. It's harder to get into. But with the defense stepping up there's going to be more transition. There is going to be a faster tempo in parts. And these sections are going to be beautiful to experience.
I'm really excited because I've been a fan of this team from before they were championship contenders years ago. I've seen the rise and fall, and rise and fall, and really deep fall of this franchise. But it's coming around now. And it's a great time to be a fan again.