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When will the Jazz end their All-NBA Drought?

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Looking at NBA History, the Jazz roster, and the star studded SF spot in the NBA right now.

Hayward and Gobert are the GOAT
Hayward and Gobert are the GOAT
John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz have not had a top-15 NBA player since they traded Deron Williams, at least according to the NBA when putting together their All-NBA teams.

I think the Jazz are getting fairly close to having worthy candidates for this honor.

It has become increasingly clear that the Jazz's new core, big 3, or whatever you want to call them consist of Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert as the foundation with Alec Burks, Rodney Hood, Dante Exum being the next candidates of rounding out the heart of the team going forward as the team starts making legitimate pushes into the playoffs starting next season. (Sorry, Rally Churro, your short-lived push didn't count)

But out of our current top 3 players, how close are they to receiving the national awards/accolades that more and more Jazz fans are clamoring they deserve?

I would say that out of the 3, Hayward has the best chance to make an All-NBA team this year, although the odds do not look all that great.

The 3rd team last year were as follows: Damian Lillard, Goran Dragic, Paul George, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Al Jefferson. Only Dragic missed the playoffs, but his team still had a winning record. Kevin Love (All-NBA 2nd team) was the only player to be on a team with a losing record last season.

So with that out of the way, it's clear that it is nothing personal when Jazz players are being overlooked in national awards, one of the first hurdles is that being on a team with a losing record hurts your chances greatly.

I would say that the people who vote for the All-NBA teams (national sportswriters and broadcasters) probably will have Anthony Davis and arguably DeMarcus Cousins higher on the pecking order than any Jazz player in the totem pole of best non-playoff team players. But with that said, I think Hayward may have a fighter's chance.

Let's look at Gordon's competition for best small forwards in the NBA this season. I would say the top small forwards in the league right now in no particular order right now would be LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Hayward, and Draymond Green. I'll add Rudy Gay to the comparison too just for kicks.

Note: I'm assuming Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, and Kyle Korver will be grouped with the shooting guards.

Here are the basic traditional stats for these 6 small forwards (sorted by points per game):

Player

G

MP

PTS

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

FGA

FG%

3P%

FT%

LeBron

64

36.3

25.7

5.9

7.3

1.6

0.7

4.1

2.0

18.8

0.489

0.353

0.717

Durant

27

33.8

25.4

6.6

4.1

0.9

0.9

2.7

1.5

17.3

0.510

0.403

0.854

Gay

66

35.5

20.8

5.9

3.7

1.0

0.6

2.7

2.4

16.4

0.452

0.350

0.856

Hayward

70

34.8

19.6

4.9

4.2

1.4

0.4

2.8

1.8

14.5

0.449

0.360

0.807

Leonard

55

32.0

16.1

7.4

2.5

2.2

0.8

1.6

2.0

12.7

0.465

0.329

0.787

Draymond

72

31.6

11.8

8.1

3.6

1.6

1.3

1.7

3.2

9.7

0.444

0.341

0.661

With those stats, Durant is a legitimate candidate for 1st team, however, I think playing in less than 30 games this season will more likely than not keep him out of the running.

With that said, only LeBron of this group is worth mentioning for All-NBA 1st team, so the rest of these players are fighting for 2nd and 3rd best.

I must say that I was surprised with Rudy Gay's stats, I wrote him off many years ago as an inefficient ballhogger that puts up empty stats, but he's shooting as efficient as Hayward and also dropping nearly as many dimes as anyone not named LeBron on this list.

Also, I wish to clarify that basic stats do not do any justice for defensive stalwarts like Leonard and Green on this list. With that said, this list breaks down to 3 pairs of players: the elite superstars in James and the injured Durant, the solid numbers on non-playoff teams in Gay and Hayward, and the defensive cornerstones on winning teams in Leonard and Draymond.

With that said, let's start breaking it down more with a wide array of advanced stats (sorted by win shares):

Player

G

MP

PER

TS%

TRB%

AST%

STL%

BLK%

TOV%

USG%

OWS

DWS

WS

WS/48

VORP

ORTG

DRTG

LeBron

64

2323

26.0

0.579

9.3

37.9

2.3

1.5

15.5

32.6

6.9

2.6

9.5

0.197

1.9

112

105

Green

72

2278

16.5

0.543

13.7

15.9

2.5

3.1

13.6

17.3

3.0

4.9

8.0

0.168

5.4

109

96

Hayward

70

2433

20.5

0.569

8.2

22.2

2.2

1.0

13.8

26.4

5.5

2.5

8.0

0.158

3.2

111

106

Leonard

55

1758

21.1

0.553

13.0

13.1

3.6

1.8

9.7

22.9

3.2

3.7

6.8

0.187

4.2

110

97

Gay

66

2341

19.4

0.552

9.4

19.1

1.5

1.3

12.4

26.8

4.6

1.3

5.9

0.120

3.4

109

109

Durant

27

913

27.7

0.633

10.5

22.5

1.3

2.2

12.0

29.2

3.8

1.1

4.9

0.255

2.4

121

104

There is a lot of info to take in from this table but I'll go through the more important columns.

Durant and LeBron are clearly on another level from the rest on the offensive end when looking at their PER.

Hayward is the next best shooter after those 2, when looking at his fairly impressive true shooting percentage of 56.9%.

Leonard and Green are the best rebounders.

LeBron is assisting like a madman, while Durant and Hayward are next in line.

Leonard is the king of steals of this group.

Likewise, Draymond Green is the emperor of blocks out of them.

"With great assists comes great turnovers" -LeBron's Uncle Ben in a parallel universe.

Everyone but Green and Leonard appear to be one of their teams' top offensive options when looking at their usage.

Hayward is 2nd to LeBron in wins contributed on the offensive end this year with 5.5.

Green is the king of defensive win shares of the group followed by Leonard.

When looking at how many Wins per 48 minutes these players contribute, Hayward is sadly only ahead of Gay. Durant is at an invincible 0.255. This category led me most to believe that it is probably a bit premature to call Hayward missing out on All-NBA 3rd team a snub yet.

In the Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) column, the defensive end is emphasized more fairly and show that Draymond Green and Kawhi Leonard are 2 of the most irreplaceable guys on the court when looking at both ends.

Finally, the offensive and defensive ratings indicate that Durant was flat-out dominant on the offensive end while the rest of them were fairly close together; Green and Leonard are miles ahead of everyone else on the defensive end, Gay is the only "bad" one on defense.

Conclusion:

After looking at the stats, and also taking into mind the context of how each player's team is doing, where they fit into their team's system, and how little emphasis the national writers' usually place on the defensive end when doing these awards my prediction is that:

  • LeBron will make All-NBA 1st team
  • Durant would have made 1st or 2nd team had he played more games this year
  • None of the other 4 guys are a lock to make any All-NBA team, it is entirely possible that the NBA votes in 2 power forwards in each of the 2nd and 3rd teams over any small forwards since the talent pool really is much more vast in the bigmen pool over the small forwards. Think A. Davis, Griffin, the Gasols, Cousins, Aldridge, and probably Horford, Millsap, Dirk, or Duncan make it over any of them.
  • I predict only 1 of Green, Leonard, Hayward make it in on an All-NBA team, and it will most likely be 3rd team. Gay won't make it since Cousins is more deserving and there's no way 2 players from a losing team like the Kings will make it in the same year.
  • I would say Leonard has the inside track since he has more national recognition and has already won NBA Finals MVP. Green may not make it since Curry is a lock and Klay Thompson has a decent shot of making All-NBA as well. If the Miami HEAT with all of their media love and hype couldn't get James, Wade, and Bosh on the All-NBA teams in the same year, I don't think it is very likely that Green makes it in with Curry and Thompson.
  • Currently, I would say Hayward probably has about a 5-10% chance of making the All-NBA 3rd team this year. If there was an All-NBA 4th team, I would give him a 50% chance of making that. Even with all my bias as a Jazz fan, I must admit that James, a healthy Durant, and Kawhi Leonard are more deserving of All-NBA selections this year. If this team started off this season playing as hot as they have since the All-Star break, this would be a completely different story. Gordon Hayward's stats on a 50 win team hold a lot more weight and significance than his current stats on a likely 35ish win team.

If our team hits 50 wins or makes the playoffs next year, count on the Jazz's All-NBA drought ending then as well as I imagine one of Rudy, Favors, or Hayward will have the numbers to make the case for it, especially if any of them make another jump. The reason I didn't focus on Favors or Gobert today was because the competition in the power forward and center's pool is much more unforgiving than in the small forward's.