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Utah Jazz Player of the Week 11: The Battle of Five Games in Seven Nights

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Please don't sue me, Peter Jackson!

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

I can't stop feeling good about our Utah Jazz team. They have braved a really difficult stretch of the season, and did it while playing shorthanded every night. And they held their ground and have remained in the Western Conference playoff race despite all the challenges. A week ago, last Monday, they hosted the Houston Rockets and a few bad calls and a few 50/50 balls resulted in a 93-91 loss. Then on Wednesday they started a back to back set, with the first game at the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are great, and the team was without four of their best players, so the 123-98 loss wasn't unexpected. Nearly scoring 100 against the Spurs was though. The second night of the back to back had the team face off against the same Houston Rockets that barely escaped with a win. Rudy Gobert came back to play, but the Jazz couldn't handle James Harden (few teams can), and the Jazz lost 103-94. Three losses in a row seem bad, and that's a downer, right? Few teams can win all three games in a three games in four nights stretch against JUST Texas playoff teams. But hey, I'm not going to feel sorry about the team for that.

After a night off the Jazz finished up their second back to back set of the Week. The first was a home game hosting the Miami Heat, which the Jazz won 98-83. Gordon Hayward put the team on his back and broke the losing streak. The next night he kind of did it all himself again, finishing up a very difficult week at the Los Angeles Lakers, and coming away with a 86-74 win. Sure, it wasn't all Hayward in the last two games. Having Rudy Gobert back is a big help. Rodney Hood continues to be streaky but streaky-good. Trey Burke and Trevor Booker have been doing well off the bench. And Chris Johnson has really turned it on since Elijah Millsap was waived.

The team went 2-3 over a tough week, and I'm proud of the team. I'm also proud of our players too, individually. Let's look at their player stats!

2015 2016 Week 11 - Player Stat Table

  • Gordon Hayward: G-Time was right on time in the winnable games this week. While we didn't see a lot of him down the stretch of that first Houston Game, his play in the last two helped me forget it. He plays the most, takes the most shots, and is "the man" on this team with all the injuries. He produced, with a 22.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.0 apg line that included shooting 47.8 FG%. That's not bad when you take nearly 20 shots a night. He was effective in the time he got, and produced at an All-Star level. Free throw making is an issue, but that's like most of our team year to year anyway . . .
  • Rodney Hood: Hood was good, especially in the first Houston game where he dropped 23 points (5/6 from deep). Of course, because he's streaky he would end up going 8/16 from deep for the week, but when he's hot he's hot. (It's insane that I expect him to do better than shoot 50.0 3PT% for a week, but his shoot seems smooth enough to make it possible.) In nearly 30 mpg he dropped 14.0 ppg, 3.50 apg, 2.50 rpg, and 1.00 spg. He was shooting so well in the four games he played, you almost forget that he was playing hurt in three of them. How hurt was he? He had to miss a game. But he came back and was big against the Lakers.
  • Jeff Withey: With Rudy back I expect his minutes to drop significantly, but in the time he was on the court he made the most of it. In fact his pure production rating per minute (PRASB/min) was second best on the entire team. His 8.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 1.0 apg, 1.0 spg and 58.3 FG% shooting make him, potentially, one of the best moves Dennis Lindsey has ever made. Also, because our team is bad at this, he's possibly a Top 10 all-time Utah Jazz free agent in the making.
  • Rudy Gobert: Gobzilla got into three games, after missing what seems like an eternity due to an injury sustained in practice. He answered with a 8.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.3 bpg, 1.7 apg week where he shot 90.0 FG%. His +22 for the week was second best on the team. He does so many good things by just being out there on the floor.
  • Trey Burke: Trey 1 is playing a little less than before because Raul had a great week, but he still managed to do his thing off the bench. He scored 12.4 ppg, and dished off 2.8 apg on a team that really needs offense at times. He fills that need right now, and over the last five games his production on the court was 5th best overall, and per minute it was 5th as well. He's playing well, even if he's only shooting 43% / 35% / 80%. His assist to turn over ratio was 3.50 to 1.00, which is more akin to the Trey we saw in his first two seasons.
  • Trey Lyles: Trey 2 starts every game and is getting a lot of the minutes he needs in order to gain enough XP to level up. He played 28.8 mpg this last week and responded with some pretty confident play out there. He averaged 6.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.0 spg, made a three, and could actually be a darkhorse candidate to be in the Rookie / Soph game if he keeps this up. (He went to a big school and was a lotto pick, those thing matter for who the NBA promotes.)
  • Chris Johnson: Christapher started a game this week, and his shot making was a big freakin' deal. He averaged 8.2 ppg this week, and went 47.2 FG% / 29.4 3PT% / 100.0 FT%. He did more than shoot, he grabbed 3.6 rpg, and dished it off for 1.8 apg. But what most of us are talking about today is his defense. He's no spring chicken and has been in the NBA for a number of seasons now, but going out there and getting 1.8 spg and 0.8 bpg against a bunch of good teams gets my attention. His +28 overall in week cumulative +/- was best on the team. The team was good when he was out there. That's not something you often say when you have to lean on a NBA-DL guy.
  • Trevor Booker: Book only played 21.4 mpg this week, but he still managed to pull down 7.4 rpg. He's not great, but in some games he looks phenomenal. If Trey 2 keeps improving, though, it could be an issue going forward for the vet Booker who is in a contract year.
  • Raul Neto: The starting point guard for the Utah Jazz is a very highly regarded mantle. Raul is fitting into it week by week. This was one of his "on" week for shooting, and he shot 43.3 FG% / 44/4 3PT% / 100.0 FT% on his way to 7.2 ppg. He also led the team with 3.5 apg, though his Assist to turn over ratio wasn't that hot (1.80 to 1.00). He seems to be more ready to make a play for himself, which is only going to help the team going forward.
  • Tibor Pleiss: Big Teuton played in two games this week. He had a very solid scoring game against the Spurs, but his 8 points in absolutely extended garbage time didn't really move the needle that much. With Gobert back I don't expect to see much of him over the next few weeks.
  • Joe Ingles: In a week when the team really needed wings, Ingles only played 18.2 ppg. He was last on the team in production per game and per minute. I don't understand it. He still made 1.2 threes a game, didn't miss a single free throw, and showed his high basketball IQ. Sadly, I am beginning to think his value is more for his intangibles than his tangibles.

A 2-3 week without Dante Exum, Derrick Favors, and Alec Burks isn't bad. Having Rudy and Rodney back (hopefully for good) makes this a team to watch over the next few months. But who was player of the week?

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