I'm really proud of the Utah Jazz. Playing four games in a week, and all of them without , , , and , isn't ever going to be easy. But this isn't a team looking for the easy way out. They pull up their shorts and went out there and won three of the four games. I'm impressed. The week started off with a Monday win over the Philadelphia 76ers 95-91. The team then had a back-to-back set where they lost the first game 94-80 to the Minnesota Timberwolves, then on the very next night beat the Portland Trail Blazers 109-96. And last night they capped it off with an impressive overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. This season has a bit of that 42-40 season where the team was forced to play so many different starting line-ups due to injuries. But that team never stopped competing. And that team has a place in all of our hearts. I'm encouraged. The team did what they needed to do. But what about the players? Because there are so many injuries to our "Big three" I'm changing the format for this week. (And perhaps other weeks to come.)
Let's check it out:
Going 3-1 when your best PG, one of your best three wings, and two of your best three bigs are all out is really special. But let's dig deepish . . .
-- he's the big minutes guy for the squad and the focus of the defense. He averaged 18.75 ppg, 6.50 rpg, and 2.75 apg, while also swiping 1.50 spg. He did not get to the line like he did the previous week, but he was quite good if we look at him as a 'second banana'. Great even.
-- his performance this week mirrored Hayward's, they finished with almost identical lines. Rodney averaged 17.25 ppg, 6.00 rpg, 2.50 apg, and 0.75 spg. As a pair you have your hands full on defense. Both of them don't waste free throw opportunities. His 32 points against the Grizz were instrumental to the win. Without him the Jazz go 2-2 this week, at best.
-- he actually scored more than Rodney did, and shot better than both Rodney and Gordon. (.4308 is larger than .3898 and .3438 both) Trey averaged 18.25 ppg off the bench, and had a huge game against the Wolves where he dropped 27. Burke also averaged 2.00 rpg, 2.50 apg, and 1.00 spg.
- -- this is why so many of us were Jazz about him during free agency, the W-Bomb dropped on other teams this week, and he finished the four games averaging 11.50 ppg, 8.50 rpg, 1.25 apg, 1.25 spg, and 3.00 bpg. He also shot 54.55 FG% and was big enough to play the other team's best bigs in single coverage. That's key.
- -- Book doesn't start, but he finishes most games. He averaged 4.75 ppg (shooting 25% doesn't help you), 9.75 rpg, 2.00 apg, 0.75 spg, and 1.00 bpg. His energy isn't infectious, but at times it is effective. His ability to decisively get rebounds on both sides of the court has been a game changer. And his activity is sorely missed when he's not on the court.
- -- Trey starts, and he averaged 23.06 mpg this week. All of these minutes add up and will expedite his development. He is averaging 6.00 ppg, 5.50 rpg, 1.25 apg for his efforts, and shot 57.14% from downtown last week. Not bad, rook!
- -- he's the starter at point guard for a good reason, he hits threes, he is able to move the ball to where it needs to go, and he plays the peskiest of defense. He didn't have a great week statistically, but still finds opportunities to make a play that matters.
-- I'm surprised we haven't seen more of him during this period of huge injuries, he has only been averaging 17.65 mpg. His utility and Swiss Army Knife abilities don't always show up on the box score (like ), and this week he guarded everyone from point guards to power forwards. He's good for a rebound, an assist, a three, and a steal+block a game for the most part.
Elijah Millsap. Johnson played all four games this week. Millsap only three. He's also playing a lot more, 14.16 mpg is a lot more than 2.68 mpg.
-- he seems to have won out over
- -- TIBOR! 3.00 ppg, 3.00 rpg, and like 3.00 moving screens a game. I love it. TIBOR!
So, who was player of the week?
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