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Time To Shelve Shelvin? Snyder Still Trucking Along With Mack

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Shelvin Mack is a good guy and a serviceable third-string PG, but is it time to give Neto a chance?

NBA: Utah Jazz at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

While baseball is great and all, it’s time to get back to the biggest story in sports: The Utah Jazz (please, Basketball Gods, don’t make us wait 108 years).

Remember how Quin Snyder used to always play Trevor Booker at the most head-scratching moments and then proceed to leave him in for far too long?

We all loved Trevor in small doses, and he gave us some of the most awesome highlights in recent memory, but that didn’t make up for his swiss-cheese defense and questionable shot selection. However, Quin loved him. Enter Shelvin Mack. The Jazz traded a second-round pick for him last year to help with the playoff push in an attempt to turn two backup point guards into a starter.

While nobody doubts that he played his best, it wasn’t enough, and we all assumed he’d be relegated to a spot at the end of the bench after Dennis Lindsey swung the George Hill trade. When Exum returned, many assumed that he would be taking most of the minutes at the backup PG spot.

This hasn’t been the case, partially due to the Gordon Hayward injury, and Mack hasn’t been at the end of the bench: Raúl Neto has. Why? Let’s look at a comparison from Basketball Reference:

Now, all I did was put the higher numbers in green. Whether or not Mack’s 12.3 FGA per 36 are more desirable than Raul Neto’s 10 is certainly up for debate. Among those, here are the stats that interested me the most from this list: assists and turnovers. Generally, a good backup PG is a distributor more than a scorer. When I did the research I expected to find that Neto was the superior passer, but by every available metric Mack beats him.

I’ve been getting frustrated with Mack because he seems to take dumb shots and make weird passes. I thought that Neto was a better passing point guard, but it turns out that the two players, while playing at different speeds, seem to make the same mistakes. I won’t dig into it too much at this time, but most of their offensive and defensive numbers are the strikingly similar. For example, Mack’s ORtg is 101. Neto’s is 99. Same story with DRtg: 107 to 106.

This will be less of an issue when Hayward returns, because there will be fewer minutes to go around, meaning that Mack will see the floor less and Neto will likely be relegated to the Stars. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve been complaining about something that doesn’t matter that much: when we talk about whether we should bring Neto or Mack off the bench first is irrelevant. They’re both third string-caliber point guards, and that likely isn’t going to change.