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Utah Jazz Player of the Week 15: Starters lead the way

Remember when we used to complain about having a bench that was better than the starters?

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Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz had a 4-0 week where they took care of business at the Aunt Viv, didn't miss a beat on the road, and extend their win streak to five straight. Last Monday they took apart the Chicago Bulls 105-96 (OT) (recap). After a night off they had a close win against the Denver Nuggets 85-81 (recap), only to win an even closer game on Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks 84-81 (recap). The last game of the week, the second night of a back to back and the third game in four nights -- against a team that just fired their head coach -- was against the Phoenix Suns in their gym. Utah won that game 98-89 (recap), but the final score wasn't indicative of how one-sided the game was. As a Jazz fan you love what you see on the court. A team that is holding the opponents under 100 for eight straight games, suffocating the opposite with defense. No duh, it has a lot to do with the return of starting bigmen (at the same time) Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. Offensive the team is getting things done, even if the slow pace hides the talent a bit. Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood have been really of late -- but Raul Neto is the X-Factor right now. All three of them had solid weeks. And that may just be the formula for the team going forward.

2015 2016 Week 15 - Player Stat Table

  1. Raul Neto (4 Starts, 32.3 MPG): Neto is getting better as the season progresses, not unlike the evolution of Dante Exum last season. Over the week he shot 48.7 FG%, 54.6 3PT%, and averaged 11.3 ppg. He also added 3.5 apg, 3.0 rpg, and 0.8 spg to boot. He was a pest on defense, and his scoring has really made the team play 5 on 5 again, after what seems like forever.
  2. Rodney Hood (4 Starts, 35.8 MPG): Hood was up and down with his shooting, but still got it done from deep, shooting 36.0 3PT% while hoisting up a team leading 6.3 threes a game. His ability to hit from downtown is something not every starting shooting guard in Utah has had. He averaged 18.8 ppg and was very good from the line. He didn't really have the all-around game we are accustomed to, but still pulled down 3.3 rpg, and dished out 1.5 apg.
  3. Gordon Hayward (4 Starts, 39.6 MPG): G-Time almost played 40 mpg, and he averaged 20.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.3 apg, and played like an All-Star even if he doesn't get the respect other stars do. He didn't shoot that well from the field (43.6 FG%), or from outside (25.0 3PT%), but was nearly automatic from the line (88.9 FT%) while getting there nearly 7 times a game.
  4. Derrick Favors (4 Starts, 33.7 MPG): Favors averaged a double double with 12.8 ppg and 10.3 rpg. He also blocked 3.8 bpg. He was big, even if he didn't shoot anywhere near what his capable of -- sadly only 35.9 FG%. His impact is huge even if he's missing.
  5. Rudy Gobert (4 Starts, 36.4 MPG): The Stifle Tower almost had a double double as well, with 14.0 ppg, and 9.5 rpg. He only averaged 2.0 spg and 2.0 bpg while shooting 59.4 FG% and getting to the line 7.0 times a game. Oh, he also had a 6 to 1 assist to turn over ratio. Amazing play.

All five starters averaged between 32.3 - 39.6 mpg. Not surprisingly the bench didn't really do much.They didn't have to, when the top five guys are doing so well.

  • Trevor Booker (4 G, 18.4 MPG): he averaged 4.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, and shot 53.3 FG%. He had a really nice game off the bench against the Suns
  • Trey Burke (3 G, 12.8 MPG): a pretty awful week, shooting only 29.4 FG% and 20.0 3PT% -- how much of that is playing poorly, and how much of that is playing with a flu? I don't know. He only played 3 minutes in his last game and didn't kill it. For the week he averaged 4.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg, and had a 4 to 1 assist to turn over ratio.
  • Joe Ingles (4 G, 14.5 MPG): Joe finished the week with 2.8 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, and 1.3 spg in limited minutes. This was the first week he didn't make a three. Crazy.
  • Chris Johnson (4 G, 12.8 MPG): He shot 18.2 FG% and 25.0 3PT% this week. Wasn't too hot from the field.
  • Trey Lyles (4 G, 9.6 MPG): Lyles played only 9.6 MPG this week, but still shot 50.0 FG%, 50.0 3PT%, and 100.0 FT%. He was effective on offense when on the floor.
  • Erick Green (3 G, 4.8 MPG): He shot 100% last week, this week? 0%. Sometimes it just be like that.

The bench went 5 for 26 from deep last week. Yeesh. At some point you want more from your bench than that. Dante Exum and Alec Burks missed all the games because they are still rehabbing. Tibor Pleiss missed all the games because he was either down in the NBADL or sitting on the bench. And Jeff Withey got four straight DNP-CDs. So..... yeah? What's goin' on? (/ Marvin Gaye William voice)

So who was the player of the week?


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