The last few seasons in Utah Jazz land we’ve seen a number of point guards step up to the challenge, and pretty much without much variation, and fail. Things changed quite a bit this year with George Hill running the show, but he has been injured on and off this season; which leaves Quin Snyder to pick between Shelvin Mack, Dante Exum, and Raul Neto. Oh well.
But looking at the stats this year (2016-2017), it may be that while PG isn’t great unless Hill is there, it’s that SG that’s the real problem? When you do the lazy thing of just adding up the totals of the player averages, and separating that by normal player position type (PG, SG, SF, PF, and C) you get the following:
I’m really happy that George Hill, Gordon Hayward, and Rudy Gobert are holding things down. But I have to say that I think most Utah Jazz fans expected more from Dante Exum . . . Alec Burks . . . and honestly? Also Rodney Hood.
- Hood’s streakiness on offense makes him hard to game plan for. I love what he’s doing on the glass this year, but defensively he’s still pretty much invisible.
- Burks is very recently back from injury, surgery, and rehab — and played basically zero minutes so far this season. I don’t think we expected him to miss so much time, but here we are. It’s a little mean to pass judgement on his season based on two games, so I will not. But I think we want to see a little more than basically nothing.
- Exum is the guy who is also coming back from injury, but what we’ve seen we haven’t been impressed with anything except maybe his ability to close out on shooters, and that one game against Philly where he was driving and dishing.
When you sum the position averages you get the following:
We’ve seen a lot of PG bleed for playing time into SG, and lots of SF bleed into both SG and PF. And a) those are the guys who have been most healthy in some cases, and b) as a result are the guys Quin Snyder has had to rely upon. It’s no surprise that center (Rudy Gobert, Jeff Withey) are holding things down with rebounds and blocks. It may be a surprise that PF (Derrick Favors, Trey Lyles, Boris Diaw, Joel Bolomboy) is somehow middle of the pack beyond some very impressive numbers for Blocks, Steals, and Rebounds.
But it’s really been about George Hill, Shelvin Mack, Gordon Hayward, Joe Johnson, and Joe Ingles this season. But if you take the sums and get the averages (four PGs, two SGs, three SFs, four PFs, and two Cs) you get this:
Last place, when it’s all said and done? Power Forward -- but part of that is being divided by four players, one of them isn’t even playing or traveling with the team right now. Beyond the stats I think we see Favors improving game by game, Lyles being a stretch scorer, and Diaw being someone who can move the ball around. All are good and in the rotation.
But this really acutely points out where SG is just not scaring anyone. I think everyone, including Dennis Lindsey and the rest of the Jazz brass, expected that Rodney Hood and Alec Burks would hold things down. (After all, they got rid of Chris Johnson — and had to be confident in these two guys.)
Hood can catch on fire and lead the team. He can also be ice cold. Alec is dynamic and can kick-start a stalling offense. He’s also now missed more games than he has played over the last three seasons. Will SG be what holds the Jazz back, if everyone is healthy? Or are we about to see SG take flight now that everyone else IS healthy?
Whatever happens over the next three months is going to tell quite a story. One that’s going to probably end up coming into conflict with the more impressive story right now of contract year Joe Ingles torching the nets as a knock-down SF.