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Utah Jazz bench scoring fall off, real or just imagined?

We believe the Utah Jazz of 2012-13 was so strong because of their bench, and that the 2013-14 Jazz suffer because of theirs. But how true is this?

"This was a lot easier when I was playing with 3 other lotto picks."
"This was a lot easier when I was playing with 3 other lotto picks."
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Okay folks, in the last post we looked at the differences between 2012-13 and 2013-14 in terms of scoring per quarter and half. What we found is that a) both teams were giving up more than they scored, despite last year's team having a Top 10 offense and this year's team having the worst offense; and b) the quarters the Jazz were getting hammered in were in the second and third quarters -- quarters where benches seem to factor more in.

If we feel like that Utah Jazz of last year was good because of their top bench scorers let's look at them, against the top bench scorers from this season. (N.B. qualifications had to be playing less than half your games as a starter, and then the most mpg out of the bench guys)

2012-2013 Utah Jazz Top Bench Scorers
Player GS GP Start% Min MPG PER PPG PPP NBA Rank
1 Gordon Hayward 27 72 37.5% 2,104 29.2 16.8 14.1 0.97 102
2 Derrick Favors 8 77 10.4% 1,787 23.2 17.5 9.4 0.90 230
3 Alec Burks 0 64 0.0% 1,137 17.8 11.5 7.0 0.86 298
4 Enes Kanter 2 70 2.9% 1,078 15.4 17.6 7.2 0.95 133
Group 37 283 13.1% 6,106 21.6 15.9 37.7 0.92 191
2013-2014 Utah Jazz Top Bench Scorers
Player GS GP Start% Min MPG PER PPG PPP NBA Rank
1 Alec Burks 1 10 10.0% 286 28.6 12.1 12.8 0.79 223
2 Diante Garrett 0 2 0.0% 39 19.5 3.1 4.5 0.47 --
3 Marvin Williams 0 5 0.0% 93 18.6 7.8 4.6 0.74 246
4 Mike Harris 0 9 0.0% 118 13.1 13.8 4.4 0.95 107
Group 1 26 3.8% 536 20.6 9.2 26.3 0.74 192

Okay, again, I know, I use a lot of numbers. Basketball is a game of numbers and I love all the data we have to play around with. What are the important numbers? Well, probably the most important one is that while these bench units don't necessarily play any more or fewer minutes (1.0 mpg difference on average), the group form last year scored 37.7 ppg, while this year the top four score 26.3 ppg. That's an 11.4 ppg squad difference, again, in that +1.0 mpg on average per player.

The next big thing is that our top bench threats this year aren't really playing that well, all of them have a PER of under 15.0, which is the baseline value of a neutral player. That was not the case last year.

I guess if you point fingers here blame Burks for not being amazing, as he's the only guy from both data sets, and is playing less efficiently this year than last.

Don't be swayed by the average MySynergySports PPP rank -- that discounts the 400+ rank that Diante would have right now if he was ranked. But if you are going to hold out hope . . . the hope is that these four guys are NOT our top bench scorers at the end of the season. The hope is that our top four bench scorers at the end of the season will be:

  • Brandon Rush,
  • one of either Marvin Williams or Richard Jefferson,
  • Alec Burks,
  • and John Lucas III

Only two of those four are playing and contributing to our bench right now. So I can understand why we're getting pounded in the second and third quarters of games. This was partly by design by Dennis Lindsey. And this design appears to be maximizing peculiar oddities. Creepy space disco and funny posts aside, this sucks because the players ARE trying to win out there. The coach too. The team just isn't as good as they will be right now, and a big part of that will remain to be injuries until guys get healthy. And until then, the bench scoring will be light. But hey, maybe it's not about scoring at all as the data from the previous post shows the same problem no matter if our offense is ranked #10 or #30. Maybe this whole defense thing is important too? But more on that in another post. And thanks again for reading SLC Dunk. Instead of getting pissy on twitter we would rather produce actual content for the fan base to read.