This Utah Jazz season is pretty early still. Or, more apt, perhaps we should call it groggy. It hasn't discarded all of the eye crusts yet, and is still fumbling for the tooth brush right now. Six games isn't a big sample size (yet, of course, this is what we judge summer league players off of . . . yikes . . . the grind is unforgiving.) Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder has used only 50 different lineups so far in the 288 minutes his team has suited up for, so far. Seriously, fifty different lineups.
The top five most used (in terms of most minutes together so far this season) feature the usual suspects: Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors, Dante Exum, Trevor Booker, Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood, and Joe Ingles. For the most part Snyder has been going 10 deep most nights -- and these are the guys who get a chance to play. If you build the team around the framework of Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, and Alec Burks -- that's a pretty good start. Within the Top 5 most used lineups (so far), you see those three guys quite a bit. The two main variables being tested for right now are Trey Burke / Dante Exum, and Enes Kanter / Trevor Booker. You could add Rudy Gobert to that experimental mix, but I don't think that's quite right. Out of all the non-starters right now I think we are closest to understanding where he fits into the mix -- at back-up center. The other two variables still haven't revealed to us who should be the starter yet.
What does the experimental data show? Well ....
Click on that for the phool-size
Yeah. The saving grace of the starters right now is their large sample size which translates to the third best +/- over 100 possessions . . . which is still a negative value. The obvious "LOOKSEE!" points here are with Trevor Booker over Enes Kanter. This will be something we all track as the season goes on; but let's not forget that that lineup does finish some games -- but a huge part of their 31 minutes together are against the other team's "not 100% starting lineup". The Starters face the 100% other team starters to start each game -- and that usually means taking a hit in the +/- right off the bat. That suck, and is just something any of our starting lineups will have to deal with. Seriously, Trevor Booker isn't going to be the difference to stopping Dirk Nowitzki in the 1st quarter of two of the six games we've played so far.
You know it. And I know it. And Trevor knows it too.
That said, we just ADORE what Booker does when he's on the court, his energy is sorely missed, and he creates offense for himself when we need it most. It's fun to watch. Smarter men than I have suggested that he's the power forward version of Alec Burks. Which is hilarious and apt.
The less obvious experiment is the Trey Burke / Dante Exum thing. This argument will persist for at least every season they are on the same roster up to and including the first year they are no longer on the same roster. I'm just going to firmly point out that they can exist on the same roster, and that they are pretty good together so far. Let's not run one out of town 6 games into the season.
As for the experimental data, well, the largest take-away is that these data sets are so very small. But it's better that we start looking at things as the returns come in than to be ignorant to what's actually happening on the floor, and make stuff up on the top of our heads . . . right?
Also Rudy Gobert blocks a lot of shots. That's probably the really only known so far.
What do you ladies and gentlemen think?