The Utah Jazz (11-8) 2016-2017 regular campaign is almost a quarter of the way through (23.17%). The team is above .500 while having to slough through with various injuries to their presumed Top 10 rotation players. Of those 10 guys (as represented by that image the Jazz put out at the beginning of the season), only Rudy Gobert, Trey Lyles, and Joe Johnson have played in every game so far this season. (Shelvin Mack, and Joe Ingles have also played all 19 so far.) Alec Burks has missed 100% of the season, Boris Diaw 47%, Derrick Favors 42%, George Hill 42%, Gordon Hayward 32%, and 5% for Dante Exum (hello non-sense DNP-CD). And yet the team is primed to capture a strong seed in the NBA Playoffs this year.
So who has gotten on the floor this year? If you are curious to know, I’ve made a ton of graphs that you can waste part of your day on.
So this is just the games (max of 19) the team has played, and the games each player has played in, and separated by PG / Wing / Bigman. As you can clearly see, some guys have been missed. The silver lining is that some guys have shown up to work every day, so that’s good.
None of the games have gone to OT, so the team has played the minimum number of minutes as they had to. And that’s a maximum number of 912 total minutes. When you look at the total minutes someone has played by that max, what do you get?
Okay, so curiously the PG seems pretty even. But that’s because not everyone plays every game, and there’s an obvious skew. But for now, things look kinda even, which is hilarious because one of these guys plays mostly at SG, and the fourth guy (Raul Neto) doesn’t get to play at all. You may remember Neto being the guy who shut down Derrick Rose and helped the Jazz beat the Chicago Bulls in OT last year. He did a lot of other good things out there as a Rookie — but as Trey Burke knows, if you’re not Quin Snyder’s guy you’re just not going to play.
Alec Burks has played zero minutes and zero games, so that means the wings had to produce more to make up for his efforts. It wouldn’t be a problem if Hayward and Hood also got hurt, but that’s just how it goes in Utah.
As for the bigmen, Favors and Diaw being hurt also put more strain on Gobert -- but he’s delivered. If things continue like this it’s fair to say that he could be the best center in franchise history.
But the point here is that who HAS played isn’t the same thing as who we’d WANT to play. Let’s look at minutes per game now.
Okay, so from this we see some sort of pecking order - minus Alec Burks. For all we’ve complained about, Dante is playing more MPG than Shelvin, and has played more total minutes too. Of course, I suspect that has a lot more to do with Burks than either of the point guards.
In Gordon Hayward’s absence we saw a great game from Joe Johnson (reminicient to Marvin Williams ‘ first game in a Jazz uni where he dropped 20 and then quickly fell off the map). But Johnson has been put on the back burner since. If you’re 3rd wing in the rotation is a 7 time All-Star then your first two should be pretty good, though.
As for the bigs, I think we’re happy with it going Gobert - Favors - Lyles - Diaw right now. I think most of us have a soft spot for Jeff Withey, but we haven’t seen a lot of him. Joel Bolomboy is in that great spot where he’s not playing for the Utah Jazz or the Salt Lake City Stars right now. I think we could have seen more of him when Snyder had multiple injuries to bigmen. Instead he elected to go small.
I can’t complain with the results. The team is winning. But I will, because I’m a “reckless bogger”.
As for some sort of age-bias, like we were correct in identifying in Tyrone Corbin, I don’t think Snyder really has one. Yes, he did go to guys like Trevor Booker or Boris Diaw more than we’d want. And yes, he is loyal to his ‘guys’ like Shelvin Mack. But all coaches have that bugaboo. Jerry Sloan never played Gordan Giricek as much as he should have, and while none of us are Giricek fans it’s clear that his ability to hit the three really could have helped create more space out there on the floor for Carlos Boozer to operate than Ronnie Brewer did. Oh well.
So if you look at the player’s ages (by total days being alive) against the minutes they’ve received this season you get the following.
The oldest guys (Joe, Diaw, Hill, and Ingles) have played — but duh. They were all brought in TO play. But the youngest guys, Lyles and Exum, have also played this year as well. The middle group (8,500ish days old to 10,000 days old) are the part of the Bell Curve that rings clearest. Which is what we expected. After all, Lyles and Iso-Joe are outliers right now.
So who is getting on the floor the most? Outside of Burks, it’s really that Top 10 guys the Jazz presented to us as their rotation for 2016-2017. There’s been no surprise, as Mack is filling in for Burks right now. If everyone was healthy we’d see some difference here or there, and hopefully more Favors/Gobert on the floor at the same time, but that’s a topic for another post.
But for now, be comforted in the fact that your biases on who is playing and who is not playing have been confirmed by data.