The Utah Jazz (11-8) played 19 games in October / November. The team did okay despite having so many injuries that head coach Quin Snyder was forced into throwing out there 10 different starting lineups. The added depth (thank you Based Dennis Lindsey) kept this team above .500 despite having two long East road trips and way too many back-to-backs. While the projected starters (George Hill, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert) only played 12 total minutes together all season the team still found ways to evolve, adapt, and advance.
A number of players stepped it up in different ways. But outside of the eye-ball test (and there’s a clear winner there), let’s look at the numbers to help us decide who was the player of the month.
Who jumps out at you here? You have to start with George Hill, who is averaging 20, while shooting .543 .456 .884 — while shooting it over 10 times a night, with over five shots from downtown. That’s hyper efficient when it comes to scoring. It’s hard to overlook Gordon Hayward who has been scoring and getting to the line, 21.4 ppg and 6.8 FTA/G. A first option has to be consistent, and that means consistently putting the other team in trouble. He’s doing that by drawing fouls and shooting .909 from the stripe. Rodney Hood hasn’t been a slouch, he can get hotter than anyone else on the team, and when he’s on he is on. But I think we need to also recognize the bigmen Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. They are both capable scorers even if they don’t get many touches. Gobert is averaging 11.1 ppg off of 5.9 fga. That’s absurdly high. His FT% is .660 which is slowly creeping up to .700 — which is absurd for someone his size who isn’t trained in some Slavic shooting camp from the age of 8.
Off the bench we don’t have a lot of consistency, but Joe Johnson and Trey Lyles are nice. I think we really do miss Alec Burks a lot, and not just because more Burks means less Shelvin Mack. All jokes aside, Mack has been serviceable in a small role. But he’s been asked to take a larger one because of injuries.
Rudy? Please don’t hurt ‘em, 11.1 rpg, 2.5 bpg, 1.0 apg, 0.6 spg. You’re a monster. G-Time hitting the glass for nearly 7.0 a night is nice, especially with his nearly 4.0 apg, and nearly 1.0 spg. He could nearly be an All-Star this year if he gets his scoring above 23.0 pp. Hill is a professional and his non-scoring numbers prove it. Favors just needs to be healthy and play more than his 24.0 mpg and his numbers will look even more under-rated. Rod is hitting the glass too, a career high 4.3 rpg right now.
Iso-Joe doesn’t make mistakes. Jeff Withey is a banger. Sadly, rookie bigman Joel Bolomboy’s numbers don’t leap here like they do when you look at his RATES of success on the court.
Hill and Gobert are amazing. Raul Neto looks fundamentally more attractive than Shelvin Mack, which is backed up by the “eye-ball” test. (#HesOnlyAChildDiana) Boris Diaw hasn’t looked that good. Neither has Dante Exum, but he does things that don’t show up on the boxscore and occasionally has four block games. Trey Lyles is very offensive minded and if he’s not scoring he doesn’t seem to be doing much else. Joe Ingles is a perfect complimentary player for this club, there just aren’t enough minutes for him already -- and this team is a few wing players down every night. It’s a shame.
The Whole Shebang
All in all, I think you have a Western Conference Player of the Week (Hill) who has looked amazing that’s sadly only played in 11 of the 19 games this “month”. He’s the clear winner here, but because of his minutes I’m going to have to side with the Gobzilla here. He’s done it every game. And with really no help.