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Who has joined Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert as part of the Utah Jazz’ “Big Three”?

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Derrick Favors? Rodney Hood? George Hill? Or someone else?

NBA: Utah Jazz at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

This year, like all years it seems, the Utah Jazz (14-9) have a bunch of injuries. Quin Snyder has had to use 11 different starting line-ups — and none of them because of inter-roster dynamics. Three different players have started at point guard, shooting guard, and power forward this year. The only regularly presumed starters to play in almost every game this year have been center Rudy Gobert (23 games, 23 starts), shooting guard Rodney Hood (21 games, 21 starts), and small forward Gordon Hayward (17 games, 17 starts).

This year Hayward is averaging 23.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.1 spg and getting to the line 7.5 times a game. Gobzilla? He’s getting a double-double with 11.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 2.7 bpg, 1.0 apg, and 0.6 spg. But who’s the next best player? Hood has played a lot, and averaging 15.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, and dropping 2.1 threes a game. George Hill has only played in 11 games this year, but when he’s been there he’s been dropping 20.0 ppg, 4.2 apg, 3.5 rpg, 1.1 spg, and 2.4 threes a game. Historically with this Dennis Lindsey “defense first” era, the Big Three was supposed to be Hayward, Gobert, and Derrick Favors. Favors has only played 11 games this year and in his 24.0 mpg (lower than usual) he has averaged 10.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.0 spg, 1.0 bpg, and 0.6 apg. He’s been great, but hasn’t played a lot.

So who really is the third guy in our 2016-17 Utah Jazz “Big Three?” Well, I crunched the numbers for each player who has stepped on the court with Hayward and Gobert this year. Here’s the data.

Total Stats:

NBA.com, AllThatAmar

Okay, so you see the top line-up in time on the court is GH+RG+ Rodney Hood, then followed by Dante Exum, Boris Diaw, Shelvin Mack, and Trey Lyles. Everyone else has spent fewer than 150 mins on the court together, and as a result, super small sample size. So the trios that have been on the court more will put up more stats. That makes sense.

On the other side of things, the groups that have had little to no time on the court (Raul Neto, Alec Burks, Jeff Withey, and Joel Bolomboy) have few stats to go on. And it may not be indicative of what they COULD do on the court together. Oh well.

As for this group, we’re seeing three trios that are making their threes (Mack, Joe Johnson, and Joe Ingles). Sadly, one of them isn’t the group with starting shooting guard Rodney Hood. So that kind of sucks. Even the Trey Lyles group is making close to 40%.

The George Hill group has a pretty nice assist to turn over ratio, and the .503 / .358 / .861 is really good offensively overall. You want to see that from your assumed starting PG / SF / C. The Favors group isn’t bad either, but because each of these groups are all playing different minutes it’s hard to find an apples to apples comparison.

Per Game Stats:

NBA.com, AllThatAmar

When you look at the ‘Per Game’ values you see a huge difference as a product of the minutes played per game. Poor Raul still gets no love here, and that’s just how the Quin qrumbles.

The Hill, Hayward, Gobert group really shines here because when they ARE on the floor together, they get things done. Nearly a rebound a minute, almost a 2:1 points per minute value as well. Ridiculous. Of the wing group, Hood’s addition bring more of a traditional deep threat to the court, but is still the lesser of the Hill group.

Trey Lyles doesn’t seem to be helping his guys get rebounds as much as Boris Diaw or Derrick Favors does, when you look at the bigs. I think the eye-ball test agrees with that discovery. But all in all, this is still not a rate based, apples to apples measurement.

Per 36 minutes Stats:

NBA.com, AllThatAmar

TOO MUCH DATA! I know, I know. Okay, let’s try to figure this out. Let’s make it easy:

  • Most points: Hill — 87.93 points per 36.00 minutes
  • Best overall shooting: Ingles — .522 / .426 / .818
  • Most shots: Neto — 64.80 FGA / 36 minutes, somehow only 7.20 3PTA though, weird.
  • Best three point shooting: Mack — 45.45%
  • Most rebounds: Favors (duh) — 36.44 rebounds per 36.00 minutes
  • Most assists: Favors (huh?) — 17.78 assists per 36.00 minutes
  • Most steals: Neto — 7.20
  • Most blocks: Hood — 5.23
  • Most overall stats (PPG+RPG+APG+SPG+BPG): Hill — 146.95 PRASB per 36.00 minutes (not shown)

You can pick at these numbers all day and find new things

So who joins Hayward and Gobert?

I think that with how George Hill has played, the former Western Conference player of the week, he is the new third pillar of our big three. Especially with Favors being out and Hood being a one-way-player, it’s no contest.

NBA: Utah Jazz at New York Knicks Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

When he is out there the defense is better, and so too is the offense. He may not have tunnel vision for passing to Rudy Gobert like Dante Exum has, and he may not force the issue like Shelvin Mack — but Hood knows when to throttle up or down. And he’s shooting ridiculously well this year.

Here you see him being the second best in 3PT% and seventh best from close range as well. And it’s not just his offense (where we see him averaging 20.0 ppg — food for thought, Al Jefferson averaged 18.6, 19.2 and 17.8 ppg in Utah when he was here during the Al The Conqueror days), Hill’s defense has really made this team deadly.

A Hayward, Gobert, Hill “Big Three” is flat out illegal this year. After all, they do form up to become HGH. I can see why the NBA wants to keep them off the court as much as possible.