We made it to the weekend, ladies and gentlemen. So, you already know what time it is. This week stats thread will take a look at three more bench players for the 2018-19 Utah Jazz: Alec Burks, Jae Crowder and Raul Neto.
To recap, we’re looking at this season’s Jazz roster through a statistical lens. And each week will feature a different player (order determined by 2017-18 Win Shares). So far, Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, Joe Ingles, Ricky Rubio, Donovan Mitchell, Ekpe Udoh, Thabo Sefolosha and Royce O’Neale have all gotten the treatment.
Now, it’s time for the aforementioned Burks, Crowder and Neto...
- Alec Burks was sixth on the Utah Jazz in both Win Shares and Wins Over Replacement Player during the playoffs. The five players ahead of him all played at least two more games and logged at least 139 more minutes in the postseason.
Burks may have revived his shaky stock with a strong run through the 2018 playoffs. What started as a garbage-time novelty turned into important minutes by the time Utah was eliminated. If he continues to play at the level he did in those few weeks, he may command some rotation minutes this season.
- Players who’ve matched Alec Burks’ 2018 per-possession averages for points, rebounds and assists in a single postseason (minimum 100 minutes): Mark Aguirre (1986), Kevin Durant (2013), LeBron James (10 times), Tracy McGrady (2008) and Russell Westbrook (two times).
OK, the numbers from Burks came on a pretty small sample when compared to everyone else on that list. But my goodness, Burks was on fire in the playoffs. He put up 25.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists per 75 possessions, on nearly .600 true shooting.
Alec Burks, w/ Joe Johnson: 16.1 PTS, 2 AST per 36, 27 3P%, .488 TS%, -9.7 NetRtg— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) August 23, 2018
Alec Burks, w/ Rodney Hood: 13.9 PTS, 1.5 AST per 36,16.7 3P% .445 TS%, -3 NetRtg
Alec Burks, w/o JJ & Hood: 21.5 PTS, 2.8 AST per 36, 42.2 3P% .599 TS%, 10 NetRtghttps://t.co/zKMnnkLWWM
The numbers for about anyone who spent a good chunk of their time with Rodney Hood, Joe Johnson or both last season are bound to be a little skewed. That’s especially true of Burks, who looked like a completely different player when he got to play without Utah’s two biggest minuses of a season ago.
- Alec Burks logged 1,059 minutes in the regular season in 2017-18. If he logs another 1,000 this season, he’ll be pushing the top 25 in minutes played in a Utah Jazz uniform.
Utah drafted Burks way back in 2011. His role has been all over the place over the last seven seasons, but he’s never complained (at least not publicly). And if the last postseason is any indication, he may push for more minutes this season.
- The lineup of Alec Burks, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert only logged 55 minutes together, but it was plus-11 in those minutes (plus-14.8 Net Rating).
The backcourt rotation is going to be hard to figure out this season. And the best shot at decent minutes for guys like Burks, Dante Exum or Grayson Allen may be position-less basketball. Quin Snyder toyed with the idea in 2015-16, but he may have to go it a lot more often to get the right guys on the floor in 2018-19.
- In the 383 minutes Jae Crowder played without a traditional power forward on the floor, the Utah Jazz outscored their opponents by 13.9 points per 100 possessions. The lineup of Ricky Rubio, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Jae Crowder and Rudy Gobert had a plus-27.4 Net Rating.
Small ball with Jae Crowder was absolutely lethal for the Jazz last season. And with a healthy Thabo Sefolosha, Snyder could go to lineups like that more often. As is the case with the guards, it may be tough for every rotation player to get rotation minutes. This team is one of the deepest in the league.
- The Utah Jazz went 8-1 in the nine games in which Jae Crowder hit at least 40 percent of his three-point attempts.
Crowder has only had one season (2016-17) in which he put up an above-average three-point percentage. If he could become semi-consistent from outside, those small-ball lineups will be even scarier. Having as many guys as possible who can shoot, pass and create on the floor is one of the best recipes for NBA success these days.
- Jae Crowder is 60th in total Wins Over Replacement Player over the last three seasons.
If 150 is a rough estimate of how many starters are in the NBA (30 teams times five starters), you could make an argument that Crowder is a starting-caliber player. His role on the Jazz could be anywhere from sixth to ninth or 10th man this season. That’s yet another illustration of how deep this team is.
- Jae Crowder was taken with the fourth pick of the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft (34th overall). The only players from that draft class with more career Wins Over Replacement Player: Damian Lillard (sixth overall pick), Anthony Davis (first overall), Draymond Green (35th overall), Andre Drummond (ninth overall) and Bradley Beal (third overall).
Talk about outperforming your draft position.
- The Utah Jazz outscored their opponents by 10.9 points per 100 possessions when Raul Neto was on the floor last season. They outscored opponents by 3.7 points per 100 possessions when he was off.
Sure, there’s a lot of garbage time baked into those numbers, but Neto is just such a steady hand. In fact, he has to be among the league’s best third-string point guards.
Gotta sneak in a Rudy Gobert retweet, right?
Seriously, though. Neto’s minutes are coming against a much different level of competition than Stephen Curry’s, Kyle Lowry’s or even Fred VanVleet’s. But he clearly makes the most of the opportunities he’s given.
- Net Ratings of the Raul Neto/Rudy Gobert pairing over the years...
These real-life BFFs appear to have some pretty good chemistry on the court, as well.
- Raul Neto’s 1.08 points per spot-up possession ranked fourth on the Utah Jazz, behind Donovan Mitchell, Jonas Jerebko and Joe Ingles.
Neto is one of Utah’s most reliable floor spacers and a 38.8-percent shooter from deep for his career. It’s one of the reasons he can be trusted just about any time he’s called upon.