So, I think it's clear to everyone that this season's Utah Jazz team is Gordon Hayward's. G-Time is experiencing his best season of his career and finally living up to the billing as . . . uh, that transformational player some of us expected years ago when Isiah Thomas era unprotected New York Knicks pick fell into our hands. This is the right time to be led by a wing player with all the rules changes, and so forth.
Super stat guy Ed Kupfer just recently diagrammed the top NBA wings by FGA location.
NBA Wings: shot distribution of FGA leaders pic.twitter.com/BNBYAxy1Vw— Ed Küpfer (@EdKupfer) November 20, 2014
For those who aren't going to click on that pic what it shows is that on the x-axis you see shot location (by distance from the basket), and on the y-axis you see shot makes (in Blue) and misses (in Red). The players that get to the rim a lot and make a lot of those closer shots are Tobias Harris, LeBron James, DeMar DeRozan, Monta Ellis, Tony Wroten, Tyreke Evans, and our very own Gordon Hayward. These are the more efficient shots that wings take, the other happens to be open outside jumpers. (But this graph doesn't discriminate between being open or not)
What's really fun is identifying that there are a bunch of wings who take and miss a ton of threes: Kobe Bryant, James Harden, Jeff Green, and Wesley Matthews fit that bill. (Larger red section than blue section after the green line)
Would you say Hayward is taking the shots from where he needs to this season? And how do you feel about his inclusion into this dynamic group of wing scorers?
Steve McPherson, from everywhere (Rolling Stone, Grantland, Hardwood Paroxysm, etc) had an interview with former Seattle Supersonic guard Gary Payton. Check it here:
It's really cool when part of your job is discussing point guard defense and trash talk with Gary Payton: http://t.co/KzOeLeMOwt— Steve McPherson (@steventurous) November 20, 2014
Read the full thing here. Also, our fearless leader Basketball John points this out:
Gary Payton talks more about playing against John Stockton and with Karl Malone from @steventurous http://t.co/673DRFVBnq— Kris (@5kl) November 20, 2014
So it's obvious that I had to track down some pull quotes.
Steve: So who were some of the best offensive players you had to guard?
Gary: The people that I was really concerned with were the people that had the ball most of the time of a basketball game. John Stockton, Rod Strickland - he had that type of game where he could get to the basket any time that he wanted to. Tim Hardaway was a guy who had his crossover and then he could shoot a jump shot and he could get to the bucket.
But Stockton was the most difficult one. He would only take 10, 11 shots and make about eight or nine of them and also get to the free-throw line a lot. So it was very hard to read him. He would set picks, he would pick-and-roll you. He would keep active so much and Jerry Sloan used him in a great way by only letting him play 30 minutes a game, but it was 30 minutes of effectiveness.
Steve: You've also said Stockton wouldn't say anything back to you when you would try to bait him by talking, that you could never get a read on him
Gary: He wouldn't say nothing to you. He knew that that motivated me a lot - if he started talking back to me. What he would do is, if I started talking, I would get into a situation where I'd get into a good rhythm, he would start using his head: setting picks, getting the offensive fouls. When I would get on the block he would flop or fall down and the referees would give him calls and that was because he was the marquee point guard at the time.
But as I started growing and becoming an All-Star, they started letting us play a lot and wouldn't call those cheap fouls on me. Then I stopped reacting to the things he did and we started playing heads-up. I started having great games against him.
Yup. Also check out the full article for his thoughts on playing with Karl Malone, and many other amazing Gary Payton things.
Remember when the whole "OKC Method vs. ________ Method" was a thing? Well, the OKC method won, or at least, seems to be the method the Utah Jazz brass decided to go with (after a few false starts with the MEM method and parading out there with Al Jefferson, Mo Williams, Josh Howard types).
My main man (spoken with the Ahmad Rashad cadence) Jonathan Tjarks broke it all down here:
Utah is following the Oklahoma City model to perfection - http://t.co/vVHJyr6xe6— Jonathan Tjarks (@JonathanTjarks) November 18, 2014
Tjarks details just how we got the 2014-15 Utah Jazz, from the humble beginnings till now. We like this team. Heck, we LOVE this team. We love these players. And we know they have a lot of potential together and as individuals. But it was a long time coming. Jonathan concludes:
This is a textbook model for how you rebuild through the draft. If you take the OKC formula, you aren't always going to wind up with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden in consecutive years, even if you are really good at drafting. However, if you stay patient and you keep drafting young guys with two-way potential who play different positions, you should end up looking pretty good.
The key is to remain patient. The decisions Utah made in 2010 aren't really going to pay off until the second part of the decade. Compare their rebuilding process with what happened in Denver in the post Carmelo Anthony era. In the NBA, slow and steady wins the race.
Furthermore, Aaron McGuire (of everywhere) had this to add:
@JonathanTjarks dudes are so worried about being "caught" by another darko-type failure that they write off foreign youth almost instantly.— Aaron McGuire (@docrostov) November 19, 2014
Obviously, I agree and loved it. Read it all here!
One guy I love is Ian Clark, and he hasn't had a lot of time on the court this season. I believe in him, and know that he's a solid guy. Rudy Gobert 's BFF spent part of his summer on the Junior Jazz circuit, and recently held a special basketball clinic for Special Olympians.
The Jazz have build a team around players who are good citizens, team players, and good members of this community. No one here has said "I'm playing for 29 other teams" (DeMarre Carroll) or suggested that they are moving on (Richard Jefferson), regardless (Carlos Boozer). It's really special that two of our 'biggest free agents' this year are Jeremy Evans and Ian Clark, and neither of them are grumbling about minutes in a contract year.
Or, for the matter, Enes Kanter is usually the first one up cheering when Trevor Booker (his direct competition) hits a three in a game. This is a special team.
Ha ha, I love this alarm clock by our favorite Japanese Jazz fan!
JAZZ MANGA: When you need a spark for your life, set this alarm clock on. @utahjazz #jazznation #nba #QuinForCOY pic.twitter.com/7fjxlZ3Pvd— mizuho nishio (@jashin_mizuho) November 20, 2014
I wonder if Quin Snyder will enjoy it too?