Something crazy happened last night. Utah Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin started Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, and Derrick Favors together. (Let's be honest, it was facilitated by Marvin Williams being unable to play) This goes one step beyond just 'playing together', it's starting together. Diana and Moni have me working on a project to see when in a game they get on the floor with one another (essentially, how many points down do the Jazz have to be), and this is one of the first times where it is with the game tied.
The F5 (in our case "Fresh 5" or "Future 5" or simply "Refresh" (look at your keyboard) -- Jody calls them the Foundation 5) played 1,006 seconds together in a game last night. That 16.77 minutes was the most they have played together all season long in a game and it's April right now. The last time they played over 10 minutes together was back in January (12.72 minutes). That's a long season of striking while the metal had already cooled again.
Last night they played in three different stints, and finished +/- 0, +/- 0, and +/- -1 over that span. They played against the starters for a playoff team. There IS something there with this group.
The main thing I see is morale. They play better together because they know each other better. And they like playing with each other. Trey Burke knows when to pass the ball on a pick and roll to a cutting Derrick Favors. Alec knows he can take a certain shot because Enes knows how to read where the ball is going and get the offensive rebound. Gordon knows that he doesn't have to do it all on every play by himself.
It is like the original F5 -- or Fab 5 in some ways. Mainly: they really like play with each other.
Fast forward to the 22:55 part please. (Or just click that link and not the video above)
And for the season, because I am keeping score at home, they've played 5,304 total seconds together this season in 48 possible games where they were all healthy. That's 88.40 minutes this season, and 1.84 mpg if they played in every possible game. Of course, Corbin has played them together for only 20 of the possible 48 games they were all healthy. So, that's
smart a stubborn move that's most like the University of Michigan coach.
So how did the guys do last night? We know they played well because the eyes loved what they saw -- defense, dunks, passing, it was so much fun to watch. But what do the numbers say? Well, for the season this is what we're getting from these five -- and these are their values in vacuums.
And this is what happened last night.
There are a lot of numbers but the thing to look at is NET BARPS and Net BARPS/MIN. These are the last two columns. The NET tells us if what they did LAST night in one game was below or above their normative season average.
Well kiddies, for the most part, it was a win. As a group they produced more, period, while maintaining or increasing their normative rate of production. This is that Paul Millsap doctrine we read about years ago. And it holds true for these five guys when playing together as well, and playing for longer minutes, and playing against opposing teams' starters, and playing against a Western Conference playoff team . . . for the big sample size of 1 game. Individually Trey, Enes, and Derrick all played better, and played more efficiently. Alec produced more, but it appears to be the minutes boost. Hayward had to give up a little for the sake of the unit, but did so and still maintained his efficiency for the most part (NET BARPS / MIN = -0.015, which is a small number)
This is fun to research but it gives us the hope that this wasn't a one time thing and that these five players can not only play together but play well together. It would have been cool if the Jazz weren't in such a tight playoff race this season so that we could have had the chance to test this out more.
Oh wait, that's from "Excuses for the last three years 101". I need to update my narrative.
So there are four games left this season. Who is the Rookie of the Year? By the numbers one name stands out.
So that sucks. I think Trey Burke could have been a stronger ROY candidate this year, but for whatever reasons, he wasn't always put in a situation where his talents could shine. He also needs to work on many parts of his game as well, so it's not just systematic reasons. But in terms of trying to look good, there's no better place to do it on a bad team with no desire for structure. That's what we're rewarding here if MCW wins it. And wow, more Michigan content in this Downbeat (Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson, Trey Burke, and Tim Hardaway).
This has nothing to do with the Utah Jazz or the University of Michigan. But is too awesome to pass up. Dikembe Mutombo on the Pete Holmes show.
It bothers me that when he became a free agent from the Denver Nuggets that the Jazz didn't end up getting him, instead he went to the Atlanta Hawks. I understand part of the reason was that Atlanta had direct flights to Africa, which he visits a few times a year back during his playing days -- but if we added Dikembe back in '96 to Stockton, Malone, Hornacek, and crew we win all the titles. I don't think the Jazz were willing to pay that much to get him though. And now, looking back all these years, isn't a championship worth more than money? I think Dikembe teaches us this, that there are many things worth more than money. We all know that he went to Georgetown to study pre-med so he could become a doctor and help his people. His own mother died of Malaria, and he has been self-funding the opening of hospitals and clinics in his homeland to make sure other children don't have to deal with what he dealt with. Great guy. Truly one of the best. And he would have helped us win a title. Or three.
Anyone remember this from last night?
Jazz announcers just tried to debunk the analytics movement with a made-up argument that nobody has ever used and might not be in English.— Sean Highkin (@highkin) April 12, 2014
Yeah, I think our PR is smarter than they wish to appear. But they are flat our being deceptive right now. Why tell people the wrong information, why instill a distrust of analytics? This is like saying vaccines are bad for you without a medical degree -- saying analytics are bad without understanding math. So silly. So wrong.