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Karl Malone was a bigtime scorer, which Utah Jazz players will get there? - The Downbeat #1534

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Why the Boston loss is not the end of the world...Karl Malone dropped 61 and other Jazzmen who had huge scoring nights...Burke and Exum, not Burke or Exum...The Jzzz continuity system...and Rudy Gobert is getting noticed.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, the Utah Jazz dropped a game they should have won, and a huge part of it was checking out in the second quarter to the Boston Celtics -- who were playing on the second night of a back to back, and the third game in four nights. Boston went on a 16-2 run, and then a 7-0 run in that quarter. That's not even the crazy part. But they did it when they had Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Tayshaun Prince, Gerald Wallace, and Tyler Zeller on the court for the first one; and for the second, they exchanged Smart for Evan Turner, Wallace for Brandon Bass, and Zeller for Jared Sullinger. These are not world beaters. The obvious thing is to look at who was on the court for the Jazz at those points in time and point a finger -- but Quin Snyder tried five different line-ups during those two stretches. You can't just blame a few of the guys, you have to blame the collective groups. Trey Burke, Dante Exum, Joe Ingles, Gordon Hayward, Elijah Millsap, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Rudy Gobert were the individual parts to those five lineups . . . so basically all the healthy rotation players except Trevor Booker.

I'm not going to go too crazy about this loss, the Jazz are still playing these games with Alec Burks and Rodney Hood. A healthier squad makes for a stronger team, and better line-ups. The other thing is that the absence of Burks (a player who can make something out of nothing), and Hood (a spot up shooter who can put the ball on the floor, and either make his own shot or find an open man) really make the team weaker on offense.

At times the team does stagnate, and at the end of the game we see more Gordon Hayward #MOLO at times (#GOLO?) . Having more players be able to handle the rock, make their own shot, get to the line, or find open guys makes our offense work. I don't need any more proof of it than the preseason when everyone was healthy and this was working.

The team we see on the floor is not as good as the 2014-2015 Jazz actually are. And I believe that. And losing to the Celtics shows the range of play this team is capable of. More vet squads are more predictable, and sadly, we can better predict the out come of games because we know they can't actually play 'out of their minds'. A young club can, and this Utah club has (road wins against the Grizzlies and Bulls, for starters). This was a youth loss. I take it as the penalty for being able to have those occasional wins against teams the Jazz should not beat.

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Last night after three quarters the Jazz scored 66 points, total, at home. Twenty five years ago Karl Malone scored 61 by himself against the Milwaukee Bucks. That was a big time scoring night (my phrase for 36+ points).

Yes, 61 points off of 26 shots is crazy. Also crazy is that Karl went to the line only 23 times, which is 6 more than Dante Exum has in his entire rookie season (so far). So, beyond The Mailman's entire resume, what were the next largest scoring outputs in franchise history?

Those nine players + Karl give us the ten best "bigtime" scoring games in Jazz history. (That's recorded, put in a database, and indexed . . . ) The next nine are Darrell Griffith, Carlos Boozer, Thurl Bailey, and Nate Williams with 41; Jim McElroy, Al Jefferson, C.J. Miles, and Jeff Hornacek with 40;. and Gail Goodrich with 38.

Who is #20, then? Naturally, it's Gordon Hayward (tied with Jeff Wilkins and Terry Furlow) with a game high of 37 points.

Question 1: How high do you think Gordon can get for points in a game? 40? 50?

Question 2: Who will be the next player in a Jazz uniform to have a "big time scoring" nigh" (e.g. 36 points or greater).

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So, I found this interesting. You may as well. It's super small sample size theater right now but . . .

. . . when Trey Burke starts over Dante Exum (2089 mins), the pair plays 50.95 MPG (obs someone is at the two for parts of the game) and in it produces 16.95 ppg (.3713, .3067, .7642, 0.99 PPS), 3.98 rpg, 7.12 apg (2.41 to 1.00 ratio), 1.37 spg, and 0.37 bpg.

. . . when Dante Exum starts over Trey Burke (202 mins), the pair plays 57.33 mpg, and the tandem produces 25.92 ppg (.4177, .3962, .5000, 1.11 PPS), 2.58 rpg, 4.42 apg (1.60 to 1.00), with only 0.33 spg, and 0.00 bpg.

More scoring, better scoring looks for both of these guys . . . fewer assists, rebounds, and everything else. With 45 games over I think we just need to flat out see more of each player, and I hope this means more of BOTH of them on the court at the same time. The team needs to get more data to support or disprove the theory that a) they can play together at the same time, and b) that they can make each other (and the other players) better as a result.

And from this data the teams needs to go forward. Many people have been vocal about their desired extinction of Trey Burke as a Jazz player as soon as they traded Exum. I am not so hasty, because this offense is built around having many dangerous players play at the same time. Let's not forget our own history, back when the Utah Jazz traded Jeff Malone away for Jeff Hornacek, Horny was the PG of the Sixers and averaging 7+ apg. Versatility is needed in order to succeed.

And while the results haven't shown it so far, I think that the Dante + Trey experiment needs to continue, and it should never be Dante OR Trey. I would have loved for Chauncey Billups to have been on this squad too, but we can't always get what we want. (And history tells us that at least, eventually, SLC Dunk gets what it wants 2 years later, so you never know . . . .)

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The good people over at ProBasketball Analysis broke down the Jazz secondary offense, which is kinda WHY the team needs more than one ball handler out there on the court. Check it out!

Check HERE for the rest of their breakdown, with words and stuff. You know. Stuff. Internet stuff.

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ESPN's Amin Elhassan puts Rudy Gobert on his All-Underrated Team (In$ider):

Gobert has been tremendous this season as a rim protector and above-the-rim finisher, a more under-control version of JaVale McGee, and he has drawn effusive praise from several writers on TV, including Zach Lowe on the "Grantland Basketball Hour" and ESPN Insider's Tom Haberstroh on "NBA Coast 2 Coast" (Haberstroh's kudos were so emphatic, it led analyst George Karl to remark: "I think he likes Gobert"). Gobert is holding opponents to 37 percent shooting at the rim and ranks third in defensive RPM among centers at plus-4.18, not to mention inhaling nearly a quarter of all available defensive rebounds when he's on the floor.

- Amin Elhassan, ESPN, 2015

I know it is crazy, but I predict that Gobert is actually one of the few Jazz players who is going to go over from being perpetually under-the-radar to being actually accurately rated at some point in his career. Crazy, I know! We could argue that perhaps Deron Williams (and Carlos Boozer) at their height were a little over rated. John Stockton, even after owning the record books, is consistently under rated. We all know that lots of people are still surprised when Gordon Hayward blocks someone ("...and that's probably the only one he'll have in his career..." - non-Jazz announcer dude). Rudy is big. He's been somewhat uncensored on social media. And he's playing well.

Everyone took notice of him at the draft combine. And now everyone, even ESPN, is taking notice of him on the court too! He may never go for 50 points in a game, but he is becoming a legit 2-way player with star potential!