You may or may not have noticed . . . but this Utah Jazz team is pretty fun to watch when they are playing well. They just beat the Chicago Bulls, on the road. And they did more than just beat them, they blew them out. The last time that the Jazz blew out the Bulls in Chicago was March 9th, 2010 -- 1,767 days ago. Wins have been scarce in the Windy city, even with last night's victory the Jazz are only 18-29 against them all-time in their gym. In fact you have to go into the way-back machine to find the last five wins against the Bulls in Chicago before what just happened a few hours ago:
|Date||Good Guys||Bad Guys||Margin|
Yeah. 2001. I had a whole lot of hair on my head back then, and was a number of waist sizes smaller. It's been a while, and as a result, we all know that victories against the Bulls are that much sweeter. If you combine the bonus for beating the Bulls in their gym, and the fact that the Jazz did it without three major rotation players (Alec Burks, Enes Kanter, and Rodney Hood) it's pretty much an all-around feelgood story.
It's also the 2nd biggest win of the season by final margin:
|Date||Good Guys||Bad Guys||Margin|
"That's what I'm talkin' about." - Kip Dynamite
It's just one win, but within the larger scope of this season, it's our 13th win. And it's a foundational building block of a win.
- Beat a good team.
- A potential NBA finals team.
- On their home court.
- When they hare a significant health advantage against you.
- And you are missing two starters.
- To start a three game road trip that few people feel like you can compete in.
It's a fantastic start, and it really makes me feel good inside. I bet it makes our players feel that way too!
He is playing phenomenally since injuries forced Quin Snyder to start the behemoth. Check out his splits between his rookie season per game averages, his cumulative career averages (before this last game), and his averages for the last 10 games (including the last game).
Rudy is on a mission right now. And that mission is to absolutely wreck other teams. This team is completely different with him out there on the floor.
Check out this vid by Dakota Schmidt (who writes for everywhere)
It's fun to look back at his draft class and see which guys were picked ahead of him (full list here); or to just revel in how he compares to his peers (full list here). Despite not playing a lot of minutes, he's obviously already 1st in total blocks, and climbing everywhere else.
To continue on with the Rudy Gobert train, the good, and smart, and handsome people over at Nylon Calculus figured out that, well, Rudy Gobert is tops on their list of best rim protectors this season. Check out their full statistical breakdown here, or just be lazy and let me bullet point some of it for you below:
- Rudy Gobert (UTA), estimated 4.94 points saved per 36 minutes played
- Andrew Bogut (GSW), 3.54
- Roy Hibbert (IND), 3.12
- Samuel Dalembert (NYK), 2.29
- Brook Lopez (BKN), 2.25
- Tyler Zeller (BOS), 2.18
- Larry Sanders (MIL, but really?), 2.03
- Festus Ezeli (GSW), 1.87
- Kosta Koufos (MEM), 1.82
- Chris Andersen (MIA), 1.77
- Pau Gasol (CHI), 1.56
- Justin Hamilton (MIA), 1.56
- Cole Aldrich (NYK), 1.49
- Dwight Howard (HOU), 1.40
- Marreese Speights (GSW), 1.40
The full list is obviously more than just 15 players, and Derrick Favors clocks in at 37th on the list, saving only 0.32 points at the rim per 36 minutes played. The question is "do you think that Rudy Gobert" can be an elite defender in the paint? Because if he can be, then there's no point in limiting him to the bench. It sucks for Enes Kanter (and or Trevor Booker), but the team has to come first. And right now few guys are helping the team win more than Rudy is. He is 2nd in VORP, 1st in Win Shares / 48, 3rd in Win Shares, and 1st in Defensive Win Shares.
Advanced stats are not the only things that matter. But if you look at Gobert you immediately understand that this is a man who dominates the quantitative realm, he is just taller and longer than all around him. Qualities are nice, but Rudy is 'le Roy' of numbers. And with him on the floor, the one number that matters most is how many more points the Jazz have compared to their opponents.
Did you see this crazy thing that happened in Europe?
What the... https://t.co/X97kHwft2X— Savaş Birdal (@savasbdl) January 7, 2015
Who do you nominate to 'regulate' if something crazy like this happens on the court? It's gotta be Trevor Booker right? Or maybe Steve Novak . . . you know . . . maybe he can play D&D against the angry fan? But back to that game, I love how it's the point guard who is back on defense who runs up and takes care of business. He's like Earl Watson on whatever it is Ron Artest (er, Metta World Peace) used to have for breakfast.
If you have been paying attention you may have noticed that there's some sort of high level of turnover happening this season. The Jazz will sign a guy, pay that guy, and then still waive him. Earlier in the season it was for established NBA players with NBA contracts like Carrick Felix or Jordan Hamilton. Now it's players on non-guaranteed contracts and 10 days. I'm not crazy about how some of these players are gone before even getting a chance -- and as a result we have concerns over how much time Elijah Millsap or Elliot Williams will actually get.
Fans are not alone, as I had an interesting convo with Antoine Carr (the Big Dawg) on twitter about this.
Personally I wasn't a fan of how Toure' Murry spent a grand total of 130 days with the Jazz, and played about one minute in the NBA. As a Murry fan, someone who watched him in the DL before he was with the Knicks, I've seen his game develop and adapt to the needs of what his coaches wanted. I think he could have contributed here. But I don't live inside Quin Snyder or Dennis Lindsey's head.
So I guess it's trivia though, which players have spend fewer days with the team than Murry? This is not a complete list (because I'm in the process of working on a full-on post about these shenanigans) but . . . here are the 40 players with the shortest (again, incomplete) stays with the Utah Jazz:
|1||Jerel McNeal||183||21||Patrick Christopher||28|
|2||Eric Maynor||181||22||Dahntay Jones||28|
|3||Malcolm Thomas||179||23||Howard Eisley (I)||26|
|4||Sundiata Gaines||178||24||Rusty LaRue (I)||25|
|5||Roger Powell||177||25||Randy Livingston (I)||24|
|6||Armen Gilliam||177||26||Ira Bowman||24|
|7||Ben Handlogten (I)||143||27||Trey Gilder (II)||22|
|8||Toure' Murry||130||28||Jamaal Tinsley (II)||18|
|9||Erik Murphy||109||29||Jamel Thomas||15|
|10||Mike Harris||104||31||Keith McLeod (II)||12|
|11||Carrick Felix||98||31||Jordan Hamilton||11|
|12||Pete Chilcutt||97||32||Travis Leslie||10|
|13||Aleksandar Radojevic||93||33||Blake Ahearn||10|
|14||Jack Cooley||65||34||Trey Gilder (I)||10|
|15||Brock Motum||60||35||Paul Grant||8|
|16||Dee Bost||57||36||Scottie Reynolds||7|
|17||Kevin Murphy (II)||45||37||Elden Campbell||6|
|18||Bruno Sundov||42||38||Glen Rice||4|
|19||Chris Quinn||29||39||Tre' Bussey||2|
|20||Darnell Jackson||29||40||Pavel Podkilzin||1|
N.B. The number in brackets behind a player's name is which time they joined the team, for example Kevin Murphy at #17 was for his 2nd stint with the Jazz. Essentially, most of these guys are NBA-DL players under mid-season 10 days, or people who signed on for training camp but didn't make the team. Some are not.
What do you think? Which of these 40 players should have had a longer and larger role with the Utah Jazz franchise?