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Jazz Rudy Gobert is a blocks machine, but can he catch Anthony Davis for the season lead? - The Downbeat #1590

Dante and Trey are moving the team forward, images from last night, updating the 2015 trade grades, April Fools, and Rudy Gobert's blocks.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Last night the Utah Jazz beat up on the Denver Nuggets. The final score (98-84) wasn't even close to the drubbing they got (Jazz were up by 25 in the fourth with 6:54 left to play). More than that, the Jazz were able to beat up on a team while Gordon Hayward only had to score 13 points. Why? Well, I think it's because Dante Exum and Trey Burke, our back-to-back lotto point guards, both played well. Dante, 19, had a career night with assists. He finished with only 2 points, but 12 assists (3 turn overs) and 1 rebound. I don't know if I like +/- as a stat yet, but he finished +9. Trey came off the bench and finished with 12 points (12 shots, so Al Jefferson efficiency here), 5 rebounds, 4 assists (1 turn over), and a +/- or +15.

As a pair they finished with 14 points, and 16 assists, while clocking in a 4:1 assist to turn over ratio and a +24 for the night. That's much better than probably any other game this season. The 6/16 shooting isn't hot, and the 2/7 from deep line isn't fearsome. But still. These guys had a really good game. The next step is to have a really good season together.

Ian Levy wrote a big piece over at The Cauldron, and within it he breaks down the minutes=weighted average Box Plus-Minus (BPM) for each team, and again by each position for that team.

The deeper groups show up, as do some teams with undeniable stars. If you can't catch the actual numbers too well the Utah Jazz break down as follows:

  • Center: +2.2
  • Power Forward: +0.7
  • Small Forward: +1.1
  • Shooting Guard: -0.9
  • Point Guard: -2.6

The only teams that had a WORSE value for their point guards were the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Philadelphia 76ers. These are two teams that a pretty bad across the board, as are the New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, and Los Angeles Lakers. Now, is BPM the only metric that matters? Heavens no! But compared to the other teams out west, our point guards do not look that hot.

  • West Rank #1 - 5: GSW, OKC, LAC, POR, PHX
  • West Rank #6 - 10: MEM, DEN, HOU, DAL, SAS
  • West Rank #11 - 15: LAL, SAC, NOP, UTA, MIN

It looks worse when you use the actual PG BPM over the PG BPM ranks. It looks even worse than that when you look at where the Jazz are at the SG+SF+PF+C ratings. If you sum the BPM for the other four positions the Jazz are the #7th best team in the Western Conference. If you just look at the front court (ostensibly Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, and bench guys) the Jazz climb up to being #5, only +0.1 BPM lesser than the Clippers and their stars.

So are the Jazz point guards holding our team back? No. And I strongly feel that way. Why? Well, we're not in it to win games this year, so while they aren't helping us win games -- that wasn't the point. This year is about learning and development, and the hardest position to learn is point guard. But these two guys are leading our team in learning this spot. Rudy Gobert looks to have made the largest jump, but part of that is artificial because of how he was held back last year. This is the first year either of them have ever played in a system like Quin Snyder 's, and they have also never really handed the ball off to the wings as much as they are right now.

It's a learning process. Sure, we don't get great games from them every night. But they played great as a unit (and together at the same time) last night. And it's not going to be the last time either.



That was a little too much math for the first thing in the morning, so here are some pictures from our SLC Dunkers who were at last night's game!

Of course they brought good luck to our team, duh.



One of the smart writers over at Nylon Calculus, Nathan Walker, tried to break down the trade grades from this past season. The object this time is to find the difference in performance from the first team to the next, as opposed to just looking at the raw data of a player in a vacuum. There are two things being measured here, as he defines them:

  1. "Better Fit Score": how much better players' box-score contributions per 100 possessions is on their new team than their old team.
  2. "Trade Score": how well new players have performed minus the performance of those traded away.
  3. - Nathan Walker, Nylon Calculus, 2015

According to the data Enes Kanter wasn't that hot as a Jazzman this year, getting an individual BPM in a Jazz jersey of -4.2. However, after switching teams he went up to +1.7, for a net difference of +5.9. That's the second highest jump of anyone who has managed to play at least 250 minutes with both his original and new teams. And if you add it all up . . . Jazz fans, no matter what, are going to be upset. Why? Well, for all the jokes people make about Enes Kanter he actually is performing well by the math. But in reality we should be doubly happy. A guy who didn't want to be here is gone, though, he is playing well; and our team is playing great without him.

Of course the Utah Jazz couldn't wait to call Kanter an "April Fool," which isn't petty at all : )

For those interested, the Top players are as follows:

From the looks of things the Cavs seem to have won much more than they lost; and not surprisingly, they are no longer in jeopardy to miss the playoffs, but are #2 in the East right now. And thanks to Nate for doing this, this is really cool -- and worth a look-see to find out who are the 10 WORST players after being traded. I was surprised.



Did you peep the other thing the Jazz did for April Fool's day?

Hilarious. From their press release:

SALT LAKE CITY (April 1, 2015) - The Utah Jazz are excited to announce an addition to the team's uniform set. Beginning next season, the Jazz will be the first NBA team to officially introduce Three-Quarter Court Pants, which the team will feature during select games.

The Jazz wanted to expand on the sleeved-shirt style that a handful of NBA teams have incorporated this season and came up with the idea of court pants. The team consulted with noted Italian designer Giovanni Cavellini to bring the court pants concept to life.

Court pants represent the future in the ever-changing landscape of NBA uniforms. Continuing an evolution from the short shorts of the ‘80s to various baggier versions since the ‘90s, the Jazz are once again at the forefront of NBA fashion.

"In ten years, we will look back and laugh at the days when basketball was played in shorts rather than pants," Cavellini said. "This is an exciting day for the NBA."

These "capri-style" pants are specifically designed to maximize both comfort and performance. Breathable and flexible, the court pants help athletes maintain an optimal body temperature thanks to an enhanced moisture-wicking fabric that absorbs up to 8.5 percent more perspiration than regular uniforms.

Three-Quarter Court Pants details:

  • Tapered fit for maximum comfort
  • 57.7% recycled polyester, 34.5% non-recycled polyester, 3.3% lycra, 1.7% velvet, 1.5% nylon, 1.3% sateen
  • Imported
  • No pockets
  • Team logo and colors

Fans can purchase official Utah Jazz Three-Quarter Court Pants beginning September 31, 2015.

I love how they are always pushing NBA style forward. I can't wait for the ESPN 30 for 30 movie about "nut hugging in the 90s" (short shorts). Funny stuff. That said, these do look kinda comfy . . .



Right now Rudy Gobert is only 4 blocks behind Anthony Davis for the lead this season. Davis has 8 games left, and Rudy has 7. Who is going to finish the season with more?