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Utah Jazz Downbeat #2065 - Player greatness vs. perception

Rudy Gobert DPOY? Gordon Hayward Top 15? John Stockton, not even an honorable mention? WHAAT?

NBA: Washington Wizards at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Today we look at the legacies of a few Utah Jazz players, be them over-looked, on-going, or entirely unforgettable. Also a peek at the standings, and an update on that baby kangaroo.

The Utah Jazz are heading to the playoffs, and I don’t have to cover both the NBA Playoffs and NBA Draft this year. (You may have noticed a tumble weed when looking for 2017 Draft coverage at this site.) Personally I love it. The point of being in the lotto all those years was to get OUT of the lotto. And that’s where this team is right now.

This team is two wins away from 50, and currently have only Shelvin Mack healthy enough to play point guard. George Hill has missed the last four games. Raul Neto has missed the same four. And last night Dante Exum had to leave the game.

Dante is clearly going to be out for at least one practice. He may miss these next two games depending on the severity of it, or more. I honestly don’t know, but I will have to wait to hear what the Jazz butchers training staff say. If you ask me, in my medical opinion we need to get this lady in the #801 asap.

Also, Andrei Kirilenko is too talented.

Also, he’s got a whistle in his mouth so I suspect he’s playing a tune at the same time. Also, the last time the Jazz were in super-duper injury mode at PG he played point guard in the NBA Playoffs against Baron Davis (yes, against peak Davis, not against the back-up PG of GSW) and held his own. Is he available?

Did you get upset about something stupid you saw on the internet today yet? Yes? No? I don’t care. Get upset about this.

I’ll save you a click, here’s Alonzo Warond’s team:

  1. Dikembo Mutombo
  2. Ben Wallace
  3. Gary Payton
  4. Dennis Rodman
  5. Hakeem Olajuwon
  6. Scottie Pippen
  7. Michael Jordan
  8. Bill Russell (8th? OMGWTFBBQ)
  9. David Robinson
  10. Bruce Bowen

And he gives honorable mentions to Tim Duncan (not enough Spurs on this list), and Kobe Bryant. So, how do I even begin? I guess I need to start off with the fact that Warond, @FadewayWorld, has 35.6k followers on twitter.

Second, not even a single mention of Sidney Moncrief? (I had to CTRL+F that to make sure) I guess we know which era of basketball Alonzo started watching ball in. No Kevin Garnett or Walt Frazier? No Dennis Johnson? But Kobe gets an honorable mention?

No John Stockton either. But he’s invisible to people who feel like Kobe was a great defender. Stockton has the 21st most Defensive win shares of all time, the 6th best defensive rating of all time. Kobe? 45th, not-rated.

Stockton was an Alpha defender, he defended on the ball, and took the other team’s offensive point of attack. Bryant was hidden on defense by his head coaches. This is silly. You can’t fight against advanced stupid. Not even with advanced stats.

Putting Kobe as Hon. Mention over actually great NBA defenders is silly. I don’t even need to mention the steals thing.

Neither do you. It speaks for itself.

ESPN’s crew of Luke Knox and Micah Adams broke down all the money and all the numbers for all of the players in the league. For those making at least eight figures who is the best bang for the buck? Out of 107 qualified players ESPN takes a stab.

Jazzman, and erstwhile corner pimp, Alec Burks ($10.1 M) does not make the first cut, for having a negative in both Offensive Box Plus/Minus and Defensive Box Plus/Minus this season. He’s not the only guy in this situation, lots of players are there, Harrison Barnes, Chandler Parsons, Evan Turner, Kent Bazemore, Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo, Jamal Crawford, J.R. Smith, Zach Randolph, Al Jefferson - lots of guys with bigger names and making more than Burks for sure.

The second cut was for players who were not in the Top 20 at something. Derrick Favors ($11.0 M) drops out here. Joe Johnson ($11.0 M) is also out. But so too are guys making so much more than him, like Dirk Nowitzki, Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Greg Monroe, Enes Kanter, Timofey Mozgov ($16 M? Still hilarious), DeMarre Carroll, Marvin Williams, and others.

Stage three is eliminating players who do not produce enough combined PPG + RPG + APG + SPG + BPG compared to their salaries. I guess you could claim that these guys are ‘overpaid’ as a result of their actual on court performance. This group doesn’t feature any current Jazz players, but does eliminate former Jazzmen Paul Millsap ($20.0 M) and Wesley Matthews ($17.1 M). But lots of “name brand” players are out: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Mike Conley, Al Horford, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Hassan Whiteside, and so on.

The next set of cuts eliminate players who are good, who do produce, but have missed games due to injury. You’d think some Jazz guys would be out here just because - but most of the players who have missed games for the Jazz are already cut or didn’t make money in the first place. Goodbye to DeMar DeRozan, Bradley Beal, Blake Griffin, and others though.

Sixth round? Getting rid of players who make more money relative to their RPM, and the salary of other players with their RPM. This does remove MVP candidates Russell Westbrook ($26.5 M) and James Harden ($26.5 M), along with other name stars like Anthony Davis, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson . . . and somehow Marcin Gortat who had made it all the way to the sixth round of this.

After all is said and done just 15 NBA players remain. As the authors of this piece put it:

These are the 15 best values among the $10 million club. Highest-paid: Kawhi Leonard ($17.7 million). Lowest: Jrue Holiday ($11.3 million). The formula for picking the best value: scoring + non-scoring contributions divided by salary and multiplied by percentage of games played.

Putting it together by position (my bias) gives you this group:

  • PG: John Wall ($16.9), Eric Bledsoe ($14.0), Ricky Rubio ($13.5), Stephen Curry ($12.1), Kemba Walker ($12.0), Kyle Lowry ($12.0), Jrue Holiday ($11.2)
  • SG: Jimmy Butler ($17.5), Eric Gordon ($12.3)
  • SF: Kawhi Leonard ($17.6), Gordon Hayward ($16.0)
  • PF: Draymond Green ($15.3), Serge Ibaka ($12.2)
  • C: DeMarcus Cousins ($16.9), Nikola Vucevic ($11.7)

Does this change your opinion of any of these guys? Does it validate Hayward being in this Top 15 group?

That’s a lot of words in a row. Let’s cleanse the palate with this block:

Was this, aside from that game where Josh Howard started off 0-4 or whatever, the most iconic moment of the last time the Utah Jazz were in the NBA Playoffs? (No, I don’t mean the guy who said the series was over after two games throwing a lazy pass at home, and giving up on the play.) I’m always going to love Devin Harris for his heart and effort. He wasn’t a mercenary. Effort matters. So does having heart.

We see you, Ronnie Price!

So my question is: which bench guy is going to have one of these epic defensive / heart / effort moments this playoffs for the Jazz? It’s going to be Dante Exum, right?

More and more people are coming around to Rudy Gobert for Defensive player of the year. For better or worse, it’s mostly just math people, as opposed to talking heads on national radio and TV shows. Still though, Frank Urbina throws down here. Read it! Weep for joy.

I feel so strongly about the overall excellence of this piece I’m just going to put the link again. No excerpt. Click on this. Read it. It’s the best thing you will read all day long.

Frank had this to add just moments ago:

No matter what happens, Gobert being award DPOY or not, we have one of the possible All-Time great centers in a moment where many very good to great centers walk the earth.