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Utah Jazz Most Valuable player, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, or Rudy Gobert?

End of season awards for our Jazz players and coaches

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

So the Utah Jazz season is over, but there's much to discuss still. Let's start things off with our first round of Jazz Jam Sessions, this one focused on who the award winners were from our players and coaches. Jamming with us today are a collection of SLC Dunkers that you all know and love: the stylish Dustin LaMarr / Prodigal Punk of the Monday Downbeats; Yucca Man who is the AK-47 of this site; Dr. UtesFan89 who is draft crazy (and single, laaadies....); our Podcast's own MikeyVP; and our rookie JuMu. So let's get Jamming!


1. Utah Jazz Most Valuable Player:

Dustin: This is tough. I think I'm going with Derrick Favors. He was strong on both ends of the court, and more consistently so.

Yucca Man: Gordon Hayward. Although the team finally learned how to function without him these final couple of weeks, I think he carried the team more than he was sometimes given credit for. For almost the entire season, Hayward was really about 90% of the offense ... both in his scoring and in how well he enabled others to score.

UtesFan89: I guess the real question here is - what does "most valuable" mean? To mean, it's always meant something to the effect of "if you take this guy off the team, they will become worse." Which is, admittedly, very subjective. And very hard to judge. Especially when you have someone like Gobert, who played all 82 games. In comparison, they played 8 games without Favors (went 5-3) and 6 games without Hayward (went 3-3). Obviously you can't equate every game - there were differences, be it the other players missing or what the other team was playing for, or whatever. But solely from a "what I think" point of view (which is where all of this is going to come from), I'd have to say Gobert. Especially after the trade of Enes Kanter (which we all saw), but even before that. He became that guy that other teams had to plan around - maybe not so much offensively all the time, but definitely on the defensive end. We've known for so long that the Jazz just needed a defensive cog in the middle - and it appears they've finally found him. I feel he's the one guy that if you take him off this team, they go from good (or whatever they are) to something much worse.

MikeyVP: Rudy Gobert. It's simple to me, he is the reason this team has become what it is. Initially I wanted to give this to Derrick or Gordon, as a case could be made for either of those guys. But this team changed the minute Rudy stepped into his role as the starter. It is the Jazz defensive game that makes this team special, and that D is built around the stifle tower. His presence in the middle allows perimeter defenders the option to take a few risks, knowing he is back there to clean up if they get burned, and the result has been the best D we have seen here perhaps ever. Also something that shouldn't be overlooked is his attitude and how it has rubbed off on the guys.

JuMu: Rudy Gobert. This isn't just a matter of which player I enjoy the most. The top 3 Jazz players on most people's lists right are Favors, Hayward, and Gobert in some order. I decided to look at the stats and what happened this season to break the tie-breaker in my mind between those 3 players. Gobert leads the team in total Win Shares this season despite 3 players with more total minutes than him this season. He is the best defensive player on our team and is reliable for a near 10 point- 10 rebound double-double every night while only using 5 field goal attempts per game. And don't forget to mention that Gobert has accelerated with no chance of looking en route to becoming one of the top blocking big men in the league. When Gobert is on the floor, he takes away the easiest and most efficient shot in the NBA in the form of shots close to the basket. The Jazz are one of the worst perimeter defenses in the league when looking at opponent's 3P%, yet they are still one of the better defenses in the league, this can be highly attributed to Gobert's interior presence (with all respect to Hayward and Favors as well). It is definitely no coincidence that our team turned a corner once it started starting Rudy and giving him big minutes, he gives your teams wins, and that is what I find most valuable. Yes, Hayward is our top offensive option, and yes Favors is a great example of a humble yet dominant player, but Rudy Gobert is my vote for who was the most valuable player to the Utah Jazz this season.


2. Utah Jazz Rookie of the Year:

Dustin: Dante Exum. Would probably have been Rodney Hood if he had played more games. Despite being absolutely invisible on offense, his defense has been far and above expectations.

Yucca Man: I went back and forth on this one between Dante Exum and Rodney Hood. Finally, I decided Exum's defense as a 19-year-old was more impressive than Hood's offense from a 22-year-old. Joe Ingles gets Honorable Mention because he's awesome.

UtesFan89: Rodney Hood. (Apologies to Dante Exum - but he's already the leading candidate for next year's MIP.) Guess this comes down to offense (Hood) vs defense (Ingles). Once he was healthy, Hood really stepped up his game and became the player I think the Jazz were hoping he'd become (if not more). Especially late, with Hayward not playing, Hood seemed capable of being a big offensive threat if the Jazz required him to be - which is huge. It might not be necessary for him to put up 12-16 points/game every night, but he's shown that he can if called upon. Which is pretty impressive considering he's a rookie. I've been on his bandwagon pretty much from the start (once I got over the fact that he went to Duke), and see no reason to jump off now. I think Exum has a lot more potential - but also has a lot more growing to do to get there.

MikeyVP: Joe Ingles. I know, I know, some will think I'm crazy, but I'll stand by this one. I don't think he's the best player of the bunch, but he was far more important than anyone gives him credit for. Statistically he is slightly better then Exum, but I think he made everyone around him a little better. Rodney Hood was injured far to much for me to give it to him.

JuMu: Rodney Hood. It took me quite a while to finally settle on Hood being our ROY. There really is no eye-popping standout of a rookie on our team when looking at the season as a whole. Many of them experienced some flashes of brilliance at one end of the floor while being subpar on the other end, and Joe Ingles didn't really do any one thing great, but was our team's most consistent glue guy. That is not bad for a rookie, regardless of his age. However, for me, the rookie who gave me the most wow moments this season (despite his injuries), and the one who I think will be the best player out of our group of rookies next season is Rodney Hood. I still have hope for Exum to be a great point guard eventually, but at this point it looks like he is a couple seasons away from even sniffing top-10 point guard in the league territory.


3. Utah Jazz Most Improved Player:

Dustin: Rudy Gobert.

Yucca Man: Rudy. No other candidate, really.

UtesFan89: Rudy Gobert. His defense was a presence last year too (simply due to his height, if nothing else). He just didn't have many minutes to show it. The big jump he made, though, came on the offensive end. Up close, his shooting percentage went from 58 to 71. From 3-10 feet away, his shooting went from 13 to 24. And as his offensive game hopefully continues to develop & become more solid, it should get even better. He's probably never going to gain a Mehmet Okur-like shot, but if he can add a reasonably consistent mid-range jumper to go with his defensive presence, length, and ability to crash the boards, he might win this award next year too.

MikeyVP: Rudy. Instead of making an argument, because there is no argument to make, I'll share my single favorite aspect of this season. When Rudy was posterized by DeAndre Jordan this year and was basically ESPN's whipping boy the next day, he tweeted something about not how he was going to continue to try to block every dunk...and he proceeded to become what he is today, a future Hall of Famer (if you ask the Booner, Ron Boone).

JuMu: Rudy Gobert. I've said this a few times in the past and I'll say it again. Rudy Gobert played less minutes that Miroslav Raduljica last season. He is now a near-lock for All-NBA Defensive 1st team as a 22 year old. That is (explicit) (explicit) (extremely explicit) unbelievable!!!!


4. Utah Jazz Sixth Man of the Year:

Dustin: Trevor Booker. His defense is terrible, but he has had some impactful games. Edges Burke due to not being a remorseless chucker.

Yucca Man: Booker. I don't love his defense, but I love his attitude and the attitude he brings to the game, and to the team.

UtesFan89: Trevor Booker. On a young team full of inexperience, Booker was the guy who could usually be counted on off the bench to at least provide some stability - if not occasionally go off offensively, or hit over-the-head, volleyball-shot buzzer beaters. He wasn't always flashy, but he worked hard and was a really good addition to the team.

MikeyVP: I'll go Trevor Booker seeing as he started fewer than 10 games. I love his attitude and his spirit. I think he is important to the heart of this team, and the energy he brought off the bench was always electric, especially early in the year. When the rest of the team sort of felt like that 25 win team of last year, Trevor was playing like the Jazz mattered from the beginning.

JuMu: Hmmmm, did Gobert come off the bench enough games this season to be considered a 6th man. If yes, him. If no, I am going to go with Trevor Booker. I think Trevor Booker is unappreciated by many. I appreciate that it appears that Booker has bought in and embraced his role and bench big man. There's no feeling of anticipation or animosity that Booker is expecting to start one day and is being held back in the rotation for whatever reason, as was the case for our bench bigs in many cases even dating back to the Paul Millsap - Carlos Boozer era. He hasn't always been the best player off the bench, but I would say overall throughout the season, he did well to be our best big man off the bench and certainly was more reliable than any of the reserve guards on the team.


5. Utah Jazz Defensive Player of the Year:

Dustin: Rudy Gobert. Having him anchor the defense has allowed the perimeter players the confidence to not worry about mistakes, making everyone more effective.

Yucca Man: Jack Bleepin' Cooley. Or Rudy. Probably Rudy.

UtesFan89: Rudy Gobert. When you have a player with nicknames like The French Rejection & The Stifle Tower, I'm pretty sure he's a pretty good bet to be a defensive force. Being 7'1 and having the wingspan of a Boeing 767 has to help too. He seemed to be the force, though, that made the Jazz a sort of defensive force of their own - at least relative to what we got used to seeing over the past few seasons. It wasn't always great, but the fact that the Jazz could count on someone to be a dominating force in the middle and force players to change their plans mid-jump is pretty big. Also, he might make the All-Defensive Team (or honorable mentions, if nothing else). I think that helps him in this as well.

MikeyVP: Rudy Gobert. He did something that is near impossible, He has made defensive possessions almost as exciting for fans as offensive possessions. The obvious thing to look at is his ability to block and alter shots. I personally value his presence as much as either of those stats. Because Rudy is there, everyone else on the court can play a little more relaxed, and take more risks defensively.

JuMu: Rudy Gobert. Honorable mention: Derrick Favors


6. Utah Jazz Coach of the Year (?):

Dustin: ...

Yucca Man: Eye test says Quin. However, thanks to Moni we have advanced stats like this:

W-L record when Mike Lang does the half-time interview: 10-4. That's 58 wins, extrapolated. GO MIKE LANG!

Quin Snyder gets a small shoutout for doing little things like:

  • Designing a competent offense using multiple screens, cuts, while emphasizing both passing and effective shots
  • Develop a system and players into a top defensive team
  • Overseeing a radical shift in player development philosophy that led to what we saw from Hood, Ingles, and Exum.
  • Supporting players through tough times while also demanding they do what they can to win and play as he wants.
  • Understanding, in several post-game interviews, the difference between lucky and smart play
  • Helping players maximize their potential
  • Putting together lineups and sometimes even entire game rosters that drastically overachieved, instead of tragically underachieved. Seriously, I don't know how some of those lineups ever scored a point.
  • For understanding what it means to teach and help the young players learn through both successes and mistakes.
  • For treating mistakes as learning opportunities instead of a reason to mope on the bench.
  • For being excited about the chance to coach and see the team's growth.
  • For putting out a team that showed more in-season growth than I have ever seen before.

UtesFan89: Quin Snyder. No brainer. This guy, teamed with Rudy, has made the Jazz more exciting than they've been in years. The Jazz look like a team. They play like a team. They play hard. Rookies aren't benched every time they make a mistake. Young guys are turned to late in games (admittedly, this could be because there aren't exactly a plethora of vets to turn to). Most importantly, it feels like he knew this team was in a phase where they needed to play together and take their lumps/losses this season to get better for the future - and he was alright with that.

MikeyVP: Tyrone Corbin was terrible, seriously....he was a bad head coach.

JuMu: My top 10 in this race would be Quin Snyder, Quin Snyder, Quin Snyder, Quin Snyder, Quin Snyder, Quin Snyder, Quin Snyder, Quin Snyder, Quin Snyder, and Quin Snyder. Well done coach, now let's make those playoffs next year!!!!


Thanks guys, and who do you have picked to win these awards?