This past year, many Jazz fans saw it as a waste of a season. The Jazz deferred to trading either Sap or Al and didn’t play the core four (who many see as the future) enough time. In fact compared to others that were drafted in their respective drafts only Hayward is in the top 10 in minutes. Favors should have had 30 a game this season but for some reason Corbin elected to go with Millsap. Kanter didn’t get a lot of time for the 3rd pick being behind Big Al and Burks finally started getting time but not until the 2nd half of the season.
So the question is: where would the Jazz have landed if they gave the majority of the minutes to the core 4? Obviously it’s not easy to project due to different factors but the results might’ve surprised most including Jazz management and especially Ty Corbin. If the Jazz started Mo, Burks, Hayward, Favors and Kanter and they stayed healthy all season and had backups of Al, Sap, Tinsley, Marvin and Foye the Jazz would have performed better on paper. It’s hard to say for sure since the majority of minutes the core four were playing against the opponents bench, but the offset should work with the starters outperforming the other teams bench as well.
The Jazz finished with a 43-39 record, good for 9th place in the Western Conference. They averaged 98 points a game and gave up 98.1 with a 1.53 assist to turnover ratio. The offensive rating was 103.6 and defensive rating 104.3, the only players with a positive net rating was Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Enes Kanter, DeMarre Carroll and Jeremy Evans. Derrick Favors barely missed the cut but in my opinion that was due to trying to make up for the lack of D that Al played.
Per 36 minute stats with the entire team the core four with Mo are in the top 7 of points, Favors and Kanter lead in rebounds and blocks, and all but Favors is in the top 5 of threes. The best four fast break guys on the Jazz are Mo, Burks, G Hay and Kanter. Together those four average 12.4 points per 36 minutes and the team only averaged 10.2 this year per game. The best four players on the plus minus side for the Jazz were Demarre at +120, Kanter at +115, Hayward at +105 and Burks at +99. Sap was a +2 and Al a -158.
I know Dennis Lindsey is a big fan of advanced statistics so I’m sure he already knows all of this, so why didn’t the Jazz try switching it up more throughout the year? It seems to me that pride and trying to keep the so called “veterans” of the team happy outweighed the good of the team. I know a lot of this is hindsight for not making the playoffs, but most fans were calling for a change early on and it rarely ever happened. It’s also the reason why most fans are down on Paul Millsap now is because we weren’t playing well and we had options off the bench but they elected to go with the undersized and awful defensive Millsap over Favors. What’s done is done, but just know what the Jazz will do this next season is what they should’ve done this past season.