Training camp is underway and the Utah Jazz season is upon us. The Jazz are going to be a young team this season, but with a group of veterans to help mentor, the team has a nice mixture. Since training camp has only begun and the regular season isn’t until October 30th, there has been no starting lineup made by Tyrone Corbin yet.
Most everyone is under the impression that with the moves the Jazz have made this season, the team will start the young core of Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter. However, there is a lineup that could possibly shake things up a little bit for Jazz fans.
Marvin Williams is not 100% healthy yet. He probably will not be ready for the start of the season. Guessing we are looking more at December to see him return to the court, although he is said to be ahead of schedule. What would happen if he was inserted into the starting lineup?
If it were to happen, there would be a few different things to look at first.
1. The starting lineup would be bigger and defensively better
Moving Marvin into the lineup as the small forward, moves Gordon over to the shooting guard. This makes your lineup very good size.
Trey Burke – 6’1″ 185 pounds
Gordon Hayward – 6’8″ 215 pounds
Marvin Williams – 6’9″ 237 pounds
Derrick Favors – 6’10″ 263 pounds
Enes Kanter – 6’11″ 248 pounds
With Trey being the only one excluded from this, the Jazz would have 4 players on the court with wingspans over 7′. With that kind of length, the Jazz would be able to disrupt passing lanes and could be better defensively having Marvin on the floor.
Alec stands at 6’6″ and 205 pounds. He’s not exactly small but there are some stats that could prove a little that Marvin is a better choice.
Obviously, the stats are going to be a little different since Marvin played more minutes than Alec last season. However, according to Synergy Sports, overall last season, with Marvin playing defense, the opponent scored the basketball 39% of the time. With the opponent being guarded by Alec, they score the basketball 44% of the time.
Again, playing a different amount of minutes and playing different positions will fluctuate stats a little bit. However, defensively, it makes sense to do this lineup. Although, Marvin isn’t healthy yet and won’t be ready by the start of the season, we will have to wait on this.
2. Offensively, players are very similar
Alec is more of a slash to the basket type of player. Marvin looked good coming off screens and hitting elbow jump shots. 2 different types of players. Statistically wise, the output is pretty similar.
With Marvin being hurt last season, and Alec’s playing time varying from game to game, surprisingly Alec took almost as many shots last season. With Marvin, his points per possession (ppp) is at 0.92 and scoring percentage was at 42.2%. Alec’s ppp was a 0.86 and scoring percentage at 41%. Really not much different, although, Marvin’s numbers again were a little better.
You have to also ask yourself, which offensive style is going to fit with the starters better. We had a conversation on JazzCast this week with Dan Clayton about the pace of the offense. If you haven’t watched it, you can check it out here. I tend to agree with Dan that the Jazz should run a slower pace in the offense.
My thoughts are, with a young starting point guard in Trey, a slower offense would be good because it could help minimize his turnovers. A young rookie point guard tends to want to push the tempo and things can get out of control. However, the pace is up to Corbin and how he wants Trey to run the team. If the tempo is slowed down, Marvin could be better suited for the starting lineup. To let the Jazz get into their offensive sets and go through the play, Marvin would work. Alec would also work, but here is the other stat that I worry about.
Alec turned the ball over 15% of the time on his possessions last season, which when you look at 15%, it doesn’t sound like much. Marvin, however, only turned the ball over 10% of his possessions, and as I have mentioned before, Marvin had more playing time than Alec.
I do however, like the idea of Alec slashing to the basket coming around an off ball screen and having Trey feed him the ball going to the basket. Alec is very, very good at getting to the rim and drawing contact. That is an advantage that he has over Marvin and is something that the Jazz seem to like as well.
3. Per 36 Minutes
I like the stat for per 36 minutes because it is close to what a starter would see minutes wise. Realistically it would be closer to 30-32 but, I like this stat. It also shows that with given the minutes, Alec could be better.
Per 36, Marvin averages 11 ppg, 5.5 rpg, and 1.6 apg.
Per 36, Alec averages 14.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, and 2.9 apg.
This stat basically says that Alec should be on the court for those minutes. With a team that is young, we need the scoring output. Also, rebounding doesn’t drop off much and the Jazz have needed a shooting guard that can rebound the basketball.
4. The Answer
The first 2 stats you look at, are hard to judge. Marvin played in more games than Alec last season and played a little over 600 more minutes for the season. With those differences, it’s very hard to decide if Marvin would fit that much better.
Defensively, the Jazz would be longer with Marvin on the court. However, they Jazz would be quicker with Alec on the court.
Offensively, there could be advantages to both players being out there, and there can be disadvantages to both players being out there.
Here’s my thoughts on this. Alec Burks should get the start. Alec has been waiting for his opportunity and if given the minutes, I think he can succeed. I feel that his slashing ability and drawing contact at the rim would be an advantage over Marvin. I do think though, we would be a better defensive team with Marvin.
Also, it would be good to start Alec for confidence purposes. He has been waiting, and with the moves the Jazz have made this off season, it makes it look to him like you made these moves to give the reigns to these young guys. If Alec gets pushed back again, it could frustrate him and he might not produce like we think he can.
Alec Burks should start. Marvin Williams should come off the bench. It’s the right thing to do. Just look at how this starting lineup looks. A group of young guys ready to take everyone head on. Lets get this thing started!