Utah Jazz: Improvement Amongst the Core 4

The Utah Jazz finally won a game on Wednesday and had help from those outside the core 4.  It was great and much needed to get the monkey off their back (or a 5000 pound gorilla with 5 monkeys on its back according to David Locke).

Marvin Williams as a stretch four brings the Jazz a much needed spot for depth.  Richard Jefferson summoned his old all star caliber self by taking over the game and making Tyreke Evans look like a statue.  Throw in Diante Garrett (a real point guard) and the Jazz pulled out a 111-105 victory over the Pelicans to move to 1-8.

What’s impressed me most with this season is the core 4 have all stepped up their games as needed.  Once help is an every night occurrence, the Jazz might start winning more games than Jabari and Wiggins fans want.  Either way if the Jazz win or lose the core four have stepped up their games this year in the minutes given.

Gordon Hayward

2012-13: (per 36 minutes) 17.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.0 steals, 43.5 % shooting

2013-14: (per 36) 19.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 46.2% shooting

So far through 9 games Hayward has made a huge leap in his per 36 stats.  The one that jumps out to me the most is rebounds though as rebounds was where the all-star two guards were much better.  Hayward has improved every year and it will be interesting throughout this season to see if those numbers can stay up.  There are only 8 guys in NBA history to average 20 pts/6 boards/5 assists/1.3 steals and 46% shooting and Hayward is on pace to do this.  Just to show you the company Hayward is in: Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, Walt Frasier, Grant Hill, Lebron James, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Hayward does this and a max contract is a guarantee.

Enes Kanter

2012-13: (per 36) 16.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, 54.4% shooting, 79.5% free throws

2013-14: (per 36) 17.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, .8 blocks, 53.7% shooting, 88.9% free throws

Kanter has become a worse rebounder this year and a better free throw shooter.  The rest of his stats are similar.  The thing that is impressive in that is he has kept his efficiency up playing 16 more minutes a game than last year.  A lot of players come in and play hard but can only give 15-20 minutes to a team and if they play more than that then their production drops.  That isn’t the case for Kanter which is a great sign from a guy coming back from a season ending injury last year.  His rebounds will go back up as he remembers to get defensive rebounds like he did last game.

Derrick Favors

2012-13: (per 36) 14.6 points, 11 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, 1.3 steals, 48.2% shooting, 68.8% free throws

2013-14: (per 36) 14.1 points, 11 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 1.6 steals, 45.7% shooting, 58.7% free throws

Like Enes Kanter it’s impressive that Favors is keeping his per 36 stats similar while getting 12 more minutes a game.  The shooting was bound to go down as the ball would be in Favors hands more and he would be taking more jumpers.  His free throw percentage was actually in the 70′s two games ago but has had two terrible outings to bring it down quite a bit.  Teams are accounting for Favors now and it has been harder to get blocks but those will come as people start to get back.  One thing Derrick desperately needs probably more than the other guys is a legit point guard.  Trey Burke coming back will improve all of Favors numbers as Derrick is best in the pick and roll game.

Alec Burks

2012-13: (per 36) 14.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 42% shooting

2013-14: (per 36) 16.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 38.7% shooting

Alec has upped his points per game while shooting a lower percentage.  If Burks can regain his shooting from last year (42%, 36% 3′s and 72% free throws) then he could be averaging 18 points a game.  Off the bench as a sixth man Burks has been able to bring an added presence to the Jazz.  Once the team is back fully the Jazz will have something only a few teams have which is a 15 ppg scorer off the bench.  This play could put him in the running for sixth man of the year especially if the Jazz start to win more games.

 

To have 4 guys averaging more than 14 points a game is awesome.  Trey could possibly be another that averages that which would make the Jazz a dangerous team on a nightly basis.  No I ‘m not saying Jazz become a playoff team but teams won’t be walking over them every night like in the first 8.  It’s great to see the core four produce to the standard that we all had to guess at last season.  Now hopefully they will build more chemistry so that next year they can make the same jump the Thunder did from 23 wins to 50 wins.

 

 

Topics: Alec Burks, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz

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