I was browsing around Twitter yesterday morning and seen a guy bring up a very interesting question. The question was, since we have seen the Jazz now play without 3 of their key pieces in some games, who is the most valuable player on this Jazz team? Which player means the most to the Jazz and their success?
The Jazz have played a total of 20 games this season while missing either Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, or Derrick Favors. The Jazz drafted Trey to be the point guard of the future for this team, and in games that he has played, he has shown why he is that point guard to lead this team. Hayward was not signed to a contract extension before the October 31st deadline and will become a restricted free agent after the season. However, he has put up solid numbers this season. Favors was the key piece in a trade with the then New Jersey Nets in the deal that sent Deron Williams out of Utah.
All 3 of these guys are going to be a big part of Utah’s future. I’m almost 90% positive that Hayward and the Jazz will reach an agreement this off season and continue to try and push Utah towards a championship. Before we decide who is the most valuable, let’s compare the numbers when these guys play and when they don’t play.
Hayward came back from injury in the Jazz’s last game against the Minnesota Timberwolves and picked up where he left off before the injury. The Jazz still lost the game big however. Hayward, while injured with a left hip flexor, missed a total of 5 games for the Jazz.
5 games with Hayward out: 2-3
101.4 points per game, +/- points differential = -0.6.
38 games with Hayward in: 12-26
93.6 points per game, +/- points differential = -7.4.
In 38 games, Hayward is averaging 36.1 minutes per game, 17.3 points per game, 4.9 assists per game, and 5.4 rebounds per game, with a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 17.48.
Favors missed the Jazz’s last game due to a right hip flexor against the Timberwolves. Missing that game made that a total of 3 games that the Jazz have not had his services on the court this season.
3 games with Favors out: 0-3
97.7 points per game, +/- points differential = -12.
40 games with Favors in: 14-26
94.3 points per game, +/- points differential = -6.3.
In 40 games, Favors is averaging 31.3 minutes per game, 13.5 points per game, 9.1 rebounds per game, and 1.4 blocks per game, with a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 18.10.
Trey broke his right index finger during a pre-season game against the Los Angeles Clippers that kept him on the sidelines to start his rookie season. Before he could get on the court, Trey missed a total of 12 games for the Jazz.
12 games with Burke out: 1-11
88.6 points per game, +/- points differential = -11.5.
31 games with Burke in: 13-17
96.8 points per game, +/- points differential = -4.8.
In 31 games, Trey is averaging 30.9 minutes per game, 13.5 points per game, 5.6 assists per game, and 3.2 rebounds per game, with a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 14.46.
Just looking at the numbers, the scoring goes up a ways and the point differential goes down a ways when Trey plays. When Favors plays, the scoring goes down, but the point differential goes way down as well. The stat that really surprised me is the scoring and point differential is much better in games where Hayward did not play. However, Hayward’s stats are just a small sample size of what we have seen this season.
To me, just looking at the records, the Jazz desperately needed Trey to come back into the lineup. They couldn’t do anything they wanted to do without a true point guard. When he was out, the Jazz struggled to find a way to score and win games. When Hayward was out, Alec Burks stepped into the starting lineup and played fantastic! Alec filled in for Hayward and averaged 18.8 points per game during that 5 game stretch.
It’s an interesting debate, especially with the trade deadline less than a month away. Like I mentioned before, all 3 players should be a huge part of the Jazz’s future, but as far as which player means the most to this team, the numbers above tell us a small sample size of who that may be.