Mar 24, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke (3) shoots during the second half against the Detroit Pistons at EnergySolutions Arena. The Pistons won 114-94. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

How Clutch Are The Utah Jazz?

It seemed as though every game of the 2013-14 Utah Jazz season was a blowout, with the Jazz on the wrong end of it. However, the Jazz did manage to notch a few victories, netting 147 clutch minutes along the way.

BasketballReference.com has an interesting graph on each team page you can mouse over for quick details of game results.

2013-14 Utah Jazz Game Results, via BasketballReference.com

2013-14 Utah Jazz Game Results, via BasketballReference.com

Clutch is defined in the NBA as a game with a five points or less deficit between teams within the last five minutes and overtime, and the Jazz were surprisingly good in clutch game situations games in 2013-14, going 9-7 in games decided by five points or less.

So, who were the Utah Jazz clutch leaders last season? It certainly felt like Trey Burke had ice in his veins, but did anyone else perform well under pressure? There’s a valid argument to be made that minutes earned in the clutch are among the most valuable in the game of basketball, and a few Jazz players garnered quite a few of those last season.

Some of the results may surprise you. A few of the following clutch stats raised my eyebrows as I searched and browsed, both within the context of the team and the NBA at large for 2013-14.

• There’s usually about 450 players in the NBA at any given time. 114 of NBA players played at least 100 clutch minutes

• As a team, the Washington Wizards played the most clutch minutes, 243, the San Antonio Spurs the least, 114

• The Utah Jazz played 147 clutch minutes

• Gordon Hayward played 143 clutch minutes

• Trey Burke played 128 clutch minutes

• Derrick Favors played 109 clutch minutes

These three Jazz players accounted for the most clutch minutes for the Jazz last season and were the only Jazzmen who played at least 100 clutch minutes (all stats included in this piece are for at least 100 clutch minutes played in 2013-14). But were they any good when it mattered most?

Gordon Hayward

The eyeball test might indicate Gordon Hayward turns the ball over in the clutch. In the course of the season he turned it over about every 13.2 minutes, overall. But in the clutch Hayward turned it over only about every 17.9 minutes of play, representing about a 25% improvement when it counted.

Hayward’s assist-to-turnover ratio skyrockets in the clutch as a result as well, as he averages about one assist more per minute of play in the last five minutes of a close game as compared to the rest of the game, with 18 clutch assists to only 8 turnovers, for a 2.25 Ast/TO ratio.

We worry about Hayward’s shooting, but it improves drastically in the clutch, jumping up from 52.0% to 64.1% True Shooting — a metric which takes into account free throws and the fact that a three-pointer is worth more than a two-pointer.

Among wings who played at least 100 clutch minutes last season, only Shawn Marion, Nicolas Batum and Tobias Harris’s clutch TS% was better than Gordon Hayward’s.

• Gordon Hayward shot 41.3% FGs, 30.4% 3FGs and 81.6% FTs in 2013-14

• In the clutch, Hayward’s shooting numbers rose to 46.7% FGs (45FGAs), 36.4% 3FGS (11 3PAs) and 83.7% FTs (43 FTAs)

The stigma that Gordon Hayward isn’t clutch certainly doesn’t hold up well when we do the math in context. Sometimes the eyeball lies.

Derrick Favors

There isn’t enough spoken concerning the steps Derrick Favors made forward last season, and clutch play is no exception. We certainly can’t forget that Big Slim had his first ever game-winner at any level of basketball just last season.

• Derrick Favors’ FG% went from 52.2% to 64.3%, putting him among the NBA’s best bigs in the clutch (min. 100 MP)

• Despite shooting about 5% worse from the FT line, Favors’ TS% went from 55.6% to 65.4% in the clutch

• Favors’ Rebound Percent went from 16.7% to 18.2% in the clutch

• Favors’ Assist Percent went from 7.3% to 9.4% in the clutch

Trey Burke

For all the perceived faults of Trey Burke as a rookie, he might be the Jazz’s most clutch player, making good when it counts most.

Trey Burke is truly exceptional in the clutch, and this trio of young Utah Jazz phenoms have that rare knack to step up big in the moment, and will assuredly only age well in time, giving Utah a plethora of options in tight situations late in games.

Tags: Clutch Derrick Favors Gordon Hayward Ice Trey Trey Burke Utah Jazz

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