20 December 2011
Rick Bowmer, Associated Press via Deseret News
The Utah Jazz's preseason debut was something less than stellar, so here's a snap-take by the numbers, by the best of position. Coach Ty Corbin did a lot of unusual experimenting, so what follows is per-36 minute production from last night in the Rose Garden in Portland versus the Trail Blazers, with one exception, as you'll see.
Best PG Play
• Devin Harris: 15 pts, 5 asts, 3 rebs, 5 stls, 8 TOs
• Earl Watson: 7 asts, but only 10% FG shooting
Barely even serviceable levels. The Jazz will need a lot more from the point to do anything besides obtain lottery balls this season.
Best SG Play
Bell v. Hayward
• Raja Bell: 10 pts, 67% FGs, 2 rebs, 2 asts, 2 stls, 4 TOs, 6PFs (Personal Fouls, not Power Forward, not Practice Facility... #BTS'd)
• Gordon Hayward: 7 pts, 29% FGs, 3 rebs, 2 asts, 1 stl, 3 TOs, 1 PF
The problem here is as much what was given up on defense as what was done on offense. Wesley Matthews scored 7 points in the first 6:00 on Raja to lead all. We all expected more on D from him and as much on offense from Hayward, who played 33 minutes and showed very little even against Portland's 2nd and 3rd units. As is the case with the PGs, if we could combine the best of both worlds into one player the Jazz would be lookin' good.
Best SF Play
• CJ Miles: 18 pts, 2 rebs, 60% FGs (this is a BIGGIE), 6-6 FTs, 4 TOs, 8 PFs
Eight fouls! Here is the aforementioned exception. As CJ would have fouled out we must now readjust his production to account for it.
• CJ Miles: 13 pts, 3 rebs, 57% FGs (still much improved), 4-4 FTs, 3 TOs, 6 PFs
Will we ever get Complete CJ? Last night's CJ was the utter opposite of last season's CJ. Last year he scored inefficiently but contributed everywhere else. Last night he scored very efficiently and contributed almost nothing else. So strange. His getting to free throw is an important improvement he began last season, and it appears to be carrying into this one. That is key to his success and nice to see.
Best PF Play (I don't really have to, do I?)
• Derrick Favors (duh!): 31 points, 15 rebs, 3 asts (LOVE THIS), 1 stl, 3 TOs, 1 PF
While Favor Fav was on another planet as the rest of the team, 99% of his production still comes from sheer athleticism and strength. When/if he develops an actual polish the sky's the limit for this dynamo.
Best C Play
• Al Jefferson: 14 pts, 6 rebs, the Jazz's lone block as a team, 4 TOs, 2 PFs
• Enes Kanter: 11 pts, 18 rebs, 9 O-rebs (Holy... as advertised), 7-7 FTs, 4 TOs, 2 PFs
This is a disappointing showing for Big Al. It's far below his production capabilities which should have gone up after his summer and fall of daily work at the P3 facility. He did take full responsibility for the team's awful start though, so let's hope it translates better in future contests. The defensive rotations were atrocious.
As for Kanter, he looked and played just about how most of us realists had expected: Really amazing on the glass and hardworking, but had trouble scoring in the paint and looked lost on defense, at times rotating away from his man with the ball leaving a wide open offense for the opposition. While his weaknesses were on display, so were his strengths, those being rebounds and getting to the free throw line. Most of his scoring for the foreseeable future will come from the line and O-rebs.
One last note on Enes: He shook off the nerves nicely, a concern many had.
Best Utility Man
• Jeremy Evans: 32 pts, 11 rebs, 11-14 FTAs (79%, a major improvement for him), Jazz's only player in the plus on +/-, at +3.
Elevator Evans (nod to @AllThatAmar) was the MVP of small sample sizes last season, and not just on the Jazz, but also a leader in the category in the NBA, and looks to be once again. In hindsight, maybe he should have started against Gerald Wallace. Certainly, his body type and athleticism matches up much better than Okur, while we're in the beakers and Bunsen burners stage anyway. Hopefully Ty Corbin recognizes at some point that Evans is always a +/- and stat-monster leader in his extremely limited playing time and gives him a bump in the rotation so we can find out once and for all if his off-the-chart numbers translate in appropriate matchups.
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