Watching the disastrous 0-7 start for the Utah Jazz, I decided to look into the numbers to get a better idea of what Gordon Favors, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks were doing relative to the team, and how that compared to the rest of the NBA, when it comes to the production of their four best players compared to the next four. I created Core Four and Next Four categories and plugged in all the stats from the other teams. I took out any player that landed in the top 8 for his team that hadn’t played in the majority of games. I also used scoring to determine who Player 1-4 and 5-8 would be for each team.
Here’s how the Core Four (Hayward, Favors, Kanter, Burks) and Next Four (Richard Jefferson, John Lucas, Mike Harris, Rudy Gobert) ranked in comparison to the Core Four and Next Four of the other 29 teams.
Of the ten categories, the Jazz Core 4 are in the bottom third of the league in any category that has to do with shooting percentage or ball control. That should be no surprise for a team with the worst point-guard play in the NBA. When it comes to the Next 4, they are dead last in two of the most important categories: points and field-goal percentage. Now some of the other Next 4 groups that have low point production are that way because their Core 4 are such prolific scorers (Nets, Warriors, Clippers). But when the best four are average as a group, they need a better bench to carry the load. (Rudy Gobert’s 1.6 ppg make him the lowest scoring 8th man in NBA).
As for field-goal percentage, the Jazz C4 hover around the C4 for the Thunder and Pacers. But the N4 for those two teams are 4th and 11th respectively. The Jazz are 30th. Again, can’t win many games with a bench that unremarkable.
The bright spot is rebounding, and yet this is a deceptive stat since most other teams have a point guard and shooting guard in their Core 4, and Hayward is a 3 playing a 2, and Burks is a 2 who plays about three minutes as a 1 each game.
It’s early in the season, and so it’s a small sample size, but it’s clear the Jazz need to improve their shooting all around, and they need Brandon Rush and Marvin Williams to return to form so they can wedge their way in to the Next Four.