Utah Jazz momentum will mean fewer ping-pong balls

Utah Jazz "Core 4"
Utah Jazz "Core 4"

As we are getting near the half-way point of the season, here’s a look at the momentum of each team. These are their records if the season had begun on December 1 (thru January 15).

EAST
1. Indiana (15-6)
2. Miami (14-7)
3. Toronto (13-9)
4. Atlanta (12-9)
5. New York (12-11)
6. Chicago (11-11)
7. Washington (10-10)
8. Brooklyn (10-10)
9. Detroit (10-12)
10. Cleveland (9-12)
11. Charlotte (8-15)
12. Philadelphia (7-14)
13. Boston (7-15)
14. Milwaukee (4-18)
15. Orlando (4-19)

In the East the positioning doesn’t change much for the entire season, except the Bobcats, currently ninth in the East, are actually further out of it with their current trajectory. The Knicks are tenth, but they’re headed in the right direction. The Bulls may have traded Luol Deng away to save some money and tank the season, but that’s not how Thibs coaches, and that’s not how his team is playing for him.

WEST
1. San Antonio (17-5)
2. Portland (16-6)
3. Oklahoma City (17-7)
4. Golden State (16-8)
5. LA Clippers (15-8)
6. Phoenix (13-8)
7. Dallas (13-9)
8. Houston (13-9)
9. Memphis (11-11)
10. Denver (11-13)
11. Utah (10-12)
12. Minnesota (9-11)
13. Sacramento (10-13)
14. New Orleans (8-15)
15. LA Lakers (5-17)

The Jazz may have the third worst record in the NBA and be last in the West, but take out that first month, and the worst team in the West is the Lakers. It’s looking more and more to me like they will find a way to trade Pau Gasol, get their lottery pick, and then start again next year. The Jazz are on pace to wind up with the 11th or 12th pick. Time to start scouting Rodney Hood and Noah Vonleh.

Another way to look at it though, is that the core of the team is too good to be truly bad. With mediocre role-players around them, Trey Burke has a good shot at getting Rookie of the Year, and Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, and Enes Kanter have had career-best scoring nights. The only way I can see the Jazz staying in the Jabari Wiggins hunt is if Trey starts “resting” for some games here and there.

Some random factoids:

– Trey Burke and Rudy Gobert, our two first-round rookies, have played together a total of 9 minutes.

– Trey and the Core Four (also the name of an early 1960’s beach band) have played together a total of 19 minutes. When they did, they has a TS rating of 59.7 compared to their opponent’s 44.1.

– Gordon Hayward is averaging 27 points a game in the month of January.

– Trey Burke is averaging 13.2 points and 7.3 assists per game in the month of January.

– In the past three games where he’s started, Alec Burks has averaged 23.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists.

– Richard Jefferson is currently averaging 43.6% from 3. He’s only had one other season in his 13-year career when he’s been more accurate.

– Marvin Williams has never averaged better than 38.9% from 3 in his career, but right now he’s at 39.8%.

– Gordon Hayward has the Jazz’s highest 82games Simple Rating at +3.7. The only teams where their player with the highest Simple Rating is lower than that (minimum 10% playing time)¬†are the Sixers’ Evan Turner (+3.2), the magic’s Arron Afflalo (+2.3), and the Pistons’ Greg Monroe (+2.4). He’s tied with the Bobcats’ Kemba Walker.

About the author

John English

John studied journalism at UVU and put that to good use by writing for free for blogs on a part-time basis. Money well spent. He became an avid Jazz fan since moving to Utah in 1989. Also a fan of the NFL and BYU football.

  • Jt McKenna

    It’s refreshing to see an article that’s a little bit more realistic about where the Jazz are headed in the draft. Most of the local writers and radio guys are still pretending that we’ll finish in the bottom 6 with a real chance to get Jabari or Wiggins.

    Jazz are just 2 wins behind New Orleans who currently sits at 10th worst. And the real tanking hasn’t even started yet.