Comments on: Finding Comparables for Jazz Starters The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:22:43 +0000 hourly 1 By: Ben Dowsett Sat, 08 Feb 2014 23:45:04 +0000 No offense, but did you read the article or just skim the names? There’s a reason I listed reaches as “reaches” and ceiling as “ceiling”, don’t you think? I specifically noted that for the veteran players, those categories referred more to how they looked on their very best night. I also very specifically mentioned that these comparisons, unless otherwise noted, were only for the current level of play these players show – how good Pierce was in his prime is not relevant for this article.

I also don’t really have any desire to go into how wrong most of the rest of what you wrote. This article was not meant to identify identical players to the Jazz men in question, and that was extremely apparent throughout. Honestly I’d really prefer more substantive comments like those above, and likely won’t respond to any more like this one – both uninformed and unnecessarily negative.

By: K.J. Martin Sat, 08 Feb 2014 21:20:14 +0000 From a quick glance, a lot of these “reaches” and ceilings are … reaches — RJ, for one, is well on the downside of his career, so a Pierce comparison (even Pierce now, well past his prime), is faulty. But I’m only really concerned about Burke. Holiday is a far superior athlete to Trey, Calderon is a pass-first point, Hill is far less skilled, and Lillard is much more athletic and explosive (as athletic as Holiday, with a better feel for the position). Sessions has proven he’s not starter material, and Conley doesn’t display any real level of elite ability, save for the steals department.

Burke may indeed fulfill the Chris Paul comparisons he drew last year in college, but he could also wind up as a better version of one-time Jazz guard Jay Humphries; time will tell. But at least get the proper comparisons right, to begin with. That’s fair, right?

By: cw Fri, 07 Feb 2014 02:42:10 +0000 I agree Burks is superior. That’s why I want him on the second unit, he can do more than jefferson with less.

About Corbin, you may be right. I have no knowledge of inside the Jazz org. But the Jazz didn’t really show much loyalty to him, which I don’t think they should have, with him playing jefferson and williams, he does seem to be playing to win now rather than develop for later.

I can imagine Lindsey knowing that front offices worry about long term strategy but coaches and players play to win, and understing that whatever development happened would happen in that context. You can make a case that this is how it should be. That Kanter, for instance, would be better developed by having to deal with the perform or sit standard that players on a contending team are held to, instead of cutting him slack and letting him play through his mistakes. I don’t know, it probably changes what works best for player to player.

I also think it’s in the interest of a coach to find ways to grow his players so they can eventually contribute and the team win more games. That sounds like something a coach in the first year of a 4 year contract would do though, rather a coach in his last year.

By: Ben Dowsett Fri, 07 Feb 2014 01:25:13 +0000 Unfortunately for us, it’s not that easy – we can’t just put a quantifiable number of points we lose or gain for a given situation, there’s too much overlaying context and noise with a 5-man unit on the floor against another 5-man unit, too many variables. The closest site to what you mean is, an excellent resource, but it is limited to tracking team performance with any combination of players on or off the court. There are some fairly advanced filtering capabilities, so you may be able to come somewhere close to what you’re talking about – just keep in mind that they calculate possession statistics slightly different than, and the per-possession stats may not match up perfectly. All that said, I’m confident I watch enough Jazz basketball (all of it, often more than once) to accurately assess the way Burks impacts both bench units and starter-heavy units, and in my opinion he is the superior player on both ends, regardless of his inferior 3-point percentage compared with Jefferson.

As for your contention on Corbin, while I agree the front office, at least publicly, hasn’t been particularly vocal about specific goals for Ty, I can’t agree that his ONLY incentive is to win as many games as possible. Whatever his faults, Ty Corbin is a longtime member of the Jazz organization who has shown the sort of loyalty one would expect from a Jerry Sloan protege. The front office has publicly stressed player development, and at least to my knowledge, has never specifically designated any sort of win total as a requirement for Corbin receiving an extension. For them to expect him to contend, or really anything close, with the personnel he has been given, would frankly be somewhat ludicrous. This isn’t to say Ty might not lose his job within the next six months, he absolutely might – but it won’t be because the Jazz aren’t winning enough games. And even if it WERE, it’s my contention that, for all the reasons I’ve stated, Burks would be more beneficial to winning more games if he took a larger share of Jefferson’s minutes and played more with the primary lineups.

By: cw Fri, 07 Feb 2014 00:04:27 +0000 OK, so I believe you that the Jazz are better with defensively with Burks on the floor than with Jefferson, but that doesn’t really speak to saving some of your ammo for when the starters are resting. Maybe if Burks started they would be 3 pts better for the 20 minutes he was with the starters but the jazz would be 6 pts worse when the starters were out. I know the starters and the subs are not 5 man platoons, which is what makes it really hard to statistically determine rotations. Is there some place that shows stretches of games, the first seven for the starters and then the next chunk when the subs are in, etc…? And then look at it with and without Burks. I just do not think that a sub unit without Burks (and Kanter) is going to be very successful.

And as far as development and finding out what players play good together, Corbin is not incentivized in any way to do that. He is incentivized to win now, with whatever line-ups he thinks will work. The only way he gets another job is if his players are perceived to overperform and the only way to grade that is by winning. THis is what Hornecek is doing in Phoenix although everyone believes that PX would be better off tanking. But Hornecek is in the running for coach of the year and could get a job at all kinds of NBA teams. You can’t blame Corbin for trying to do the same. Really, if you wanted a coach to not worry about winning and instead experiment with lineups and development, you would give him a three year contract. WHich Lindsey didn’t do. Which probably means he’s going let Ty go at the end of the year. Which means Ty is incentivized to win as many games as he can using whatever line-ups work. Which is why we see Marvin and Jefferson in the starting line-up.

By: Ben Dowsett Thu, 06 Feb 2014 18:36:00 +0000 Again, while I don’t disagree with your general idea that a bench with starter-quality talent (and players that work well for bench units) is important, it’s just not nearly as important for a franchise as figuring out, with great certainty, what your strongest lineups are and how they work together. As I said, this is paramount especially for any team hoping to evolve into contender status, as the more important games get, the shorter benches get.

As for synergy on the court, all you did was cite another couple stats without any context. I would think the simplest way to measure “synergy” would be, does the team perform at a higher level when one player is on the court than the other? The answer here is VERY clear, and doesn’t relate to a couple arbitrary themes like spacing or threes (both of which, again, I agree are important on their own, but neither of which paint anything close to the full picture). With Burks on the court, the Jazz are significantly better than with Jefferson on the court. Defensively, they allow 3.8 points less per-100-possessions – roughly the difference between being the 23rd-ranked defense and being 2 full points worse than Utah’s already league-worst mark. Offensively, despite your contentions about spacing and the like, they are nearly identical, actually marginally better with Burks. Separating the two further using (that is, looking only at situations where only one of the two was on the court and eliminating crossover minutes that they played together), the gap widens even more.

And even if none of this were true, even if it were reversed and Jefferson was outperforming Burks, that again doesn’t paint the entire picture. As I’ve mentioned multiple times, and should be relatively transparent given their situation this year, winning games and putting the absolute best on-court product out there RIGHT NOW is clearly not the only priority for the Jazz this season. They are firmly out of any form of contention, and have been so all year. Developing their young core for the future is vital, and some might say actually MORE important than putting the best possible lineup combinations on the floor right now.

Consider all that, and as I’ve said, giving the two even roughly similar minutes is foolish. By every standard under which the Jazz should be (and are, for the most part) operating this season, Burks is the better play.

By: cw Thu, 06 Feb 2014 16:49:32 +0000 Ben,

I still don’t buy it. The team on the floor has to be a collection of complimentary pieces. ROtations are about synergy, not stats. Jefferson fits with the current starters because he is shooting .435 from three and Burks .346. Jefferson is taking about 2 more 3 pointers a game also. That’s a big difference and definitely affects spacing.

And when Burks starts he has to share the ball with Hayward and Trey, and Burks needs the ball. Plus when Burks starts that means Favors gets the ball less. Plus without burks, the second team is worse.

So by switching Burks and jefferson, the starters and the second team both get worse.

By: Ben Dowsett Thu, 06 Feb 2014 04:13:32 +0000 Kanter and Gobert have only played 45 minutes together this season, but they’ve been torn to shreds on both ends during that time. A bench is always important, and your best five players don’t always have to start (see Ginobili in SA), but at a certain point it just can’t work for team composition to give a superior player less minutes, or even similar minutes, compared with an inferior player. This is magnified for contending teams, should the Jazz become one down the line, because benches shorten in the playoffs and your top lineups become far more important. Given the gap in play, particularly defensively, between Jefferson and Burks, while also factoring in the idea that Burks is a core piece vital to the future and Jefferson is anything but, I think the fact that they’re within about a minute or two per game is fairly egregious.

Aaron: in terms of on-court value right now, Sessions and Burke are quite similar. I definitely would not yet classify Burke as someone capable of “taking over games” – he isn’t even particularly adept at creating his own shot via isolation yet. They aren’t meant to be exact comparisons, obviously (it’s very hard to find identical players in the NBA), but I think they play somewhat similar styles and contribute relatively similar value. Also, Cousins (rich man’s Cousins, as I noted) was used as a potential future ceiling for Favors, not a current comparison.

By: cw Thu, 06 Feb 2014 03:31:00 +0000 I totally agree about Burks coming off the bench. It’s a basic bball concept to save some scoring for the bench. And it’s another one that teams with out good benches don’t win many games. Jefferson works on the first unit because he is a legitimate 3 point shooter but not on the second unit because he can pretty much play off of better offensive players, which wouldn’t be there if him and Burks switched places.

And besides that, it’s minutes that count, not who starts. And as you say, Burks get’s plenty of minutes.

About Hayward, I think you’d have to say, when you average out his wide swings, he’s a fair to good shooter.

By: Aaron Thu, 06 Feb 2014 03:27:20 +0000 I’m not sure I agree. Yes, you want guys on your bench who are quality players, but when you stick a bunch of talented guys together without regard to anything else, you can come out with a situation like the Jail Blazers. Give me a scorer like Burks, and a couple of solid but unspectacular guys who know their roles like Adam Keefe and Steve Kerr back in the day, a hustle guy like DeMarre Carroll, and I’ll happily roll with that over the team with ten former lottery picks. San Antonio has been able to utilize a lot of undrafted free agents and castoffs from other teams and contend every year.