Jazz End Of Year Odds and Ends

December 31st, 2013 | by Laura Thompson
Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

After last night’s victory against the Bobcats, it’s really hard to not just write this as my entire article:

Trey Burke is a stud. Trey Burke is a stud. Trey Burke is a stud. Trey Burke is a stud. Trey Burke is a stud. Trey Burke is a stud. Trey Burke is a stud. Trey Burke is a stud. Trey Burke is a stud.

Maybe it’s not that hard. But how many of us expected him to be this good, this fast, after having the summer league that he did? Maybe that was just part of some conspiracy so that we would seriously temper our expectations of our rookie point guard. Who knows. But to have a PG who plays with ice in his veins is pretty fun. And in the interest of not writing every recent article about Trey Burke, I’ve got to move on to something else.

Okay, so. Booing. The thought of folks booing Al Jefferson didn’t even cross my mind until I started reading all about it on Twitter. While many of us might have had issues with Al’s flawed game (and, aside from LeBron, whose game isn’t flawed?), he was a good guy who had some good years in Utah and was very gracious during his tenure with the team. Why boo that? He never said he was a “starter, period” or that he was “going to get a raise, regardless” while sitting on the bench and nursing yet another injury. He didn’t use his a family health issue to get out of a contract (which, for the record, I was thrilled Fisher wanted out; I didn’t love his play and that fact made me easily overlook the, um, fishy circumstances under which he asked out).

Evan Hall penned an incredibly well-written piece earlier this year on booing, and here’s a portion:

But that’s the thing about booing, for all of its simplicity and its attention-demanding loudness, it fails to communicate beyond the most basic of sentiments. BAD, says the booer, SOMETHING IS BAD. There is no nuance in booing, no explanation. It’s as inscrutable as it is facile. For every cheer that says I LIKE THIS, there’s an equal and opposite boo that says, THIS SUCKS. It’s Twitter without the last 139 characters. It’s a blog post with nothing but a headline. Sure it’s communication, but only in the same way giving someone the bird is communication, and both the booing and the bird represent the same flawed mentality that often pollutes our meme-oriented culture: good communication is hard, so let’s make it easy.

. . . Admittedly, there are instances when booing is justified, and without enumerating the details of some of those, I think I speak for all of us when I say that Jazz fans booing the Lakers in Salt Lake is immeasurably preferable to Lakers fans cheering on the Lakers in Salt Lake. Still, when national writers are calling Utah’s fans the most vitriolic in the league, some self-consideration is called for.

While I’ve never been the biggest fan of booing, I’ve understood it in certain situations—a ref that makes a really bad call in a close playoff game, etc. But Evan’s point that booing fails to communicate clearly is a very essential one, in my opinion. And really, why boo Jefferson? I don’t get it.

Encouraging trend: Derrick Favors. Did y’all read Clint’s fantastic article yesterday? Favors has been able to keep himself out of foul trouble, mostly because of the first quarter he’s in the game, while maintaining aggressive and efficient play. Last season, Favors averaged 5.0 fouls per 36 minutes; this year he’s averaging 3.9 per 36 minutes. He needed to make a concerted effort to limit fouls in order to keep himself in the game, and he’s been able to make the jump from 23.2 to 31.5 mpg in part because of that.

While he’s been able to keep himself on the floor, he’s also increased his efficiency as the season has progressed. In the month of November, he shot 49.4% from the field; in December, he shot 55.0%. His FT% in November was 64.2%; shockingly enough, in December, it was 80.6%. Did anybody see that coming?

Concerning trend: Gordon Hayward’s declining Free Throw Attempt Rate. One of the things that’s been special about Hayward’s game the last couple of years has been the rate at which he gets to the line, but that’s happening less now than any other year. According to Basketball-Reference.com (link), his FTr has been .331, .396, .380, and .311 so far this year. In comparison, Alec Burks’ FTr is at .348 right now. Hayward’s been settling for too many jumpers—especially too many long 2’s—and hasn’t been driving nearly as much as he has. Hopefully he can get back to that part of his game that made him so efficient before.

Last thought: Richard Jefferson played 40 minutes last night. Comment away!

Laura Thompson

Laura Thompson

I grew up in California, but have been a Jazz fan pretty much since I was in diapers; I went to Karl Malone's basketball camp when I was 11 and I flew up to Utah in 1997 to go to Game 3 of the Finals. After graduating from BYU in 2008, I moved back to California to work in Marketing and have been doing that for the last five years. My favorite things in life are the Utah Jazz, basketball, food (whether cooking or consumption of), reading, church, black Labs, and the beach (though hopefully not in that order).
Laura Thompson

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Reporters' Roundtable: The top stories of 2013

  2. Clint Johnson says:

    Trey Burke: Certainly better than I expected this quickly. If he can up his assists a bit, he should take Rookie of the Year.

    Booing Al Jefferson: Crass. He averaged 18.5 and 9.5 in a Jazz uniform, and all those who excoriated him as a one man defensive meltdown unworthy of any respect should read Andy’s post from yesterday. Most of all, Jefferson was a profoundly positive influence on Favors and Kanter in the locker room, where most people would have been anything but in that situation. Anyone who doesn’t want to cheer him, fine, I understand. Anyone who booed, I do not understand. I was ashamed of Jazz fans to hear it.

    Favors Offensive Efficiency: Yea Fav!

    Hayward’s FTr: Concerning. I feel compassion for the guy. He’s clearly trying to figure out how to justify the contract number his camp asked for, and instead of rising to the bar he set he’s stumbling beneath his own already established performance level in some ways.

    Jefferson the Ironman: I am officially concerned about Brandon Rush.

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