Almost three months ago I sat down and tried to predict how the Jazz were going to do in the 2010-2011 season. For those interested here is the link to that post - Steady With Sloan. Now that we are 30 games into the season I thought I would check to see how some of my predictions are looking. Below are my preseason Win Shares predictions compared with the current projection based off 30 games.
- The Jazz have won 70% of their games, which over the course of an 82 game season would equal 57.4 wins. This would exceed my prediction of a 50 win season. Also, 57 wins would be good for the 1st or 2nd seed in the Western Conference over the last three years.
- Deron Williams- I predicted his Win Shares (an estimate of the number of wins an individual player will contribute) at 10.3 wins with a WS/48 of 0.177. This was an easy prediction since those were his numbers at the end of the 2009-2010 regular season. Right now he is on pace for 13.4 wins and a WS/48 of 0.208. One concern for Jazz fans could be his career high in minutes per game at 38 minutes. As of now he is playing more and being more productive. He definitely should be in the MVP discussion.
- Paul Millsap- He also has been playing more (career high in minutes per game) and being more productive (career high in WS/48) in those minutes. I had projected his Win Shares at 8.4 and at this rate he would be contributing 12.3 wins or nearly 4 more wins than projected. He is 10th in the league in Win Shares and WS/48 minutes. Not bad for the 82th highest paid player in the NBA. He should be rewarded by playing alongside Deron Williams in the All Star game.
- C.J. Miles- While I know a lot of people discredit the +/- statistic it should be noted that Miles leads the Jazz this year. That on its own might be a fluke, but his WS/48 (current year = 0.09) is above his career average and almost to the point (0.10) of being an average NBA player. I know it is just one game, but I was impressed with his performance when I went to Cleveland to see the Jazz-Cavs game. Miles was one of the most active players on the floor, and he really helped the Jazz pull away from a bad Cavs team. I had projected him to contribute 2.6 wins and right now he is on pace to beat that my one additional win. In the Western Conference one additional win can be the difference between the 3 seed and the 5 seed.
- Gordan Hayward- There is no easy way to put this, but Hayward has been one of the worse players in the NBA. He can’t shoot (40% from the field), can’t pass (less assists in more minutes than Fesenko), can’t rebound and generally looks lost on the court. I had projected him to contribute 4.6 wins at a rate of 0.0768 (the average rate of the 9th pick in the draft). Right now he is projected to add 0 wins. I don’t mean to pile on the youngster, but he really has no where to go but up.
- Raja Bell - I had projected his WS/48 at his career average of 0.085. Right now he is at 0.063. He is playing more minutes (partially to the fact that Hayward can’t get off the bench), but they are just not as productive as expected.
- Kyrylo Fesenko -Did anyone else think he might make a little bit of a jump this year after the experiance he got in the playoffs last year with Okur out? Well he is hardly playing (6.2 minutes per possible game) and when he is playing he has been terrible (WS/48 of 0.031).
The Jazz winning percentage seems to suggest nothing but optimism for Jazz fans. Williams and Millsap are playing at All Star levels. Jefferson and Kirilenko are playing at above-average levels. Miles and Bell are almost equaling an average shooting guard. However, based on the Win Shares each player should be contributing I have the Jazz coming in at 49.7, which by rounding up would be right at the 50 win/6th seed in the playoff spot. John Hollinger in his playoffs odds also projects the Jazz winning 50 games. While that isn’t bad it definitely doesn’t mean Jazz fans should be expecting a title run with this team. Let’s hope I am wrong.