Looking at Last Year’s Predictions and Making New Ones

September 3rd, 2014 | by Laura Thompson
Photo by Rocky Widner - NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Rocky Widner – NBAE via Getty Images

Since I was so right on with my predictions for last year (that’s some serious sarcasm, folks), I thought I’d go for Round 2 and see if maybe, just maybe, practice will make perfect. I’ll dare to dream.

Last year, I was hoping for a jump to 17/12 for Derrick Favors. I may have been a bit ambitious with my dreams, as he ended up at 13/8 (nearly 9). Interestingly, while his minutes drastically increased from 23.2 to 30.2, he was able to stay on the court by staying out of foul trouble, but he also increased his FG% and his eFG% (especially impressive while Gordon Hayward, with increased minutes and an increased role, was unable to do the same). I keep hoping that Favors will develop a go-to move in the post, and many were thinking that could happen as he worked with Karl Malone last offseason. Unfortunately, that never really came to fruition, and we saw much of the same offensive game. However, with a new coach in Quin Snyder and a new system based on movement and passing, I’m hoping Favors’ athleticism will help him get to the 17/12 I predicted for him last season. I’m usually a year (or five) behind trends anyway, so I’m going to stick with this one and see how it pans out.

In my naiveté, I was envisioning a year where Enes Kanter reached 16/11. While he ended up at 12/7, he was plagued by inconsistency 1and mental lapses on defense. He did show some polish on offense, though, and we know that he’ll be given more of a green light to shoot from deep this year.  He have been set back more than we realized last season while rehabbing his shoulder injury from the season before. What’s problematic is that he’s been spending this offseason rehabbing another injury instead of developing additional aspects to his game. I’m not ready to give up on Kanter, especially with a new coach and system, but I’m going to revise last year’s prediction slightly for this year: 15/9.

Gordon Hayward is the player from which we’ve seen the most and probably understand a bit more of what his ceiling is. His game was dissected and discussed an incredible amount on blogs, on the radio, on TV, etc. because he became The Man on the team. He struggled under the weight of being a number one option, but also responded with some very good across-the-board numbers, although he was unable to carry the entire team—admittedly, not a hugely talented team from a roster perspective. His 16/5/5 numbers were impressive, though it’s concerning that his TS% and eFG% have decreased every year he’s been in the league. Impressively, however, his assist percentage jumped significantly (from 16.7 to 24.1). My prediction for Hayward last year was 18/4/5, so I wasn’t ridiculously off last year. I’m actually going with that again this year: a new coach and system and some more talent around him should ease a bit of the load that was on him last year, helping him to score more efficiently while maintaining his jack-of-all-trades effectiveness in filling the stat sheet.

My prediction for Alec Burks last year was 14/5/3 and he ended up with what was essentially 14/3/3. What’s impressive to me about Burks is that he’s increased his efficiency with each season: his TS% has increased each season he’s been in the league, and his FTr—after decreasing in his second season—was back up to really great levels at .449. Burks is the one of the four who has such tantalizing athleticism and a knack for getting the ball in the basket—even when getting knocked around in the lane—that he’s completely fascinating to watch with the ball in his hands. He seemed to learn how to play better with teammates and didn’t always go away from the pick as the season progressed. I think the play-with-the-pass offense will be especially beneficial to him and the spacing Snyder suggests will give Burks the space he needs to go to work and utilize his incredible athleticism. I predict, probably like so many of you, that this will finally be the year he breaks out and shows what he’s capable of. I’m going with 19/4/4 and a large number of highlight-reel contortionist moves.

So, Jazz fans. What about you? What are your predictions for the Core 4 this season?

Laura Thompson

Laura Thompson

Laura was a Jazz fan since diapers, even growing up in California. Her favorite things in life are the Utah Jazz, food (whether cooking or consumption of), reading, church, black Labs, and the beach--though possibly not in that order.
Laura Thompson
Laura Thompson

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7 Comments

  1. Mewko says:

    Alec Burks: 17 PPG 3 APG 3 RPG
    Gordon Hayward: 15 PPG 5 APG 4 RPG
    Derrick Favors: 15 PPG 10 RPG 2 BPG

    The rest of the team can change in so many different scenarios, I won’t go any farther than that. The 4th and 5th wheel spots will be a dog-fight between Trey Burke, Enes Kanter, and Rodney Hood as the darkhorse. I think eventually in the future Dante Exum will be a better scorer than Alec Burks.

  2. Nick says:

    ppg/rpg/apg

    Favors: 15/11
    Kanter: 13/8
    Hayward: 17/5/5
    Burks: 16/4/3
    Burke: 14/3/7

  3. cw says:

    I won’t predict any particular numbers, because as you see with Gordon Hayward, the Points/Reb/Assists formula can be very misleading in terms of actual effect on the game.

    It is also hard to predict anything when you have a new coach. There is lots of talk about passing, pace, and defense, but it’s the players who have to actually play and fulfill the coaches intentions. From what I’ve read, that Snyder will want to play a game similar to Atlanta or Van Gundy’s Orlando: lots of space and three point shooting. The jazz don’t quite have the ideal personnel to do that, but I think they will try. That would mean Kanter and Novak and Evans are stretch 4s, Favors, Gobert, and Booker are roll men, and the the rest shoot threes and try to drive and dish.

    I think as long as they trying to make that work, Favors and Gobert’s numbers go up, all of Hayward’s go down and Burke stays about the same with improved shooting percentages. Alec Burks is the one who has the most potential to raise his numbers. In the space game, he’s going to have to take a lot of three point shots. If he makes them at the same rate as last year, his numbers will go up. I imagine with the floor spaced, Burks will continue to drive a lot as well and that will be an opportunity to increase his assists. I’m sure the coaches will be on him about this, because passes of the drive are very important in that kind of game.

    On the whole I think the offense will be a little better, mostly because the Jazz will have an actual bench, and the defense will stay about the same. I think they will win about 32 games. I also think there’s a good chance of major trades at the deadline. Don’t know if Burks or Kanter get extended.

    • Clint Johnson says:

      Really good take. I agree with most everyone you said, especially that Favors and Burks are likely to show the most statistical growth in Snyder’s system and a major trade at the deadline is likely.

  4. zach says:

    Hayward- 15/5/3 (PPG/Reb/asst) – with the ball in his hands less he will score and distribute less
    Favors – 15/11 – Offense still not focused on him, probably clean up and ally’s
    Burks – 16/3/3 – Leading scorer on the Jazz, he should be way more aggressive in contract year
    Kanter – 14/8 – with more time on the 3pt line, he will get fewer offensive rebounds and putbacks

    • Mewko says:

      Gotta agree with you Zach. Alec Burks is the best scorer on the Jazz right now. This year is his chance to prove that he can be more than a 6th man. He’s been earning his stripe for 3 years now, don’t expect Exum to walk in and play over Burks.

      Coach Q will encourage Kanter not to surpass on open jumpers.
      Maybe Favors will be a combo bigman that protects the rim, like Kevin Garnett and Serge Ibaka, both PFs who play differently than the blocking specialist.

  5. Steve says:

    Favor 18 and 11 and 2 blocks
    Burks 21 pts, 4 assists
    Burke 12 and 6
    Kanter traded by trade deadline
    Dante Exum 14 pts, 5 assists, 3 tos
    Hayward – 20, 6 rebs, 6 assists

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