What Have We Learned Thus Far?

November 16th, 2015 | by Lucas Falk
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The Utah Jazz are finally home after a road trip that included losses to Cleveland, Miami and Orlando and a victory over Atlanta. A 1-3 record over the course of a road trip is hardly anything to write home about and 5-5 overall isn’t necessarily special, but beyond the wins and loss columns, there is more than meets the eye. So what have we learned about the Jazz thus far?

Utah Needs Rudy Gobert

As obvious as that may seem, watching the Jazz play without Gobert during part of the road trip was painful at times. The defense is clearly designed to funnel opposing players to the rim so Gobert can swallow up any shots. While extremely effective when the Frenchman is on the court, this strategy is not as potent when Gobert is off the court. There were stretches when the Jazz wings would force opposing players to the basket, which resulted in easy shots without Gobert on the court. Derrick Favors can clearly hold his own and more on defense but early foul trouble plagued him for parts of this road trip, making Gobert’s absence even more noticeable. If Utah plans to play in the postseason, they need Rudy Gobert.

Derrick Favors Is Elite

Through 10 games, has there been a player more impressive than Derrick Favors on this Jazz roster? Allow me to answer: no, there has not. Take a look at this stat line: 15.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. Favors has been astounding on both ends of the floor. He’s extremely disruptive on defense, particularly in the passing lanes. In a category usually dominated by point guards and wing defenders, Favors ranks fifth in the league in steals. It’s improbable the big man continues to rank that high as the season progresses, but the fact he is so high even at this point is impressive. His ability to handle being switched onto smaller and quicker players makes it easy to leave him in when teams attempt to go small against the Jazz, and his strength and polish on the offensive end make it even easier to punish those teams for trying to go small. Derrick Favors is elite.

The Triple Wing Is Here To Stay

If the Jazz have two incredible bigs making up your front court, who should play alongside them? Well, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and Rodney Hood, of course! I would try and dazzle you all with an endless stream of statistics, but why would I do that when someone much smarter than I tweeted out the best stat of them all? (Thanks, Ben “The Checkmark” Dowsett!)

The triple wing, with Favors and Gobert, give the Jazz the best chance of winning — which makes sense since these are the five best players on the team. The playmaking skills of Burks, Hood and Hayward, in addition to their size on defense, makes this such a dangerous lineup. As the season goes on, and Utah finds itself in critical games with playoff implications, this lineup will be even more important.

Lucas Falk
Lucas Falk is a basketball junkie from Salt Lake City. Lucas is an alumnus of both Olympus High School and the University of Utah, where he earned a degree in Economics. Lucas is also a proponent of doing a reboot to the film "White Men Can't Jump." He can be found on Twitter @Lucaswfalk.
Lucas Falk
Lucas Falk

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  1. LKA says:

    Glad to see how good Favors has been. If we only had a true “All Star Game” instead of the popularity contest he would be a shoe in. I wanted Favors before his draft but could not see anyway to draft him. Thanks D-Will..

  2. IDJazzman says:

    That is an impressive statistic that Gobert, Favors, Hayward, Hood and Burks are a +40.6 points when playing together on the floor. Call it what you want, but essentially Burks is the PG in that lineup, especially when playing on the defensive end, because he has to always guard the PG. Favors has been impressive, best player on the team right now. His averages will go up this year, even yet.

  3. Robin Rodd says:

    From the eye test… The Jazz offense really stagnates with Burke playing PG. We wind the clock down too far, the ball tends to stick in Burke’s hands… on comes the triple wing lineup and there is much crisper ball movement, better rotations and more fast break opportunities. Burke can be effective as an off-guard, but is too sticky for a motion offense.

  4. Don says:

    I’m not so sure that we have learned that the Jazz need Gobert as much as we have learned that Lyles is no substitute. Withey, on the other hand, seemed to be a very capable backup. I’m not saying that he can replace Gobert, but Lyles (just a project at this point) has been a disaster .

    I’d like to see the stats of Lyles vs. Withey at the 5.

  5. Spencer says:

    What I love about Favors is that he keeps getting better everywhere. He is a better defender and offensive player, a better passer and shooter. Also, he plays the game like Tim Duncan. The only real difference is basketball IQ and passing at this point. I’ll take Duncan light for the next decade over any PF in the league (except maybe Anthony Davis if he can stay healthy, but I don’t know that he can.

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