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Statistical analysis: Projecting how may games the Jazz will win

By Jared Bray

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Aug. 1 2014 2:55 p.m. MDT

Nearly 20 percent of the projected 34 wins come from Derrick Favors, who led Utah in Win Shares last season with 5.1. His team-high 6.3 would be a career-high.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

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The Utah Jazz will win 34 games this year — nine more than in 2013-14.

That’s according to a projection formula based on Win Shares.

Win Shares is an all-encompassing statistic that takes a player’s on-court value and translates it into “wins.” Accordingly, a basketball team that nets about 25 combined Win Shares from its players, like the Jazz did last season, will win about 25 games.

To predict the number of Win Shares each Jazzman will produce this year, I created a projection formula that takes into account three year’s worth of Basketball-Reference’s Win Shares per 48 Minutes (WS/48) stat, an aging curve and estimated minutes (19,680 total minutes — 82 games x 5 players x 48 minutes per game — were divvied up among the 13 players).

In the case of Utah’s rotation players without three years of experience, I used 2013-14’s WS/48 as a baseline before applying the aging curve. Rookies (i.e., Dante Exum and Rodney Hood) were given the league-average WS/48 of 0.0994 which was subsequently adjusted based on draft position.

Keep in mind that these projections are based on the Win Shares formula and are just for fun.

Analysis

Though it won’t be good enough for a playoff spot, a 34-48 record would be a huge step forward for the Jazz, who posted the worst record in the Western Conference (25-57) last season.

Nearly 20 percent of the projected 34 wins come from Derrick Favors, who led Utah in Win Shares last season with 5.1. His team-high 6.3 would be a career-high.

Also encouraging is Gordon Hayward’s forecast. After his Win Shares dropped from 5.4 in 2012-13 to 3.6 last year, the formula estimated that he’ll bounce back this season with 4.9.

Again, these projections are meant to be fun. There are a number of variables that could affect how the Jazz truly perform, particularly new head coach Quin Snyder.

Perhaps he’ll have an even better formula for wins.

Jared Bray is a contributing writer for the Deseret News. He also reports in English and Tagalog (a language he learned while serving a two-year church mission in the Philippines) for Balitang America, a nightly news program of The Filipino Channel.

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