Utah Sports Ruckus: Poor Jazz asset management; Jimmer's luck; late charges for NCAA tourney

Published: Monday, March 3 2014 10:14 a.m. MST

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Associated Press
The Utah Jazz lost a 94-91 nail-biter to the NBA-leading Indiana Pacers Sunday night, but it was the distribution of playing time that was the real story. For just the second time all season, all five of the “Foundation Five” young players for the Jazz played at least 30 minutes in the same game.

Against Indiana, they even finished the game on the court together in the latter part of the fourth quarter, another extreme rarity.

It was also just the third time since Nov. 21 that Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors both played at least 30 minutes in the same game.

Before any Jazz fans get too excited and start thinking that maybe Jazz leadership was finally beaten with a rational stick, however, there’s evidence that suggests this sudden coherent minute distribution by the coaching staff was merely a misguided attempt to play “matchup basketball,” rather than a true light-bulb moment.

I say that because one of the other two times since Nov. 21 that Kanter and Favors both played at least 30 minutes in the same game was also against Indiana.

The minute distribution for the Jazz this season has largely defied reason.

If you are the Jazz, how do you possibly justify giving Richard Jefferson, an old veteran offseason afterthought acquisition who basically already said he doesn’t want to play for the Jazz next season and who Sports Illustrated named to its “All-Atrocious” team, more minutes than Kanter this season, a player you invested a No. 3 overall draft pick on?

Even if you want to make a highly debatable argument that Jefferson has been more effective than Kanter on the court this season (Kanter has a much better player efficiency rating than Jefferson), it doesn’t matter anyway because that argument is invalid since winning doesn’t benefit the Jazz this season.

Among Jazz players that have played in at least 40 games and averaged at least 15 minutes per game, Jefferson has the worst player efficiency rating on the team, yet he averages 27 minutes per game – the same as Alec Burks, and more than Kanter, Jeremy Evans and Marvin Williams, all of whom have significantly outperformed Jefferson on the court.

Jefferson’s player efficiency (12.0) is actually a lot closer to Rudy Gobert’s (11.0), the rookie the Jazz sent down to the D-League, than it is to Williams’ (15.1), Kanter’s (15.5), Burks’ (15.6) or Evans’ (18.2).

Not only have the Jazz invested their minutes poorly this season, but they are also now barely hanging on to a top-10 pick in the upcoming draft. That’s called mismanaging your assets on multiple levels.

NEXT: Around the state, beginning with Fredette’s sudden change of luck in Sacramento

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ABELIEVER
roy, UT

Nate,

You need to listen to the radio show Jake and Tony on 1280. They have some great points that but your comments in the back seat. I'm sure they have it archived so that you can listen to it. The Jazz have players that are getting minutes but they do need a veteran in their starting five to look for leadership and I think Jefferson is doing a great job. Any how I agree with all that Jake and Tony said about your article, and I think you should listen to it.

Objectified
Tooele, UT

I've talked about apparent poor coaching decisions regarding our foundation five for much of this season... as have other fans.
Too bad that Corbin just can't seem to be able to see and buy into the bigger and more meaningful vision. Anything regarding Jefferson on the court is strictly short-term and very limited team vision.

Objectified
Tooele, UT

One other point about the Bulls from your article...

Phil Jackson, Dennis Rodman and Michael Jordan haven't been associated with the Bulls for quite some time and so are no longer a detriment. That's ancient history for most of us. Many current younger Jazz fans don't even remember those Finals match-ups.

And yes, many of us Jazz fans will be pulling for Jimmer regardless of which team he would've gone to. So the Bulls it is. At least there are some past Jazz connections there.

DresdenBalla
Germany, 00

@ABELIEVER (AKA Greg Miller)

What a surprise that your employees, Jake and Tony, on your radio station, 1280 the Zone, defended the choices of the Jazz. Shocking. That idea of the veteran leadership is hollow. You're telling me Hayward and Favors have been in the league three years now and they still need an old, washed up veteran to show them "leadership" or how to play the game? That doesn't bode well for the Jazz!

I<3tennis
Sandy, UT

I think DresdenBalla said it perfectly. I agree with Nate and his assessment -- it makes sense and seems extremely obvious.

gdog3finally
West Jordan, Utah

The poll question gave only negative options about playing Jefferson. Young players and their development is often aided by a veteran presence and leader. Jefferson deserves some credit in my opinion for the positive influence and teacher he has been on the court. He has been on winning teams and organizations, plus he still has some miles left in the tank. His efforts aren't getting him any closer to a ring right now, but he is being a true professional. I appreciate that.

ABELIEVER
roy, UT

DresdenBall,

Number one please listen to the Jake and Tony show, they make great points about how this article was written. In the past Jake and Tony have blasted the Jazz and praised the Jazz just like all other unbiased media outlets have done. A point that they were making is Corbin's contract was not extended and he is doing everything in his power to win games. If that means putting Jefferson and William's into the starting lineup and winning then that is what Corbin is going to do. I agree with the direction of where the Jazz are going with their young core however, I disagree with Jazz management in not extending Corbins contract so that he would be at more liberty to develop the core more.

I am a Jazz fan and hope for the best for this season and seasons to come.

wyoming cougar
Green River, WY

Nate-

Please do better research before putting your column out there. The WCC tournament has changed its format this year. Seeds 7-10 have play-in games for men and women on Thursday. Women play quarterfinals on Friday with BYU starting at Noon PST. Men have quarterfinals on Saturday with BYU playing at Noon also. No games on Sunday. Monday has women's and men's semifinal games and the championship games for both will be held on Tuesday.

The WCC decided that with 10 teams now they wanted to go to a more traditional bracket seeding.

Other than that I enjoyed and agree with the majority of your view points. I feel the Jazz have made some poor decisions this year with development- but more than just year- it's been an ongoing problem. I am liking contributions from Marvin Williams though and hope they can re-sign him. I have mixed feelings about Hayward however, and hope the organization doesn't blow it by signing him to a huge contract.

nategagon
Taylorsville, UT

@wyoming cougar -

Thanks for bringing that error to my attention and I apologize for it. We got it fixed. Somehow I had pulled up a 2013 schedule instead of a 2014.

I agree the Hayward situation is an interesting one and will probably cover that in the near future.

Thanks again for the feedback, and to everyone else that participated as well.

DresdenBalla
Germany, 00

@ ABELIEVER

I agree with your point about Corbin's contract situation. Very poorly managed by the Jazz.

As for the point about Jefferson's veteran leadership, judging by last night's horrific blowout loss to the worst team in the NBA, it seems the message/example of the right way to play is not getting through.

The Jazz have really mismanaged the team this season. The GM and execs are more to blame than Corbin.

KimmyP
Granstville, UT

I agree with the balla.
Nothing the people on 1280 says is credible. These people only parrot the message the owners of the Jazz/Radio Station tell them to report. They aren't going to admit to making a wrong decision about Jefferson over Kanter or Evans, so the word is put out to defend the decision on the radio.
Anyone with a lick of logical sense can see the error in this thinking, but those on 1280 keep beating the drum.
Then, on draft day when the Jazz pick 11th, they will try to put a different spin on it and make out like they did the best the could this season. And, most of the sheep listening to the radio will believe it.

Old But Not Stupid
Moorpark, CA

Uhhh, Nate.

I think you missed the Utah-BYU baseball game prediction by a mile. Didn't the Cougars win 2-3?

nategagon
Taylorsville, UT

@Old But Not Stupid,

I knew the coin I flipped for picking that game should have landed on heads instead of tails!

But hey, I did get the Utes over Cal and Rockets over Heat correct. Not so much on the Jazz/Bucks game, though!

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