An NBA season is a long, grueling affair, and one that few players can traverse without a few bumps and bruises along the way. Some players take bumps in the right direction, while others see their production unexpectedly drop.
The Utah Jazz roster is no exception to this rule. More than one player has seen his stock rise or fall as we near the halfway point of the 2012-13 season.
So which Jazz players have either underperformed or exceeded expectations in the early going?
All stats accurate as of January 3, 2013.
2012-13 Stats: 9.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks in 21.9 minutes per game.
Though Derrick Favors’ rise to stardom hasn’t been meteoric, it is nonetheless underway and should become increasingly apparent in the coming years.
A dominant physical specimen with tremendous potential on both ends of the court, Favors has steadily improved in his first three NBA seasons and now appears to be on the verge of officially breaking out.
While he is still restricted by Utah’s depth in the post, Favors has earned expanded minutes this season and is making the most of them, posting remarkably efficient numbers. The big man’s play has been a major highlight of Utah’s season thus far, and his growth should make it easy for the Jazz brass to cut ties with Al Jefferson and/or Paul Millsap.
2012-13 Stats: 4.7 points, 1.6 rebounds, 0.7 assists in 11.4 minutes per game.
Alec Burks’ biggest issue this season has been a lack of opportunity. Despite playing well in limited minutes during his rookie season, Burks has spent most of his sophomore campaign rotting away on the bench.
It's a bit concerning to see a former lottery pick earning so little playing time in his second season. It's even more concerning to see him use those rare minutes so inefficiently.
Burks is likely a major component in Utah’s plans for the future, but he sure hasn’t played like it this season.
2012-13 Stats: 5.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.9 steals in 17.0 minutes per game.
DeMarre Carroll has had his own little dose of Linsanity this season (albeit diluted quite heavily), transforming from a virtual unknown into a valued role player on this Jazz team.
Though limited offensively, Carroll has emerged as a trademark energy player capable of playing multiple positions. He is aware of his strengths and sticks to them, and his defensive tenacity has been valuable for a Jazz team occasionally lacking in that department.
By virtue of becoming at least somewhat relevant in the NBA world, Carroll’s stock has certainly climbed.
2012-13 Stats: 14.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists in 30.0 minutes per game.
Though Paul Millsap has continued to play extremely efficient basketball this season, his stock may have dropped due to a decline in his numbers.
At just 27 years old, Millsap is obviously still in his prime, so the decrease in scoring and rebounding compared to last season is not a major issue. This is especially true considering Millsap’s PER has stayed high (currently at 19.96, well above league average).
In reality, the most concerning statistics for Millsap are his minutes and steals. Both are down compared to last season, indicating that Millsap’s value to the Jazz organization has decreased alongside his tenacity on the defensive end.
Millsap’s decreasing stock has come at a poor time for the Jazz, and the team is likely to deal him at the deadline this year to refocus on younger alternatives. Hopefully he can find a way to increase his production while maintaining top efficiency.
2012-13 Stats: 6.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 0.5 blocks in 15.4 minutes per game.
Enes Kanter has taken full advantage of his limited minutes this season. He showed potential to be an effective starter down the road during his one game in the starting lineup thus far, in which he tallied 18 points and eight rebounds.
Though still a work in progress offensively, Kanter has further bolstered his reputation as a strong rebounder, and his stock is currently way up compared to his rookie season.