It was a disappointing season for the Utah Jazz as they were the only team in the NBA with a winning record that did not make the playoffs. While the Milwaukee Bucks got the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 38-44 record and the Boston Celtics might have finished at exactly .500 had they played that game against the Atlanta Hawks, nobody is jealous about who the Bucks have to play in the postseason and Boston’s aging roster is on its last legs.
There are many positives to takeaway from the season: Tyrone Corbin has been doing a good job filling the large shoes of Jerry Sloan, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap played well and Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward look like promising young players.
The following are individual grades for each player on the Utah roster:
A means the player was exceptional this season.
B means he was an asset.
C means he did his job.
D means he was a detriment.
F means he failed.
Key stats: 17 games played, 3.1 MPG, -4.4 PER
It’s hard to grade a D-League call-up who only played 17 games and never made a start for the Utah Jazz, especially one like Kevin Murphy who got minimal exposure in college at Tennessee Tech and barely played three minutes per game.
His negative player efficiency rating will tell you that he was not a boost off of the bench and despite his age, 23, it’s hard to imagine the shooting guard is a part of Utah’s long-term future.
Key stats: 4 starts, 2.0 PPG, .308 FG%, 7.7 PER
Earl Watson lost the backup point guard spot to Jamaal Tinsley because he absolutely could not produce offensively. At 33 years old, Watson has lost a step and could no longer create his own shot. Worse yet, when left open, he could barely sink one as he shot just over 30 percent from the floor.
Watson was the only player with a sub-10 player efficiency rating (other than Murphy) and only played in 48 contests this season.
Key stats: 37 games played, 5.8 MPG, 19.9 PER
At 6’9”, 194 pounds, Jeremy Evans is so skinny that a slight draft at the EnergySolutions Arena might knock him into Salt Lake. Fortunately, the team used him in small spurts and security ensured the doors were closed during that time.
In all seriousness, though, Utah coach Tyrone Corbin used him well this season. Evans can almost levitate in the air and excels at alley-oops and plays around the basket. Unfortunately, once the opponents take away the alley-oop and force Evans to shoot the ball he’s in trouble.
Don’t let the 19.9 player efficiency rating, which ties him for second with Paul Millsap on the Jazz, fool you: Evans simply was used correctly this season. If given more playing time, that number would decrease significantly.
Key stats: 32 starts, 18.5 MPG, 4.4 APG, 2.7 A/TO, 10.6 PER
Unlike Jeremy Evans, Jamaal Tinsley cannot score around the basket because at 35 years old he’s not quick enough to get there, but he shot above 40 percent when taking a long two.
His shooting from beyond the perimeter, however, is suspect and he does have the propensity to turn the ball over. On top of that, he did not get to the line very often and made less than 70 percent of his free throws.
That is to say that while it is impressive that Tinsley took Watson’s job and can still make 30-plus starts at age 35, he was far from one of the most efficient players on the Jazz roster this season.
Key stats: 66 games played, 16.8 MPG, 6.0 PPG, 15.5 PER
DeMarre Carroll has gone through spurts when he knocked down threes automatically, but in general the 26-year-old small forward is not a great shooter. He shot 46 percent from the field and only 28.6 percent from beyond the arc this year.
His energy and defense off the bench make him useful in situations where the Jazz are pressing, but it’s hard to think that he’s ever going to be dynamic enough offensively to get regular minutes in Utah.
Key stats: 64 games played, no starts, 17.8 MPG, .359 3P%, .713 FT%, 11.5 PER
Alec Burks has tunnel vision that is focused squarely on getting to the basket and he has the handles and size to get there and either score or draw a foul.
This sounds wonderful, but the problem is that the second-year player out of Colorado has poor court vision and has not proven that he can shoot from the outside and has one of the lowest free-throw percentages of the players that are getting regular minutes in Salt Lake City.
Time will tell if the 21-year-old ever develops into a better shooter, but the other tools are there for sure.
Key stats: 70 games played, 2 starts, 7.2 PPG, 17.7 PER
Ruled ineligible to play for John Calipari at the University of Kentucky, Enes Kanter was a risky pick at No. 3 overall in 2011 for the Utah Jazz.
So far the Turkish big man has drawn mixed reviews.
On one hand, he’s efficient when he’s on the court, but the 20-year-old is not playing big minutes and while he is a good rebounder and can bang inside, his perimeter shooting and ball handling are awful.
There was a sprinkling of games where he scored in the teens and he hit a season-high 23 points against the Charlotte Bobcats… but it's the Bobcats.
In general, Kanter is far from a bad player. In fact, he does a lot of the dirty work very well.
The only problem is that an organization expects more than just a grunt when they select a player No. 3 overall.
Key stats: 51 starts, 23.7 MPG, 7.2 PPG, 0.8 TOV, 10.9 PER
Brought over from the Atlanta Hawks in a trade for Devin Harris, Marvin Williams took over the 3-spot for the Jazz.
The fact that the 6’9”, 245-pound forward got so much playing time on a team chock-full of big men tells you how valuable he was in Utah this season. His three-point shot may have digressed a little, but Williams grabs boards, defends well and rarely turns the ball over.
His $8 million-plus price tag may be a little steep, but Williams still has a lot to offer this team when he’s on the court.
Key stats: 8 starts, 23.2 MPG, 9.4 PTS, .688 FT%, 7.1 RPG, 4.7 DRB, 17.6 PER
At only 21 years of age, Derrick Favors didn’t get many starts this year, but played well when given playing time. His 4.7 defensive rebounds per game were third only to Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap and his 7.1 rebounds per game were tied with Millsap for second on the team (Jefferson, of course, was first).
He might not be playing at the level of Jefferson or Millsap, but he’s clearly outplayed Kanter to this point. I’m sure the team would like to see him score more with the playing time he’s given and his free-throw percentage needs to improve, but there’s definitely a lot of promise in this young forward.
Key stats: 82 games played, 72 starts, 27.4 MPG, .397 FG%, .410 3P%, 11.7 PER
The only starter to play all 82 games, Randy Foye may be getting older, but the sixth-year player out of Villanova can still play big minutes and offers a little bit of an offensive touch.
The ultimate problem with Foye is that he does not run the offense well from the point, but is too small to guard twos. Add two inches and a little weight and he would be a solid shooting forward.
There’s also an odd phenomenon going on here where Foye actually is more accurate from deep than he is from the field. The 29-year-old is too far along in his career to think that he’s going to suddenly become a superb shooter inside and the team may consider an upgrade in the future.
Key stats: 46 games played, 30.8 MPG, .383 3P%, 6.2 AST, 14.5 PER
A player that the Jazz drafted and then subsequently released back in 2003, Mo Williams’ return to Salt Lake City was limited to 46 games due to injury.
His absence was felt.
Key stats: 72 games played, 27 starts, 29.2 MPG, .415 3P%, 16.8 PER
One of the men that put Butler on the map, Indiana’s own Gordon Hayward, has fit in just fine in Salt Lake City. His shooting has improved and complemented the 22-year-old’s ability to attack and finish at the rim.
While he only got 27 starts this year, Utah appears to have found a long-term solution at the wing. At 6’8”, 210 pounds, his size should create matchup problems at the two, but his defense continues to be poor and Hayward is no better against post players than he is against guards.
If he can shore that up, he should have a long career in Utah.
Key stats: 78 starts, 30.4 MPG, 4.8 DRB, 7.1 RPG, 14.6 PPG, .742 FT%, 19.9 PER
Eight games into the season, the Toronto Raptors got Millslapped.
Paul Millsap went off for 34 points in that game and while that would be his season-high, the sixth-year player out of Louisiana Tech played well, averaging almost 15 points per game, hitting his free throws and playing well defensively despite being undersized at 6’8”, 253 pounds.
There are many big men on this roster and the 27-year-old Millsap is making it difficult for the team to deal him. He’s been a Jazz for life and is awfully resourceful with the size and talent he has.
Key stats: 78 starts, 33.1 MPG, 7.2 DRB, 9.2 RPG, 17.8 PPG, .770 FG%, 21.0 PER
Utah’s leader in minutes played, scoring and rebounding, Al Jefferson scored 84 points in the team’s last three games in an effort to will his team into the playoffs.
His efforts fell short, but his performance this season will not be forgotten.
The former Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves forward has a unique ability to create his own shots frequently without turning the ball over and has learned to pass the ball in double-team situations.
It’s hard for me to imagine Utah letting this guy go in the offseason.