We are unveiling a new pregame series at Project Spurs, where Quixem Ramirez dives into the Spurs' opposing team's SportVU data, mostly because he has no life. SportVU, powered by cameral technology in all 29 NBA arenas, tracks miles per hour, distance traveled, touches, where they touched the ball, how long they touch the ball, and lots of other basketball minutia.
Today's team: the Utah Jazz. DISCLAIMER: If you do not like numbers, do not read ahead.
Gordon Hayward runs a lot.
Hayward only trails Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons in total distance traveled by 1.7 miles -- the fourth-year guard runs 3.4 miles per 48 minutes. Utah did not agree to an extension prior to the deadline, allowing Hayward to test the restricted free agent market next offseason.
A potential pitch.
NBA general manager: "You have some solid offensive numbers, sure, but we are weary of offering you a massive deal because Utah has allowed more points when you are in the floor in three of your four seasons."
Hayward: "I run a lot though."
Kevin Love is the only non-guard touching the ball more times per game than Derrick Favors.
Utah tagged Favors with a four-year, $49 million extension this offseason, even though Favors averaged just 21.4 minutes per game in his first three seasons.
His minutes have spiked to a career-high 33.2, giving the 2010 first-round pick a chance to touch the ball more. Favors is averaging 75.3 touches per game, ranking 21st on a list almost entirely dominated by guards (Kevin Love, a superhuman, is the only non forward ahead of Favors).
Perhaps more telling: Favors averages nearly seven touches per game within 12 feet of the basket, a mark only bested by Nikola Pekovic and Roy Hibbert. Favors' meager 54.9 shooting percentage on shots in the restricted area is poor, but the Jazz' last-ranked offense doesn't have many options better than Favors close to the basket.
It's a start.
Enes Kanter and Favors don't play well together.
That's not entirely fair, since it's early, but the Favors-Kanter pairing has been outscored by 91 points in 204 minutes this season. The pairing has allowed 116.2 points per 100 possessions, nearly 10 points worse than their 29th-ranked defensive outfit.
There is hope.
Favors and Kanter were a +29 in 705 minutes together last year, a healthy sample size, and the Jazz are entirely different this year. Different, as in awful.
Though Favors and Kanter compress the floor for Hayward and firstname lastname (Richard Jefferson) offensively, they are large bodies with some defensive intellect. Opponents have made 82 of 162 shots at the rim (50.6 percent) when either Favors and Kanter is defending. They'll be playing a lot together and Utah can't complain if opponents are hitting a shade over half of their shots in the restricted area when they contest.
7-foot-1 rookie center Rudy Gobert has allowed a stingy 41.2 percent on shots at the rim in a tiny sample size too.
(It should be noted that Utah is allowing heaps of shots in the restricted area at high efficiency. Perhaps this is a problem Kanter and Favors can't merely solve on their own.)
Kanter will be a load to handle on the boards.
And we knew that, though Kanter is an interesting case study -- at least until the SportVU data stabilizes with more games.
Kanter is 16th in rebound chances (times when the rebound is within 3.5 feet of him), but his rebounding average is a paltry 7.4.
Kanter is a big dude and big dudes should have an inherent advantage on the boards, though leverage, positioning, angles and blind luck also factor into the equation.
Here's the weird part: More than 60 percent of Kanter's rebounds are "contested", or in instances where an opponent is within 3.5 feet of him. Contested rebounds are more difficult to tally than uncontested rebounds.
I can't explain this phenomena, but chances are when he tussles with Tiago Splitter (70 percent of his rebounds are uncontested) for a close rebound, Kanter is ending up with the board.
Richard Jefferson is going to be tough to stop on drives. Wait what #LOL
Among players with at least 30 drives (a touch starting 20 feet from the basket and finishing within 10 feet), Jefferson is 12th in drive field goal percentage (55.6 percent)
Dwyane Wade is the only other player in the top 15, who is also older than 30.
Someone remind Richard Jefferson he isn't good at basketball.